No foods are forbidden when you are sick with a cold or flu but some can lessen phlegm production and help you fight infections at full capacity. Choosing the right foods can help speed your recovery.
Note: In a totally unscientific study, I ate the foods under the best choices list (which follows) and found myself healing from a cold much more quickly than those in my family who ate whatever they wanted.
Your best choices
•Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, which support the body’s ability to resist and heal from infection.
•Fish, nuts and seeds provide valuable nutrients, including zinc, which play an important role in the immune system. They also are good sources of essential fatty acids which may reduce inflammation and production of phlegm.
•Whole grains provide more vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and antioxidants than refined grains. Individuals who ate more whole grains and passed on processed and fatty foods produced less phlegm when sick, according to studies.
•Warm fluids are recommended to fight a cold because the vapor from the liquids helps open up the sinuses and thin out mucus. Best choices are herbal teas, broth and dairy-free beverages. Skip caffeinated drinks.
Foods to avoid
•Dairy products thicken phlegm which irritates your throat. The exception might be yogurt because it provides healthy bacteria that can strengthen the immune system.
•Skip the sweets. Sugar reduces the effectiveness of your immune response to fight infection.
•Spicy foods may break up mucus and open up your sinuses. The problem is you may end with extra phlegm running down the back of your throat which may create more breathing problems.
•Junk food puts stress on your immune system and makes it harder to recover. A study found that those who ate a lot of sugar, refined carbs and foods high in sodium (A.K.A. junk food) had more phlegm.
•Food allergens (foods that may be causing you problems) can increase phlegm and put stress on your immune system. Ones to suspect are wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, soy, potatoes and food additives.