9 Symptoms To Treat Fast With The Right Foods If You Get Sick Over The Holidays

I don’t know about you, but the holiday fever has been keeping me on my toes since October this year.

This doesn’t happen every year, but I feel like the pandemic has made us all even more thirsty of celebration, togetherness, and some quality time of cozy indulgence. I think we all deserve it!

Still, in order to experience all these positive emotions, we need to do some organizational, shopping and cooking work first, which comes with a good amount of stress, sleep deprivation and hidden anxiety. This of course takes its toll on our immune system and makes us prone to various conditions that may spoil our holidays and the good times we wish to spend with our loved ones.

I don’t want this to become another thing you worry about, but in case something like this happens, I want you to be ready and equipped with the knowledge you need to overcome it overnight! Food has a great power to heal us if we use it right, but it can also make us sicker, if we consume the wrong foods in the wrong time.

So, besides for using the power of plant-based food to fight sickness, you also wish to avoid products that make it worse.

Here’s what to do if some of these common symptoms hit you over the holidays and you wish to get better fast

You Have Diarrhea

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For diarrhea caused by a stomach virus or a meal that didn’t agree with you, try bland foods, suggested James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif.

“Many different things can cause diarrhea, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis,” so see your healthcare provider if symptoms continue for longer than two weeks or sooner if signs of dehydration appear, or if diarrhea is accompanied by fever, blood, severe pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.

Best foods: Eat bland foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Also, oatmeal, baked potatoes, pretzels. Eat vegetables such as carrots and green beans, but be sure to cook them first.

Worst foods: Sugarless candy, gum, and other products containing sorbitol or other sugar alcohols can trigger diarrhea in some people. Foods that cause gas and bloating include peppers, peas, broccoli, corn, and beans. Dairy, alcohol, caffeine, greasy and fried foods may also aggravate diarrhea.

You’re Constipated

Factors like medications, lack of exercise, and not eating enough fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and veggies may cause constipation.

Best foods: High-fiber whole grain bread, nuts, beans, prunes, oatmeal, flaxseed, broccoli, pears, and apples. Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily also helps get things moving.

Worst foods: Sugary sweets, dairy products, iron supplements, high-fat meats, and processed foods may worsen constipation.

You Have an Upset Stomach

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Feeling queasy makes all foods sound unappealing, but the right ones can ease symptoms by calming stomach acids. In general, keep food portions small and odors to a minimum.

Best foods: Saltine crackers or pretzels can help as could small quantities of dry toast or cereal. Opt for bland foods, like noodles or foods that contain a lot of water, such as popsicles or clear soup.

Worst foods: Greasy, spicy, salty, or processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks can worsen nausea.

You Have a Sore Throat

Certain foods can coat your throat and soothe the pain when you have a sore throat, said Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers.com.

Best foods: Try keeping your throat moist with hard candies or lozenges and drinking plenty of fluids. Soft, creamy foods such as cream soups, mashed potatoes, and custards may be more tolerable to eat with a sore throat.

Worst foods: Avoid hard, scratchy foods such as potato chips, nuts, and granola. The acidic juices from many fruits and vegetables, as well as orange juice, grape juice, and lemonade, can also irritate a sore throat.

Your Entire Body Aches

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Foods that ease muscle aches depend on the specific reason for the body aches, said Kristine Arthur, MD, an internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. “For general muscle aches, food containing magnesium or calcium may help ease soreness,” Dr. Arthur said.

Best foods: Good magnesium sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans, and whole grains.7 Meanwhile, foods high in calcium include leafy greens and orange juice fortified with calcium.

Worst foods: Anything that dehydrates you can worsen muscle aches, said Dr. Arthur, particularly alcohol and caffeine.

You Have a Killer Headache

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, said Dr. Arthur, so it’s best to treat that cause first and see if it relieves your pain.

Best foods: Water and other fluids are your best bet. “Drink a bottle of water and wait 20 minutes to see if you feel better,” said Dr. Arthur. Caffeine is known for drying you out, but ironically, small doses may occasionally help relieve migraines in some people.

“But for each cup of tea or coffee, drink an equal amount of water to avoid dehydration,” Dr. Arthur said.

Worst foods: People who experience headaches on a daily basis are advised against consuming caffeine. While more research is needed, other foods believed to trigger headaches include artificial sweeteners, MSG (found in sauces and soy sauce), and aged cheeses (blue, stilton) that contain tyramine, plus red wine and processed meats. MSG is metabolized to glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, said Dr. Arthur. Tyramine links to increased blood pressure, which might trigger headaches.

You Have an Earache

Earaches typically accompany other symptoms, said Dr. Arthur. “So they’re not correlated with any food in general.” Since they often occur with upper respiratory infections, earaches might also benefit from foods that clear up congestion.

Best foods: Clear fluids may ease congestion by loosening up mucous in nasal passages.

Omega-3s in nuts decrease inflammation, and vitamin C in dark leafy greens, berries, and citrus boosts the immune system, said Dr. Arthur.

Worst foods: Some people find that dairy can make phlegm feel thicker. Stay away from processed and packaged foods, too, which increase inflammation and lengthen the recovery process.

You Just Can’t Stop Itching

This could be a symptom of an allergy, said Dr. Arthur, who suggested maintaining a detailed food journal to pinpoint possible triggers. Call your healthcare provider if symptoms are severe or last longer than a few weeks.

Best foods: Omega-3-containing foods such as walnut and flax seed oils, and foods high in protein, are all important for skin health, said Dr. Arthur. “Skin is made up of proteins, so a diet adequate in protein is necessary for skin protein synthesis.”

Worst foods: The most common foods that cause itching are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, berries, soy, wheat, and milk, said Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist.

You Have a Runny Nose

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When you have a cold, the worst symptom might be a nose that just won’t stop running. Aside from taking a steamy shower, Slayton suggested drinking warm tea—it may not slow down the drip, but a soothing tea might help you feel a bit better.

Best foods: Try Wakaya ginger tea, suggested Slayton. Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help clear up a cold faster than just waiting it out. “Apple cider and lemon in water works well, too,” Slayton added.

Worst foods: Spicy foods can cause an immediate runny nose, as may alcohol.

You’re Stuffed Up

A cold, flu, or sinus infection can irritate and inflame your nose’s blood vessels, making breathing hard. Aside from inhaling steam from a hot shower or using a humidifier, if you’re stopped up, some foods can help.

Best foods: Slayton recommended “golden milk,” which includes turmeric, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s a vegan golden milk recipe that is a must-try.

Worst foods: Skip spicy foods and sugar, which can aggravate symptoms, said Slayton.

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