There is a lot of conversation about what to eat when you’re sick, but how about those things you need to avoid? These foods are equally as important to be aware of so that you can make sure you aren’t hindering your recovery. Some of these foods are no-brainers, while others may surprise you! Check out these 12 foods that are best to be skipped during illness, and 15 recipes you can eat with the flu.

1. Coffee

If you’re sick as a dog and just can’t keep anything down, coffee isn’t going to help. Because it’s a diuretic, it can speed up how often you urinate which can lead to dehydration.

Enjoy a warm cup of tea instead or stick to drinking bottles of water throughout the day. It’s important to keep those liquids flowing!


2. Spicy Food

Have you ever eaten a super spicy food and your nose has started running? It’s not a coincidence that this happens! Capsaicin is what makes food spicy actually causes irritation in your nasal passages which can lead to your nose running.

Instead, stick to eating some fairly neutral foods such as chicken noodle soup, veggie broth, and toast.


3. Milk

When you’re sick, one of the most disgusting and constantly irritating side effects is the phlegm! When you cough, breathe or sniffle, that phlegm makes your body feel like garbage.

Milk may not be a direct cause of phlegm, but it sure does not help when you’re trying to get rid of that mucus-y feeling in your throat and chest. Milk can cause phlegm to be a little thicker than usual which is not always helpful to those who are trying to breathe, especially while sleeping.


4. Citrus Fruits

Have you ever drank orange juice when you’re sick and it burns in a really good way? Unfortunately, while it may feel like you’re doing something good for your sore throat, you should listen to that burning sensation.

Drinking citrus juice or eating the fruits cause inflammation in the lining of your throat which ultimately leads to more pain. Even though you may want to get rid of that dull ache, this is not the way to do it!


5. Sweets

It seems like a no-brainer to avoid dessert while you’re sick, but what is the actual reason behind it? Why don’t we crave dessert when we are sick?

Refined sugar can actually prevent your white blood cells from fighting off viruses at full force, leaving the virus to have free reign over your body.



6. Crunchy Snacks

This is a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to sore throats, but the worst thing you can do is eat some crunchy snacks that just scrape your throat as they go down. That is one painful snack!

Instead, eat softer foods like yogurt that can be swallowed easily and smoothly so as not to irritate your tender throat lining.


7. Alcohol

Unlike crackers, some people actually think that alcohol can help get rid of illnesses which in reality is just wishful thinking.

Not only does alcohol weaken your immune system, but it also dehydrates you! Stay away from alcohol and hydrate your body with good liquids such as water and warm tea.


8. Fast Foods

Let’s just say that if you call it a cheat day meal, you don’t want to be eating it while you’re sick! Fast food is often very low in genuinely good nutrients which makes them essentially empty calories.

Skip out on these treats that are packed with MSG, high amounts of fat and preservatives and eat some foods that are good for you such as a smoothie.


9. Processed Foods

Pre-packaged, processed foods are also out of the question when it comes to bouncing back from a cold. Who wants to eat this stuff anyway when they’re feeling like garbage?

A lot of these foods are packed with high amounts of sugar which weaken your white blood cells, and more additives that, well, you probably don’t want to even think about ingesting.



10. Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated, sugary drinks are not a drink you want to enjoy while you are sick. Not only do they often have caffeine, but they are packed with sugar which is never helpful for overcoming an illness.

If you are really wanting something that is similar to soda, try drinking carbonated water to ensure that you get your daily dose of water.


11. Artificial Sweeteners

When you’re sick, you want to fill up on natural foods that will help your body feel nourished without irritating your throat or stomach.

Artificial sweeteners are an additive you want to avoid while sick because they absolutely don’t contribute to wellness in any way, shape or form.


12. Fatty Foods

If you have the flu, chances are you aren’t going to be wanting to eat any fatty foods. If you are wanting to, maybe stay away until you recover from your stomach flu.

The fat inside some of your favorite foods move slowly through your digestive system which can not only make you want to throw up, but also give you acid reflux.

Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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