When you’re sick, you may not have much of an appetite at all, but when you do finally want to eat, you shouldn’t just indulge in your favorite comfort foods. In fact, many common comfort foods have the exact ingredients that you should avoid when you’re feeling under the weather—ones that will slow down your immune system and make you feel sick longer. Here’s a closer look at what not to eat when you’re sick.

Cheese and Dairy

Many people are already sensitive to lactose, so dairy won’t be the wisest choice when you’re feeling ill. Even without lactose intolerance, cheese, milk, and other dairy products can increase mucus production, meaning that you’ll only feel more congested.

Meat

Meat is not as easy to digest as starches and vegetables, which means that the body has to work harder when you eat meat, fish, or chicken. Cooking meat for long periods of time can help to break down proteins and make it easier to digest, but even still, plant-based foods will be the best choices.

Caffeine

A cup of coffee can be tempting when you still have to work or run errands while you’re sick. However, the caffeine in that cup can dehydrate you, which is not something you want while your immune system is fighting a cold or flu. Trade caffeinated drinks for herbal teas and continue to drink plenty of water. This will also ensure that you get quality rest when you can take a break from your daily obligations.

Fried Foods

High-fat, salty foods should be avoided when you’re sick, because they’re likely to cause stomach upset. They also won’t provide you with much nutritional value, and they can increase inflammation.

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