The holidays have come to a end and it is back to work for most of us mortals! In order to avoid falling ill, it is important to keep our immune systems strong during the return to our routines. However, no matter how many vitamin Cs we take, it is very unlikely that we will completely avoid catching at least one flu or cold during the coming year.
For many of us appetite becomes non-existent when we are ill and even more so when we have a fever. It is of the utmost importance, however, to remember that medical professionals concur that the body actually needs more calories than usual to function properly and fight off sickness during the flu. In order to kick your flu to the curb as fast as possible, stick to a fixed eating schedule (at least 3 meals a day) and keep your calorie intake as regular as possible.
There are several foods that we should avoid entirely during the flu as they can seriously impede getting better.
Acidic and spicy foods
While a spicy meal can help clear a congested nose, these heavy and rich foods are difficult to digest and can be hard on the stomach. It is important not to ingest anything that could irritate the stomach lining and this includes both spices and citrus. Although fruits such as oranges and grapefruits are a great source of vitamin C, they should be avoided if your flu symptoms include an upset tummy.
If your appetite hasn’t subsided and you are feeling a tad low, you may instinctively turn to fatty foods. These types of food should be avoided at all costs. While they may be immediately satisfying and tasty, they have little to no nutritional value. Our bodies need calories to fight off colds and flus, but practically empty calories aren’t going to help your recovery in any way. In addition, greasy food is also difficult to digest and cause irritation of the stomach lining as well as pain.
Milk and other dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream and cheese can cause additional mucus build-up when you are ill. Livestrong.com explains that mucus build-up should be avoided because it provides a warm and moist environment ideal for viruses to thrive in. Try and cut dairy from your diet until you have fought off your cold, especially if you have any sort of ear ache as additional phlegm will worsen the issue.
Medical experts recommend avoiding sorbitol or other artificial sweeteners when you have an upset stomach. When these chemically enhanced sweeteners hit the stomach they can cause bloating and even diarrhea. Health.com also points out that there are many foods that can cause bloating including broccoli, cabbages, beans and surprisingly apples. Studies also show that artificial sweeteners can cause headaches and therefore should be avoided during the flu.
Alcohol and caffeine
Apart from the obvious negative side effects of these substances, both contribute to dehydration. When your muscles ache during the flu it is important to keep them hydrated in order to diminish this aching. Alcohol can also cause a runny nose if your immune system is down.
The common cold will affect almost every single one of us at least once this year. We do however have the ability to keep our immune systems in-check. In addition, by controlling your diet when you catch a cold, you can help diminish your recovery time. And remember, if you are ever in doubt – you can always stick to chicken noodle soup!