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Foods You Shouldn't Eat if You Have Flu-Like Symptoms

Here are 5 foods to avoid if you're feeling sick.

Not only have you had to worry about protecting yourself from COVID-19 for most of the year but also you've also had to add the flu to the list over the past couple of months.

If you feel like you've caught the flu, don't worry. Rest, tea, and nutritious foods will help keep your immune system strong as your body fends off the virus. On the other hand, there are certain foods that can make your symptoms worse. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone To Take Right Now.)

Here are five foods you should steer clear of when you have flu-like symptoms:



woman pouring glass of wine

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that you can quickly become dehydrated if you don't drink water in tandem with it. If you have an elevated temperature or the onset of a low-grade fever, dehydration is something you want to avoid, as Kacie Vavrek, MS, RD, CSSD notes in an article for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Sparkling water or electrolyte-infused water will help you stay hydrated.


Greasy foods

fried chicken sandwich

If you're experiencing gastrointestinal issues, you'll want to avoid fried, greasy foods. Why? These foods have a high saturated fat content, and they're difficult for your body to break down. The last thing you want to do is add more stress on your gut when it's already feeling wonky.




The science around whether or not dairy milk causes the body to create mucus is inconclusive, but it could help to alleviate pressure in their chest for some. If you're already feeling congested, consider ditching cow's milk. And don't miss Major Recent Findings About Dairy You Should Know.


Sugary foods

sugary foods

Added sugars are known to cause inflammation in the body, which can suppress immune function. Avoid candy, donuts, and other sugary foods (and drinks) until your symptoms subside. Instead, reach for nutrient-dense fruits that are rich in vitamin C to get your sweet fix, including oranges and strawberries. Also consider incorporating kale into your diet—one cup (raw and chopped) offers roughly 80 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 89% of your daily value (90 milligrams).

Don't miss The One Food Doctors Are Urging Everyone To Eat Right Now.




You should also avoid grains that are more difficult to digest when your stomach is feeling upset, such as complex carbs that are high in fiber like wheat-based breads and pastas and eve grains like quinoa—especially when it's not fully cooked. Instead, Vavrek recommends sticking to saltine crackers, toast, and pretzels.

For more, be sure to check out Foods You Shouldn't Eat If You Have COVID.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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