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Have a Cold? Avoid These Foods

By Sara Butler

There are some foods that can help you feel better when you're all stuffed up (hello, chicken soup!). On the other end of the spectrum, there are a host of foods that may only serve to make your congestion that much worse. With cold and flu season fast approaching, it's important to know which foods are a no-go when you're congested. Here are a few foods you should avoid this winter if you get sick.


Milk and other dairy products have a place in a healthy diet, but you may want to avoid them if you're feeling under the weather. That's because dairy can make mucus thicker, which may cause allergens or other irritants to stay in your body for longer instead of working their way out. In studies, whole milk has been found to be the worst culprit in stimulating the production of mucus -- something you don't want more of when you're sick.


Coffee may seem like the pick-me-up you need when you're feeling worn out from a bad cold, but if you want to recover as quickly as you can, then you may want to avoid it. That's because coffee can have a diuretic effect on the body, leading to dehydration that can make you feel a whole lot worse. If you're already struggling to stay hydrated because of a queasy stomach, then coffee is definitely something that shouldn't be on your diet plan.

Chili Peppers

Spicy foods often make your nose run, something you don't need more of if your nose is already leaking like a faucet. A chemical in chili peppers, called capsaicin, can irritate your nasal passages and stimulate the production of even more mucus. So, lay off the spicy foods until you're feeling better or you could end up being a whole lot more miserable.


While Vitamin C is good for you when you're ill, you should avoid eating papayas to get it. That's because papaya can stimulate your body's histamine response, causing swelling in your nasal passages and contributing to overall congestion. If you love papaya, then give a pass until you're feeling better.

Red Meat

Foods high in fat, such as red meat, should be avoided if you're having digestive issues or nausea. You certainly want to provide protein to your body as you recover, but you're better off going with lower fat sources until your digestive system is working as it should.

You can eat your way to better health and these foods are great when you're not sick -- it's simply better to avoid them when you are!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Queen Creek, Ariz.

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