Foods That Weaken Your Immune System
Drinking a cup of juice may seem like the right thing to do when you’re not feeling good, but truth be told, it isn’t exactly the best food to make you feel better. In fact, there are quite a few foods that would be considered the worst foods to eat when you’re sick—including orange juice! If you’re trying to fight viral symptoms in this time of uncertainty, you’ll want to stay away from these less-than-great options.
Of course, food can’t prevent the coronavirus. But if you’re feeling under the weather for whatever reason, there are some foods that are worse for you than others. If you are looking to make yourself feel better in a shorter period of time, you’ll want to stay away from these 100 foods. They’ll just make you feel even worse!
It’s no secret that candy is filled with sugar, which is one of the top things you want to avoid for better health, especially when you are sick. Jeanette Kimszal, RDN, NCL, counts sweet stuff as the number one food category she advises clients to avoid when they are sick. “Sugar causes inflammation and this has been shown to decrease immunity by weakening white blood cells. These cells are responsible for fighting infection,” she says. Pass on the candy to make sure your disease-fighting cells are working at full capacity.
So no more turning to candy when you’re feeling under the weather!
If you think this superfood is a safe bet when you are sick, think again. Strawberries are histamine releasers that can contribute to congestion. Histamine-powered mucus can create a sense of discomfort in your nose and sinus area, so stick to other fruits until you’re feeling better.
Milk is another food to stay away from when you’re feeling under the weather. Dairy can temporarily thicken mucus, which will cause harmful allergens to stay in your system longer. Whole milk, in particular, has also been shown to stimulate the production of mucus, which is the opposite of what you want when you are sick.
Cheese plays a starring role in many comfort food favorites, but there is nothing comforting about the effects of full-fat dairy on your immune system when you are sick. Julie Upton, MS, RD, emphasizes the importance of avoiding pro-inflammatory foods, as they can reduce your body’s immune system response. Full fat dairy, such as most cheese options, are on her list of foods that spike inflammation after consumption.
5. Ice Cream
Do not turn to ice cream to soothe your sore throat; it may just keep you sick longer. Most ice cream is made with full-fat dairy, meaning it is high in inflammation-triggering saturated fat. Additionally, the sweet stuff has plenty of sugar, another ingredient that has been known to increase inflammation. Think of this as a double don’t when you’re trying to keep your immune system functioning at full capacity.
You might want to hold off on this healthy breakfast staple when you’re fighting off a cold. Maria Zamarripa, MS, RD, CLT, reiterates that avoiding dairy might be the best move while you’re sick. “Dairy products may worsen or thicken the phlegm production in certain individuals. Phlegm is the mucus that lines our tissues and acts as a protective barrier. However, during a sickness, our body’s mucous production goes into overdrive,” says Zamarripa.
Coffee might seem like a must when you’re already worn down from the flu, but if you want to get better fast you should try to lay off of the joe. According to Rebecca Lewis, registered dietitian at HelloFresh, coffee dehydrates the body and can make muscle aches worse. “The immune system works most efficiently when the body is well hydrated. Since the caffeine in coffee is a diuretic, it will make you pee a lot. Combined with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, the caffeine will only make dehydration worse,” says Lewis.
Pass on the fast-food and takeout if your head is throbbing. According to
The Journal of Head and Face Pain, there is strong evidence that MSG has the ability to trigger headaches based on several provocation studies. If your head is already throbbing or you’re prone to migraines, be sure to avoid this additive as much as possible.