5 Inflammatory foods to avoid . . .


. . . when you’re sick

We’re drawn to comfort foods when we’re sick, because, well, we want to be comforted! Because they make us feel good. Or do they?

Today I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy , and since I happened to have been sick this past week, my thoughts turned to what foods are good for you when you’re sick . . . and which ones aren’t. Next week I think I’ll cover some that might benefit you if you’re sick, but this week I’m going to share some I avoid when I’m sick.

I am not, of course, a doctor, nutritionist, or any kind of scientist or health professional, so do your own research, too.



Many adults are lactose intolerant. And many people are allergic to milk without ever being aware of it — it can cause diarrhea, constipation, even hives and difficulty breathing. Some milks have antibiotics and hormones in them.

Another problem with dairy is that it can encourage mucous, and since I’ve just spend most of the week mildly congested, it’s not something I really want to encourage.

Foods to avoid:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Ice cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

While I don’t consume a lot of dairy in general, no food is completely banished from my table. Most dairy is a sometimes thing, except for Greek Yogurt. As an almost-pescetarian, I find I rely on it fairly heavily for protein. And I like it. Right now I just don’t need any extra mucous, thank you very much. Interestingly Webmd says there’s little science behind the thought that dairy creates mucous (read the post here), so it’s up to you. I can skip it for a little while.

Vegetable cooking oils
Many of the vegetable oils we grew up with are high in Omerga 6 fats and low in Omega 3 fats — the exact opposite of what you want in your diet.

Oils to avoid:

  • Sunflower
  • Safflower
  • Canola
  • Corn


High Fructose Corn Syup (HFCS)
You’ll notice I didn’t mention sugars — sorry, they’re not off the hook, but I covered them in 5 Foods to Outrun a Flu/Cold here.

Long story short, HFCS is a very sweet sweetener with no nutritional value. It’s sole purpose is to make foods sweet. Even foods that don’t need to taste sweet, like ketchup and salad dressings. It’s cheaper and sweeter than sugar. Unlike fruit, which obviously has quite a bit of fructose in it, HFCS doesn’t have the fiber, antioxidants, and minerals that make fruit the better choice when you want something sweet.

HFCS makes its way into many foods and the only way to really tell if it’s in there is to read the ingredient list. In general you’ll find it in processed foods.

Gluten seems to be the darling everyone loves to hate. It’s trendy. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, you probably can eat some gluten. But should you eat it when you’re sick? And what’s the problem with gluten, anyway?

One of the biggest problems with gluten today is that today’s wheat isn’t the same as your grandma’s wheat. Due to the genetic modificaion of wheat, it contains a lot more gluten today than it did in the past.

I personally believe that eating gluten free most of the time is a good idea, but I don’t shun bread all the time either — unless I’m sick. In general, when I’m sick, I try to eat as much unprocessed food as possible. Have you ever looked at the long paragraph of ingredients on the pack of your loaf of bread? Or had bread that hadn’t gone moldy . . . after several months? Which doesn’t really have anything to do with gluten, I’m just saying.

I do eat Ezekiel bread sometimes, but I’ll be the first to say that it’s an acquired taste. A better option if you’re sick and just must have bread? Try sourdough bread. The fermentation process that creates sourdough bread also makes it much easier for most people to digest.

If you’re sick, you need to stay well hydrated. Boy, early on in my marriage I learned that one the hard way. I was really sick. Mr. Judy called me up to help him put up a new light in our kitchen, which I had to get up on a stepstool to reach. Why I didn’t tell him no, I’ve no idea, but it did seem a simple enough request.

I passed out right on top of the new light on the floor. Mr. Judy dragged me to a doctor, who threatened hospitalization if I couldn’t keep liquids down. Lesson learned.

So the problem with alcohol is that it can be dehydrating, the exact opposite of what you need. Hey, if your nana swears by hot toddies, and that’s what you want, go for it. But it may not be the best remedy (although the placebo effect is real). I don’t drink anyway.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Any tried and true remedies for cold/flu?

Do you avoid any of these when you’re sick?

