The truth is when you are battling the flu or a stomach bug, food is definitely not the first thing on your mind. Here are 9 foods and drink you should avoid when you are sick:
1. Sugary foods
Avoid sugar like the plague if you have the plague (or any other illness.) According to Dr. Arthur,eating refined sugar can suppress your white blood cells’ ability to fight off bacteria.
Your immune system becomes weaker after snacking on cookies, candy, or sugary cereal for hours. The result is that the immune system is less efficient at fighting off the germs that are making you sick.
“Sugar tends to pull fluid out of the GI tract, which can lead to loose, watery stools and diarrhea,” Dr. Arthur says.
2. Soft drinks
In general, you shouldn’t drink soda, but especially when you’re sick. Just like coffee, caffeinated sodas are dehydrating. They alsoconsist of sugar that suppresses your immune system and messes with your GI tract.
Dr. Arthur advises that if water is not appealing, you should try a lower-sugar drink with rehydrating electrolyte, just like a sports drink or coconut water.
Diet soda is off-limits, too. Dr. Arthur says that a lot of artificial sweeteners are large molecules, which cannot be broken down and digested well, which causes bloating, cramping, and even diarrhea.
3. Crunchy foods
If you’re coughing or have a sore throat, crunchy stuff shouldn’t be eaten. As per Dr. Bhatia, the abrasive texture of snacks like potato chips, granola, or even crispy toast will feel like sandpaper on your raw throat.
The truth is that the more you irritate your throat, the longer it will take to heal, too. So you can end up prolonging your misery.
4. Fried foods
These foods are especially bad when you have a stomach bug. Dr. Bhatia says: “Fatty foods take longer to move through the digestive system, which can make nausea worse and trigger acid reflux.”
They can make diarrhea worse, because they also cause muscle spasms in your intestinal tract.
Milk should be avoided when you have congestion of any kind. Maybe you have heard that you should not drink milk when you are sick because it makes you produce more mucus or phlegm.
According to Dr. Arthur, there is no clear evidence that reducing milk will reduce mucus. But, many people find that dairy makes their phlegm thicker and more unpleasant. In case it bothers you, you should go ahead and cut it out until you are feeling better.
6. Spicy food
You’ve probably heard that spicy foods help clear your sinuses. Well, hold on! Capsaicin is a compound in chili peppers and hot sauce that can irritate your nasal passages and make your nose run.
But, on the other hand, when you are stuffed up, it might break up your mucus so you are temporarily less congested.
Skip alcohol when you have any illness of any kind, especially a stomach bug. Alcohol, like so many other items, is a diuretic that can worsen illness-related dehydration, Dr. Arthur says.
Dr. Arthur says that alcohol can be the reason for watery stool or diarrhea.