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5 Foods You’d Better Avoid When Sick With a Cold, and 5 You Can Eat Instead

A runny nose, a scratchy throat, and nonstop sneezing — sounds like you’re dealing with a pesky cold. You might not have the appetite of a grizzly bear at the moment, but you still have to eat something. The right foods can help strengthen your immune system and improve your symptoms sooner, while the wrong foods can make you feel even worse.

Here at Bright Side, we found out which foods are a good idea to eat and which ones are a big no-no to consume when you’re feeling under the weather.

Foods to avoid:

1. Strawberries

You probably think this superfood is the jackpot when you have a cold, but it’s quite the opposite. Strawberries are high histamine-releasers that can be a congestion nightmare, bringing unpleasant discomfort to your nose and sinuses.

2. Sweets

Sweet stuff has plenty of sugar, which is the last thing you need when you’re ill. Eating sugar can temporarily suppress your immune system and your white blood cells’ ability to fight off the germs that are making you sick. Because of this, you should try to keep your sugar cravings under control unless you want to make your symptoms worse.

3. Processed foods

Not all processed foods are unhealthy or a bad choice, but some of them may contain high levels of salt, sugar, and fat. And these ingredients are a recipe for inflammation and may delay your body’s healing process. With that in mind, savory snacks, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, bacon, or sausages should all remain a distant memory — at least until you feel better.

4. Pickled foods

They taste delicious next to a steak but try to avoid them if you’re sick. These foods contain vinegar or salt, which are ingredients that might increase the inflammation of a sore throat.

5. Crispy foods

If you have a cough or a sore throat, eating crunchy snacks such as crackers, nachos, potato chips or pretzels might feel like sandpaper on your throat. These foods can badly irritate the throat, which means prolonging your suffering.

Foods to eat instead:

1. Chicken soup

A steaming bowl of chicken soup is a must when you have a cold, and not just because your mom or grandma says so. It keeps you hydrated, it’s nutritious, it’s soothing and studies suggest that it has an anti-inflammatory effect that may help your cold symptoms.

2. Chili peppers

Maybe you want to spice up your meals a bit. Chili peppers have something called capsaicin, an ingredient that can ease your symptoms. This works like a decongestant and expectorant, meaning it can break up mucus and relieve coughing and a stuffy nose.

3. Ginger

A hot cup of ginger tea can be your best friend when you’re nursing a cold. This mighty root has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that help to fight the virus. Ginger clears congestion, suppresses coughing, and soothes your throat — so why not give it a try?

4. Mushrooms

Not only are they tasty, but mushrooms have great health properties too. They’re immune boosters and a rich source of selenium, magnesium, and zinc. Their strong antiviral properties make them a fantastic cold-fighting food.

5. Cranberries

So tiny, yet so powerful. These ruby-red gems are packed with vitamin C and an antioxidant called quercetin that may give your immune system a well-deserved boost. In a study from the University of Florida, researchers found that cranberry juice drinkers had fewer cold symptoms than those who didn’t drink the juice. So go ahead, pour yourself a glass and your body will thank you later.

What are your go-to foods when you’re sick with a cold? Which products made you feel worse? We’d love to read your useful tips in the comments!