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Foods That Can Make Cold Symptoms Worse

Getting a flu shot is one way to try and avoid the flu, and careful hand-washing habits can help keep germs at bay. But, at some point, it’s pretty likely that you will get sick with a cold or the flu, regardless of how careful you are. When this finally happens, you want to make sure that everything you do is in an effort to get better, and that you avoid things that might make you feel worse or drag out your illness.

Here are four foods that you should steer clear of if you want to get better quickly.

1. Soda and sugary drinks

Even though your mother always gave you ginger ale when your tummy was upset, this is not the best way to handle an illness. The sugar in ginger ale can cause inflammation that can weaken your immune system and cause you to remain sicker longer. Orange juice is not much different, except that at least you get plenty of vitamin C.

Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietician, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explained that staying away from sugary drinks and foods while you are sick can help you get better. Try drinking ginger tea for an upset stomach, and drink plenty of regular water or coconut water. Instead of sugary snacks, try eating fresh fruit or air-popped popcorn. You’ll be feeling much better in no time.

2. Dairy products

Avoiding dairy products when you are sick has nothing at all to do with producing more mucus. Your body will produce mucus when you are sick. But, when you eat dairy products, it can make the mucus thicker and more uncomfortable.

Rumsey explains, “If you can tolerate dairy, it’s a good source of protein and vitamin D that can help your body fight infection. Plus, yoghurt has probiotics that can help balance your gut bacteria.” Not everyone has a problem with dairy when they are sick, so if you don’t, then it might help.

3. Alcohol

Like sugary drinks, alcohol can increase the inflammation in the body and make your immune system weaker. This means it can take longer for your body to heal when you are sick. In addition, alcohol can dehydrate you, making your blood alcohol content higher than usual and causing you to become drunker than usual. This can lead to a bigger hangover, which is the last thing you need when you are sick.

4. Refined carbs

Your mother probably always served you toast and crackers when you were sick. This might remind you of having someone to take care of you, but it’s not the best way to get better.

Rumsey stated, “Refined carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugar and will cause a rise in blood sugar similar to juice, soda, or high-sugar foods. So they can hinder infection-fighting in the same way.” If you are craving some buttered toast, at least reach for the whole grain versions.

When you are feeling sick, the last thing you want to do is make your symptoms worse. Stay away from these foods and you will get better faster!