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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 do so matters: Some foods and drinks out there can make you feel even worse. Here, some foods and beverages you should avoid when you’re sick so you can feel better faster.
1: COFFEE
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.
2: SODA
When to skip it: You have any type of illness, but especially a stomach bug.
Why it makes you feel worse: Like coffee, caffeinated sodas are dehydrating. And they’re loaded with sugar that suppresses your immune system and messes with your GI tract, says Dr. Arthur. 
If water just isn’t appealing, try a lower-sugar drink with rehydrating electrolytes—like a sports drink or coconut water, says Dr. Arthur. Diet soda is off-limits, too.
“Many artificial sweeteners are large molecules, which can’t be broken down and digested well,” Dr. Arthur says. That can cause bloating, cramping, and even diarrhea. In other words, it just makes whatever stomach symptoms you’re already experiencing even worse.
3: CRUNCHY SNACKS
When to skip them: You have a cough or sore throat.
Why they make you feel worse: The abrasive texture of snacks like potato chips, granola, or even crispy toast will feel like sandpaper on your raw throat, Dr. Bhatia says.

And it doesn’t just feel lousy: The more you irritate your throat, the longer it’ll take to heal, too. So you might end up actually prolonging your misery. 
4: ALCOHOL
When to skip it: You have any type of illness, but especially a stomach bug.
Why it makes you feel worse: Alcohol, like coffee, is a diuretic that can worsen illness-related dehydration, Dr. Arthur says.
And since you’re probably already dehydrated to begin with, your blood alcohol content will rise faster. So the booze will hit you harder than usual.
Alcohol can also speed up digestion, causing watery stool or diarrhea, Dr. Arthur says.
5: MILK
When to skip it: You have stuffiness and congestion.
Why it makes you feel worse: You might have heard that you should avoid dairy when you’re sick because it makes you produce more mucus or phlegm.
But that’s not completely true. “There’s no clear evidence that reducing milk will reduce mucus—it’s mostly anecdotal,” Dr. Arthur says.
However, some people find that dairy makes their phlegm thicker and more unpleasant, she says. If it bothers you, go ahead and cut it out until you’re feeling better.
6: FRIED OR FATTY FOODS
When to skip it: You have a stomach bug.
Why it makes you feel worse: “Fatty foods take longer to move through the digestive system, which can make nausea worse and trigger acid reflux,” Dr. Bhatia says. 
And because they also trigger muscle spasms in your intestinal tract, they can make diarrhea worse.
7: SPICY FOODS
When to skip it: You have a runny nose.
Why it makes you feel worse: Chili peppers and hot sauce get their heat from capsaicin, a compound that can irritate your nasal passages and make your nose run.
So if you’re already drippy and runny, all that heat will only make the water works worse, Dr. Bhatia says.
On the other hand, if you’re stuffed up, it might break up your mucus so you’re temporarily less congested.

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