Food probably isn’t the first thing on your mind when you’re battling the flu or a stomach bug. But you have to fuel the tank eventually, and what you choose to eat matters: Some foods and drinks out there can make you feel even worse. Here are 9 foods and beverages you should avoid when you’re sick so you can feel better faster.
When you should skip it: You have any type of illness, but especially a stomach bug.
Why it makes you feel worse: The caffeine in coffee is a diuretic, so it can make you pee a lot and leave you dehydrated. That’s bad news when you’re battling a virus or other infection, since staying hydrated helps your immune system fight more effectively, says Kristine Arthur, MD, an internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Caffeine is even worse when you’re dealing with vomiting or diarrhea, since both can cause you to lose fluid. Taking in extra caffeine on top of that will only make that dehydration worse. Plus, caffeine can actually stimulate the muscles in your digestive tract and make your diarrhea more intense, Dr. Arthur says.