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Having the flu or the common cold can be very distressing. It makes you nauseous and feel tired all the time. Your throat is often itchy and you keep on coughing. The flu and the common cold typically go away on their own. But due to how burdensome they can be, you want to speed up the recovery and go back to your normal routine.

Eating nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables is key to a fast recovery. It’s especially important if you have a fever, as is the case for people with the flu. Therefore, you have to be wary of the foods you eat. Certain foods can impair your body’s immune response and slow down healing.

To know which foods to avoid when you have the flu or a cold, take a look at the list below:

1. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol

Caffeinated drinks and alcohol are poor sources of water.

Water is very important for recovery as they transport nutrients, regulate body temperature and flush out waste and toxins. But when you have a fever, your high temperature and profuse sweating will make you lose a lot of water. Diarrhea and vomiting can also lead to water loss.

Instead, water and other clear liquids are the best drinks to keep water levels high. Water-rich foods such as watermeloncucumber and spinach are also rehydrating.

2. Sugary foods and drinks

High sugar intake can suppress the immune system. That’s because increased levels of sugar can inhibit the work of cells that fight infections. Sugar also increases the number of inflammatory markers called cytokines, proteins that trigger inflammation in the body.

Furthermore, sugary drinks are not rehydrating. Like alcohol and caffeinated drinks, they make you go to the bathroom more. Experts also said that they can reduce how much water the body retains.

Many of these foods and drinks are not nutrient-dense. You need nutrients to boost your recovery and fight the virus.

3. Greasy foods

Foods that are hard to digest should be avoided. These include greasy foods.

The flu can cause an upset stomach and make you lose your appetite. Eating greasy foods will make you feel worse and increase inflammation.

Furthermore, experts said that when a person is fighting the flu, the body is burdened trying to fight the infection. But digestion can tax the body further as it also uses up energy. By eating foods that are easy to digest, your body can work better on combating the virus.

Experts recommend simple carbohydrates such as dry saltine crackers, toast and pretzels as they are easier on the stomach.

4. Sour and salty foods

One of the symptoms of the flu and common cold is a sore throat. Experts advise against eating sour and salty foods as they further inflame a sore throat.

Sour foods can also aggravate an upset stomach due to their high acidity content. These foods include pickled or brined food or anything mixed with too much vinegar in it.

To aid you in your recovery, you can sip broth-based soups. These are well-tolerated by the stomach and help replace any lost fluids and sodium.

Eating the right food will greatly improve your condition and help you recover more quickly. Although appetite is down when you’re sick, you should try eating adequately as your body needs nutrients and energy. (Related: Natural ways to cure the cold and flu.)

Learn more about what foods to avoid when you have the flu or the common cold at

Virgilio Marin

Sources include: 1 2

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