5 Foods You Shouldn’t Eat When You are Sick

Feed a cold, starve a fever. Or, is it, feed a fever, starve a cold? I can never remember, so I usually just go with my taste buds and feed both. But, what should you be eating when you are sick? Chicken soup would be the top hit if I surveyed a bunch of people. Toast or hot tea might come in a close second. What would your answer be if I asked, what shouldn’t you eat? These would be my answers:

  1. SugarSugar is immune enemy #1 in my book. Whether it is in the form of soda, candy, or just the added sugars in the carbs we eat, sugar will work against your body’s ability to heal itself.
  2. Caffeine — A cup is ok, because I wouldn’t want to torture you when you are already feeling lousy. But, too much will be dehydrating and make you feel worse. When you are under the weather, increase your water intake and focus on natural energy boosters, like fiber, veggies and fruit.
  3. Dairy — If you are congested, many people find that avoiding dairy helps thin mucous and eases symptoms. There is no evidence to support this, but anecdotally, there may be some truth to it. Also, as we age, many people start having problems digesting dairy. Makes sense to avoid anything that will add to your symptom list.
  4. Fried & Processed Foods — We already know these are bad for us, but sometimes when I’m sick, I start craving weird things and may reach for that bag of chips instead of an apple. This is a bad idea because these foods cause inflammation, are difficult to digest (see #5) and can lower your immunity.
  5. Red Meat — Red meat and other foods that are hard to digest may promote inflammation and distract your immune system from doing what it needs to be doing … making you feel better. Stick with lighter proteins and foods that don’t make you feel bloated and full.


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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness Coach. She helps clients with parenting issues, the challenges of college and young adulthood and issues related to health and habits. Email her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of the Audible Original, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents.