It’s almost that time of year, where we start passing around colds like we pass around the holiday dishes. While there are numerous sources out there for natural cold remedies (garlic, ginger, hydration, etc.), it’s also good to know which foods to avoid while sick or battling a cold. By eliminating these foods, while hopefully consuming immune-boosting foods, you can recover more quickly and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Alcohol weakens your immune system and dehydrates you. Both of these can make your colds more miserable and leave you with an even worse morning. Grandma’s hot toddy might clear things up for a short time, but take it easy and don’t overdo it. If you come down with a cold, steer clear of most alcohol in order to keep your body optimally hydrated and your immune system functioning on high.
2. Dairy Products
Dairy products may be on the fence (in small portions), as consuming them may not aggravate some while doing so to others. Dairy products can increase mucus production, and mucus is one thing you don’t need more of when you are sick. If ice cream feels good on your throat, opt for a different frozen dessert like frozen fruit bars. These will numb your scratchy throat and deliver some useful vitamin C.
3. Juice Drinks
If you enjoy juicing and make your own 100% juices—by all means, drink them! But if you reach for your run-of-the-mill orange juice when you get a cold, you’d be better off without. Average juices are loaded with extra sugar and that sugar can reduce the ability of white blood cells to fight illness. Any benefits you might get from the vitamin c are nullified by the sugar inside.
What should also be pointed out from avoiding juices is: avoid sugar.
4. Fried Foods
Stay away from excess fats when you are sick. This goes for processed snacks and fried foods. Foods high in fat produce inflammation and inflammation produces a less active immune system.
5. Fast Food and Processed Foods
Surprise, surprise – it should be most obvious to steer clear of fast food and processed foods while sick. Fast food and most processed foods are void of nutritional value; that is, they bring hardly anything to the table in terms of boosting the immune system or amplifying your health. Not only are much of these foods made from genetically modified foods, but they also contain a slew of immune-suppressing ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, MSG, artificial colors, FD&C Red #40, dimethylpolysiloxane, and much more. And despite some irresponsible hospitals serving up McDonald’s to their sick patients, that doesn’t mean these foods are any more valuable.
So this is how to prevent a cold: avoids those foods that make you sick and consume those foods that boost your immune system. When you are sick—stick with a diet of whole, fresh foods and plenty of liquids. Drink tea, eat soup, use spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic, consume some honey, and nurse yourself back to health naturally. Generally, the worst symptoms of a cold will only last a few days when you have a high functioning immune system. So, treat your whole body with nutrition and not just your runny nose with an over-the-counter drug.