Sugar can cause inflammation, which weakens your body’s white blood cells, which are vital when it comes to fighting off infections. Therefore, you should try to avoid comforting yourself with too many sweet treats until you feel better.
2. Simple Carbs
Thinking of grabbing some saltines, a bowl of pasta, or some buttered toast? Think again! Refined carbohydrates are broken down quickly into sugar, triggering the same blood sugar rise as sugary snacks and drinks, with the same inflammatory effects. If you don’t think you can get through your illness without some toast, try reaching for whole grain bread instead - it’s digested more slowly, so it doesn’t spike blood sugar.
Like sugar, alcohol causes inflammation and weakens white blood cells. It also contributes to dehydration. Hydration is key when you’re ill because the mucous membranes in your nasal cavities can flush out viruses more easily when they’re moist.
To add to this, being dehydrated while sick is also likely to make those muscle aches much worse. You might also find that if you’re already mildly dehydrated from your illness, drinking alcohol can hit you harder than usual. Opt for some water or tea until you’re feeling well.
4. Spicy Foods
If you have a cold or upper respiratory symptoms, there’s no need to avoid spicy foods as they can actually help clear out your nasal passages. However, if you’re experiencing an upset stomach with your illness, lay off the hot stuff as it can make an upset stomach even worse.
When you’re ill, reaching for a glass of orange juice full of vitamin C might be your first instinct. However, citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit can aggravate an upset stomach. Therefore, if you’re feeling nauseous, it’s best to stay away from citrus juice until your stomach settles down.
If you’re just fighting a head cold though, by all means, drink some orange juice, just as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar.
6. Greasy Fatty Foods
These can cause inflammation, suppressing the immune system. They are also more difficult to digest than carbohydrates and protein, so you’ll want to avoid them if you have an upset stomach.
7. Sugar-Free Candy
They might not contain sugar, but candies or gum which contain sorbitol instead can cause stomach issues. Sorbitol is not digestible and can cause stomach discomfort or diarrhea in some people. Diarrhea means dehydration – a sickness no-no. Therefore, if you’ve got a scratchy throat and need some relief, opt for a honey sweetened cough drop, minus the sorbitol.