As a freshman in college, my first semester was an endless cycle of being sick. From colds to sinus infections to stomachaches, I feel as if I've had it all. With each new sniffle and cough, I learned which foods make me feel well enough to make it to class and which ones make me want to go back to bed. Here's my list of some of the worst foods to eat when sick.
1. Tea that’s too hot
As a child, I was told that a cup of tea would always make me feel better. While this may be true, you have to be careful that the tea is not piping hot. Burning your throat can be incredibly painful for a sore throat (and burning your tongue is just straight annoying). A dry or scratchy throat could be further irritated by too-hot tea. Give it a few minutes to cool before it works its magic.
2. Orange Juice
When you feel the onset of a sickness, your first instinct may be to chug some orange juice to get that vitamin C. Not only is this not an effective method, but orange juice can also worsen your symptoms. The high acidity in oranges can irritate an already sore throat.
People debate the idea of avoiding dairy when sick. There have been some studies that have found a possible association with dairy and increased respiratory tract mucus production in people with pre-existing respiratory track illnesses. With the exception of yogurt, which has healthy probiotics that can aid your immune system, you may want to stay clear of dairy when feeling under the weather.
4. Processed/Packaged Foods
Processed foods are full of artificial ingredients, making them addicting and tasty, but also bad for your body if you're feeling under the weather. When sick, you need to fuel your immune system with the necessary nutrients to fight off your sickness with power. The last place you'll find vitamins and minerals is in that bag of chips or package of cookies.
5. Sugar-Free Candies/Lozenges
If you're craving a soothing cough drop for a sore throat, avoid the sugar-free ones. Sugar-free lozenges/candy contain sorbitol and other artificial sweeteners. These ingredients are indigestible and can cause stomach pain and digestive issues. The last thing you want when you have a sore throat is to get a case of the runs, so skip sugar-free.
6. Fatty Foods
Fatty and oily foods, while they make many people happy, will not do the same for your stomach. Fat takes longer and requires more energy to digest, and can cause digestive problems and pains. If you have a queasy stomach, avoid your normal fast food order.
Whether it’s coming from coffee or soda, you should be avoiding all caffeine when you’re sick. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee (A LOT), leaving you dehydrated. Make sure you're drinking enough water and stay hydrated to fight any type of illness. Dehydration can also increase overall muscle pain. Water is the fuel your immune system needs to battle off any type of sickness, and caffeine is fighting for the other side.
When you're feeling sick, it's important to listen to your body and do what's best for it. Our bodies do incredible things, so when there not feeling too great we have to give them some love–then some damn good-for-you food.