We all know the feeling that creeps up on us as we’re getting sick… the stuffy nose, sore throat, and everything in between. It’s the spring season, AKA the time when allergies and small viruses start spreading like wildfire. You’ve heard it over and over again: drink lots of fluids, try to eat when you can, and get some rest. But have you ever thought about what you might want to avoid once you get sick? Find out below.


1. Dairy Products


Photo by Stephanie Lee

Despite being healthy in moderation, dairy can do more harm than good when you become sick. Experts think that dairy increases mucus production, leading to a stuffier nose or worse cough. It can also make an upset stomach a little more unsettled. Although some of us go straight for the pint of ice cream in the freezer to soothe a sore throat, try opting for another cold product, like frozen fruit bars that have natural, unprocessed sugars.

2. Sugary Foods


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You may think that sugary foods and drinks that promise hydration (we’re lookin’ at you, Gatorade) will be perfect to boost your energy, but those are one of the first things you’ll want to avoid. Sugar is highly acidic to the body and can inflame both your throat and stomach. Sugar also inhibits the body’s ability to produce white blood cells needed to fight the illness.

It’s true that the body needs sugar to function, but try to stick to natural, unprocessed sugars found in fruits and vegetables instead of sugars found in drinks and processed snacks. Stick to water to keep yourself hydrated.

3. Spicy or Acidic Foods


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Everyone here has heard that spicy foods can clear up a stuffy nose, but in reality, spicy and acidic foods can actually make it much worse. Spiciness and acidity lead to an imbalance in the body, creating further inflammation. Rather than choosing acidic foods or spicy soups, go for simpler foods, like bananas or cucumbers.

4. Fatty Foods


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Of course fried and fatty foods are exactly what we want when we think of comfort food, but this is a major no-no. Fatty foods can easily inflame an upset stomach, making you feel worse as the day goes on. If you need an alternative to a fatty meat, look towards leaner types like chicken or turkey.

5. Processed Foods


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Besides being loaded with fat and empty calories, processed foods bring absolutely no nutritional value to the body’s immune system. Like fatty foods, they can irritate an upset stomach or other body part to make you feel worse.

According to Natural Society, processed foods are filled with GMOs, plus they include a combination of immune-suppressing ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors, and aspartame. Reach for the natural foods instead, such as fruits, vegetables, or simple carbs.

6. Alcohol


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Let’s take fun out of the drinking equation and really think about its effects on the body. Alcohol can dehydrate you and weaken your immune system, which is the last thing you want happening when you come down with a bug. Put down the solo cup and down a glass of water instead.

7. Foods Containing MSG


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MSG, similar to salt, can do a number of bad things to your body. MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many packaged foods and it also helps to preserve foods in grocery stores.

MSG can actually dehydrate your body, making it weaker and more prone to other symptoms, such as headaches, muscle weakness, and heart palpitations. So rather than sticking your hand in the cabinet for that package of Ramen, reach for a healthier alternative with pasta or vegetables.