What do you avoid when you’re sick?

27 thoughts on “5 Inflammatory foods to avoid . . .

    1. Your comment doesn’t appear in my wordpress — yet, anyway. Very odd.

      I don’t take Nyquil. It doesn’t help me.I’m one of those people it leaves wired instead of knocked out. I drink a lot of tea, a lot of soup, some green smoothies, and take zinc and some elderberry & a few other things.

      When I have a fever, which I did for a couple of days, I do take some ibuprofen later in the day so I can sleep. I rarely take it & try hard not to, but sometimes you need something! Oddly enough, it seemed to help me be less congested at night too — I have no idea how that works.


    1. It depends on how sick I am and what type of sickness. This one wasn’t terrible, which is why I am still eating. When I’m super sick — yes, I lose my appetite.

      Chicken soup actually has some scientific backing for being healing (as well as grandma approved). 🙂


    1. I really have a pretty strong stomach, I’ll eat a bean dish the night before a long run (but not before a race). Actually, I’ve been eating veggie almost the entire week.

      Seriously, not much bothers me. But I do try to eat healthier when I’m sick — in the hopes of getting better sooner.


  1. Interesting on the oils. I usually use olive oil but due use canola in some baking. I’m not convinced that anyone without Celiac’s needs to avoid gluten but I know it’s a thing these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think people necessarily need to avoid gluten, but the gluten in today’s breads is much stronger — plus it’s also in everything these days, much like sugar.

      So I’ll have the occasional pizza or bread at a restaurant, and I’m also choose about what gluten free breads I buy — you still have to look at the ingredients; GF can be full of junk, too>


  2. Hahaha! That whole Nana – Hot Toddy thing is too funny!!! It’s like we were peeking over each other’s shoulders. LOL!

    I definitely try to avoid HFCS all the time and, if my stomach is bugging me, I’ll avoid my yogurt but mostly, I will still eat it. Especially if I’m taking antibiotics. Milk and ice cream, though? Nah. I’ll pass on those. I’d rather have a fruit sorbet to cool my throat without coating it.

    Interesting about the oils. I pretty much only use olive, avocado, and almond so I guess I’m safe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankfully I haven’t had to take antibiotics in a very, very long time. Which is a very good thing, as I’ve actually taken way too many of them in my lifetime!

      I don’t think I’ve ever used almond oil. Walnut oil I’ve tried, and I actually really like macadamia oil (it’s kind of buttery). I use olive, coconut, and actually do use grassfed butter — in moderation.


  3. I used to have a stomach of steel, but it was bothering me yesterday. Not enough to keep me from running, but I stayed away from the wine during dinner. I also remember when I was sick as a kid, my parents wouldn’t let me have any dairy. They said it’s tough on the stomach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do crave it a little, so I try to limit it and make it something that’s healthy, too.

      I think your thyroid has a lot ore to do with weight struggles than gluten, but you never know. The only way you would know is to do an elimination. Something to think about, anyway. There are more good alternatives these days.


  4. I think the honey in hot toddies is the reason they’re a cold/flu remedy. But alcohol doesn’t appeal to me at all when I’m sick, so I take my honey in ginger tea. On the other hand, sometimes bread is the only thing that sounds good…and I’m of the “something is better than nothing” mindset when it comes to eating while sick.


    1. Toast is great if you’re really, really sick — as in, can’t stomach anything. Although it’s not really something I crave much. And coke — no thanks! I gave up soda decades ago & it’s not something I miss.

      Now, take away the treats I bake myself & you might have a problem. 🙂


  5. Can’t remember the last time I was sick or had a cold. Haven’t had a fever since I was a kid if ever. Knock on wood.

    I would probably crave ice cream or soup.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmmm your post made me think! I think when I am sick (cold/stuffy nose, headache, etc) I avoid alcohol because I really don’t even want it. Most nights I look forward to my glass of wine but when I’m sick it just doesn’t sound good to me. Other than that, when I feel crappy, I tend to just eat whatever I am craving.

    Liked by 1 person

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