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Fruits to avoid when you have an infection
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Fruits to avoid when you have an infection

While fruits are essential to fight infections and boost immunity, experts advice to take caution as some fruits can react adversely for different infections
It's advisable to wash fruits thoroughly before consuming them to reduce food-borne infections.
The key is to include fruits in your diet that are easy on the stomach, during the time of an infection.

As the weather changes suddenly, our bodies react differently and are more susceptible to infections, both bacterial and viral. To beat the blues and fight the infection, the key is to boost the immune system. Maintaining a healthy diet that includes nutrient-rich fruits is essential as it helps to boost immunity and fight infections. However, experts do stress on being mindful about fruits to avoid when you have an infection. This is simply because they can aggravate and irritate the body, despite their high nutritional content.

Should fruits be avoided during an infection?

According to Sharvari Umesh Gude, dietician, Manipal Hospital, Goa, fruits do not help build immunity when the body is already infected and is actively trying to fight an infection. “Our already weak immune system might find it difficult to digest some raw fruits, worsening the symptoms of the infection, despite having high nutritional qualities,” she says. “Citrus fruits for example, though they are rich in vitamin C, an immune-boosting antioxidant, may not be recommended to consume during a cold or a cough as it can irritate the throat as it is acidic in nature, and may even cause acid reflux” says Gude.

Fruits to keep at bay during infections

Though fruits come with high nutritional qualities to boost immunity, we must be mindful of some fruits to avoid during certain infections.

“In the episode of loose stools, it is suggested to avoid mangoes as it aggravates diarrhea,” says Dr. Suchismitha Rajamanya, lead consultant & HOD – Internal Medicine, Aster Whitefield Hospital, Bengaluru “Mangoes for instance contain high fibre and sorbitol which can be difficult to digest, resulting in cramping and bloating in the gut,” she explains.

Due to high sugar and acidic content, Grapes are also not ideal to be consumed during certain infections. “Grapes cannot be easily digested, and the seeds present in the grapes can also pose a risk as an irritate already infected or inflamed areas,” says Gude.

 

Experts also suggest that dried fruits like raisins, dates, and prunes could worsen infections as due to the mold and bacteria infestation present, especially if stored for a prolonged period. High sugar content in some dried fruits can irritate sore throats.

“It’s advisable to wash fruits thoroughly before consuming them to reduce food-borne infections, as some pesticides present in them can inflame or worsen the infection,” adds Dr Rajamanya.

When Vishnu Kamat, two-year-old boy was down with cough, cold and suspected to have a viral infection, one of the advice from the doctor was to avoid citrus fruits during his recovery period. “My son was hardly eating food and we were suggested to ensure he is well hydrated. He was fond of sweet lime, but the doctor suggested us to avoid it till his congestion reduces. Instead, we gave him warm soup and ragi porridge,” recalls Asha Kamat, Vishnu’s mother.

Make it easy for your digestion

However, some select fruits are not barred from consumption during an infection recovery period. The key is to include fruits in your diet that are easy on the stomach, during the time of an infection, say experts. “Fruits such as apples, papayas, and melons are easily digestible and can help in hydration,” says Gude.

As Dr Rajamanya explains, “We need to fruits rich in vitamins A, C, E, D, and K. The B complex group of vitamins also boosts immunity. Enzymes and mitochondrial functions require these vitamins, to prevent catching any infection” she says.

 

Gude suggests having a mixed fruit bowl to ensure that all nutrients and vitamins are available to prevent any infection, “Around mid-morning or evening, a bowl of fruits of 100 or 200 grams can be consumed. If the patron suffers from chronic diseases like diabetes, they should consult an expert before eating any fruits, as they can spike their sugar levels,” she says.

In case of loose stools, it’s best to consume yellow bananas that are moderately ripe as it can be easily digested and are packed with nutrients aiding digestive health,” she adds.

Takeaways

  • Fruits do not help build immunity when the body is already infected due to weak immunity.
  • Despite citrus fruits being essential for faster recovery of infections, it is advisable to avoid them when suffering from a throat infection as it can cause discomfort and irritation
  • Nutrient-rich fruits like apples, bananas, and papayas can be consumed during infections and are also easily digestible.
  • Wash fruits thoroughly before consuming them to reduce food-borne infections.

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