Can you eat milk when sick?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat milk when sick, what is milk, what causes mucus, does milk or dairy products increase mucus, what milk alternatives can you drink or eat and what you should eat or drink when you are sick. 

Can you eat milk when sick?

Yes, you can eat milk products or drink milk when sick. Some people say milk can increase phlegm or mucus but there is no science to back this up. According to several studies, there was no clinical evidence showing an increase in mucus associated with drinking milk. 

A glass or a bit of cold milk or yogurt might soothe your throat and provide nutrients and calories you need when you are sick such as zinc, calcium, probiotics, vitamins, and antioxidants. 

What is milk?

Milk is defined as a white fluid rich in fat and proteins that are secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of the young mammal. It can be drawn by hand or manually. The major components of milk are water, fat, protein, carbohydrate (lactose), and minerals. 

It has a lot of highly important micronutrients like vitamins, essential amino acids, and trace elements. Cow’s milk has been linked to preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy weight. 

Some people do not tolerate cow’s milk because of lactose intolerance or allergy to the protein of cow’s milk. There are some substitutes for milk in the market

  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Pea milk

What causes much?

Mucus is caused by a mechanism of defense of the body. Is a way for your body or immune system to get rid of bacteria, viruses, dust, allergens, or little particles entering your body. Several health conditions might cause mucus production such as

  • Acid reflux
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Infections such as the common cold
  • Lung disease

Also, there are certain lifestyle or environmental factors that can cause mucus such as a dry environment, low consumption of water, high consumption of coffee, tea, or alcohol, some medications, or smoking. 

What are colds and flu?

Cold or flu is when you are sick with respiratory infections most likely because of a virus. They have very similar symptoms. Both are considered by the American Lung Association as a respiratory infection caused by a virus but unlike the cold, the flu is seasonal. 

Flu usually runs from fall to spring peaking in the winter months and is caused by the virus of influenza. The cold can be caused by a lot of viruses. 

Runny or stuffy noseDry, hacking cough
Sore ThroatModerate fever
SneezingSore throat
CoughShaking chills
Headache or body achesSevere muscle or body aches
Mild tirednessHeadache
Stuffy or runny nose
Seve fatigue for 2 weeks
Nausea and vomiting, children may have diarrhea 

Does milk or dairy products increase mucus?

There are several studies in the field but there is no clinical evidence that dairy products or milk increase mucus. The theory is that it might be more sensory because milk and saliva create a thick liquid that can coat the mouth and throat. The sensation that this thick liquid left might feel like increased phlegm or mucus. 

How should you consume milk when sick?

If you are sick, try to eat milk or dairy products at room temperature or not consume them if they are very cold. Even if ice cream, cold yogurt, or cold milk might feel good in your throat it can irritate it later.

What milk alternatives can you drink or eat?

Milk alternatives or dairy alternatives can be eaten or drunk as much as you want when you are sick. Some examples might be soya milk or soya milk yogurt and cheeses, rice, oat, almond, hazelnut, coconut, and potato milk. Also, all foods that carry dairy-free or are suitable for vegans are a good option. 

What should you drink or eat when you are sick?

When you are sick, you should try to stay hydrated and eat as healthy as you can. Try to drink a lot of water and avoid coffee, tea, or alcohol. Some food you can add that will make you feel better is

  • Home-made chicken broth or soup with vegetables
  • Citrus food filled with vitamin C
  • Kale, broccoli, cranberries, red onion, and blueberries
  • Ginger tea
  • Add garlic and onion to your food
  • Avoid junk food
  • Lean protein like chicken breast or salmon

Follow this link for a chicken noodle soup for when you are sick. 


This article answered can you eat milk when sick, what is milk, what causes mucus, does milk or dairy products increase mucus, what milk alternatives can you drink or eat and what you should eat or drink when you are sick. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.