MD Reveals 6 Foods That Aggravate a Cold

Introduction: Understanding Cold Symptoms and Foods

When you’re battling a cold, it’s important to pay attention to the foods you eat. Some foods can actually make your symptoms worse, while others can help ease them. Knowing which foods to avoid and which to focus on can make a big difference in how you feel.

A cold can cause a variety of symptoms, including a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fatigue. While there’s no cure for the common cold, eating the right foods can help ease your symptoms and shorten the duration of your illness.

Sugary Foods: Why You Need to Avoid Them When You Have a Cold

Foods high in sugar can be problematic for people with a cold. Sugar can weaken the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off the virus causing your cold. Additionally, sugary foods can cause inflammation, which can exacerbate symptoms like a sore throat or cough.

When you’re sick, it’s best to avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice, as well as processed snacks like candy and cookies. Instead, focus on eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

The Role of Dairy Foods in Cold Symptoms

Dairy foods, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, can worsen cold symptoms for some people. This is because dairy can thicken mucus, making it harder to clear from your airways. For people who are lactose intolerant, consuming dairy can also cause digestive issues that can exacerbate cold symptoms.

If you find that dairy worsens your cold symptoms, try replacing milk with almond milk or soy milk, and choose plant-based options for yogurt and cheese.

Spicy Foods: Why They May Not Be Your Best Friend When You’re Sick

While some people swear by spicy foods for clearing out congestion, they can actually make cold symptoms worse for others. Spicy foods can irritate the throat and nose, making symptoms like cough and runny nose more pronounced.

If you enjoy spicy foods and don’t experience any worsening of your cold symptoms, there’s no need to avoid them. However, if you find that they make you feel worse, it’s best to avoid them.

Citrus Fruits: A Common Cold-Fighting Food That Can Actually Make It Worse

Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are often touted as cold-fighting foods, thanks to their high vitamin C content. While vitamin C can help boost the immune system, consuming too much citrus when you have a cold can actually make symptoms worse. This is because the acidity in citrus fruits can irritate the throat and exacerbate symptoms like a sore throat.

If you want to consume vitamin C to help fight off your cold, consider taking a supplement or eating other fruits that are lower in acidity, like strawberries or kiwi.

Foods High in Histamine: Why They Can Aggravate Your Cold

Histamine is a chemical that’s released by the immune system when fighting off a virus. However, consuming foods that are high in histamine can actually worsen cold symptoms for some people. This is because histamine can cause inflammation and exacerbate symptoms like a runny nose.

Foods high in histamine include aged cheeses, wine, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. If you find that consuming these foods worsens your cold symptoms, try avoiding them until you’ve recovered.

Processed Foods: Why You Need to Stay Away From Them When You’re Feeling Under the Weather

Processed foods like chips, fast food, and frozen dinners should be avoided when you have a cold. These foods are often high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, which can weaken the immune system and exacerbate cold symptoms.

Instead, focus on eating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. Homemade soups and stews can also be a great way to get nutrients while also soothing a sore throat.

Conclusion: The Best Foods to Eat When You Have a Cold

When you have a cold, it’s important to focus on eating whole, nutritious foods that will help support your immune system and ease your symptoms. This includes foods like:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean protein sources like chicken and fish
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Herbal teas and broths

Avoiding sugary, processed, and high-histamine foods, as well as dairy and citrus fruits (in excess), can help prevent worsening of symptoms. By paying attention to the foods you eat, you can help support your body’s natural healing process and get back to feeling like yourself sooner.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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