Chickenpox are a highly contagious illness characterized by an itchy rash, high fever, headache and a dry cough. Because chickenpox are a fairly serious illness with symptoms that, to a certain degree, can be affected by diet, it's important to steer clear of certain foods when you have the illness. Some foods will irritate the sores, slow healing or make you feel even sicker.
Saturated Fat-Rich Foods
Meat, and other foods that are high in saturated fat, such as full-fat dairy products, should be avoided when you have the chicken pox. These foods that are high in saturated fat can promote inflammation, making the rash worse and slowing healing. You may love to eat frozen products, such as ice cream and milkshakes, while you have the chickenpox -- they are easy to consume. If you do eat ice cream, choose low-fat frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream, or ice pops as an alternative.
It is common for blisters to develop in the mouth and throat when you have the chickenpox. Do not consume citrus fruits or juices if this is the case. The high acid content in citrus fruit can greatly irritate these sores, delaying healing and causing intense pain. You'll also want to be on the lookout for foods that contain citric acid, including throat drops or hard candies, as they can also have the same effect.
Spicy and Salty Foods
Spicy and salty foods can irritate sores in the mouth and throat and should be avoided when you have the chickenpox. This includes salty chicken broth, vegetable-blend juices or any type of soup that contains peppers or spicy seasoning. If you'd like to sip something hot, try low-sodium vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth. It is less likely to irritate the blisters in your mouth, since it is often more mild.
Sources of Arginine
Arginine, an amino acid, can help promote the replication of the virus. This replication can spur a more serious and long-lasting case of the chickenpox than you may have originally had. Do not eat foods that contain large amounts of arginine, including chocolate, peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, peanut butter and raisins.
Many processed foods contain trans fats, a man-made fat that the human body has difficulty processing, increasing the risk for many health conditions such as heart disease. As well, trans fats may increase inflammation, and this could impact chickenpox. Read labels carefully to find trans fats, typically identified with terms such as “mono” or “diglyceride.” You can also avoid processed foods entirely since these are the main sources for trans fats. Some foods include cereals, bread, cookies, crackers and chips.
- MedlinePlus: Chickenpox
- What to Eat for What Ails You; Winnie Yu; 2007
- Doctor's Guide to Natural Medicine; Paul Barney; 1998
- The Portable Pediatrician; William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears and James Sears; 2011
- Harvard School of Public Health: Shining the Spotlight on Trans Fats