They can’t all be chicken soup! There are some healthy foods out there which tend to make your cold worse and amplify your symptoms, like the coughing, the headaches, and the runny nose. Learn to avoid them so that you can get back on your feet faster.
Well, if I had known about all of these things until now, I probably wouldn’t have spent so many days vegging on the couch, staring at the laptop with blurry vision, massive headaches and coughing my lungs out. Some foods can actually make your cold worse and prolong that agonizing and vulnerable time of our lives that is *gasp* the common cold.
But the good news is that if you take better care of yourself when you have a cold, nourish your body with healthy, cold-alleviating foods while letting go of the ones that make your symptoms worse, you have every chance of getting back on your feet way faster.
5 foods that make your cold worse
1. Cafe au lait
This one is difficult for me because I cannot live without my daily, miraculous coffee, which is always topped off with some whole milk. But it’s actually pretty bad for everyone who has a cold. The reason? Drinking milk thickens your mucus and phlegm, which means that you’ll feel more congested and stuffy, while your throat will feel even more irritated. Cough, cough!
On a side note, coffee isn’t that good for you either, because it dehydrates you, and one of the hallmarks of nursing a cold is drinking plenty of liquids and staying hydrated. I know what you’re feeling, my heart is breaking, too.
Hydration is important in times of colds or the flu because it helps the mucous membranes in your nasal cavity flush out the virus faster. They need to be moist. If you’re dehydrated, you might also experience worse aches in your muscles!
2. Orange juice
This shocked me and made me gasp! You would think that something rich in vitamin C would boost the immune system and help you snap out of your cold. But it isn’t quite so. If you have a heavy cough paired with a sore throat, don’t have too much orange juice. Maybe none. Orange juice might burn the already inflamed membranes in your throat, because of its acidity. This leads to more coughing and more not being able to sleep because of said coughing (this is my curse).
Not to mention that orange juice you buy tends to be packed with sugar. The sweetness leads to inflammation in your body, which means that your immune system is not fighting the cold as strongly and valiantly as it could.
3. Sweets and soda
Just like above, everything that is loaded with sugar will make you feel even sicker because it weakens your immune system. If you induce even more inflammation in yourself, your body will have a harder time fighting the infection. Eating refined sugar can suppress your white cells’ ability to fight off the bacteria.
So no cookies, candy, cakes, or soda for you, even if sometimes when you’re sick at home you might need some comfort food. Not to mention that the fizzy soda varieties will irritate your suffering throat even further.
4. Simple carbs
Are simple carbs your comfort food? Do you like to have toast with some butter spread on it? Do you enjoy saltines or pasta? You should let go of that in times of cold, sneezing and dizzying headaches. These types of carbs are broken down quickly into sugars and have the aforementioned inflammatory effects. If you feel like you just have to have some carbs, pick whole grain-type snacks. But be careful, because saltines and toast, whatever breaks down into dry, tiny crumbs, tends to irritate your throat even more.
If I had a nickel for everyone who lied to me that I should drink some vodka or other hard alcohols to flush out the infection from my body when I have a cold, I would probably own an island right about now. Yeah, alcohol is one of the foods that make your cold worse.
This item has a double negative effect on your cold or flu-ravaged body. On the one hand, just like sugar, alcohol causes inflammation in your body and weakens your white blood cells. On the other hand, consuming alcohol, no matter what type, dehydrates you, which makes most of your symptoms worsen. It gets even worse because having alcohol during a cold will make its effects worse. Do you really want to get drunk instantly AND have a cold plus a horrible hangover the next morning? I didn’t think so!