Can you get sick from eating cold food?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you get sick from eating cold food?”, how to differentiate between the common cold, flu, and strep throat, and how cold weather supports viral and bacterial infections. 

Can you get sick from eating cold food?

Yes, you can get sick from eating cold food. The consequences can be more serious in winter due to the cold weather. Let’s have a look at the common complications that arise from eating cold food in winter.

Upsets your gut 

Your gut does not like extreme temperature fluctuations. When you eat cold food, and that too during winters, your gut starts to act up. Resultantly, you may feel bloated, or even experience stomach cramps, especially true for women. 

If you ate cold food despite being a sensitive individual, you just set yourself up for fatigue and sinus infections. 

Disturbs the temperature homeostasis 

Humans are warm-blooded species and we need to maintain our body temperature within a narrow range of 36-37.5C. Eating cold food in winter disturbs the temperature homeostasis of your body. 

At a temperature colder than normal, your body is unable to circulate blood and other fluids at a normal rate. A fancier term for this phenomenon is blood stasis.

Kick in the throat 

Cold drinks or cold foods can lead to your throat feeling uncomfortable and itchy. You may develop a throat infection easily if you are a sensitive individual. 

To avoid getting caught in such an uncomfortable situation, drink up hot milk, and hot soup, and eat nuts and herbs. This should keep you warm enough to keep you going in the harsh cold winters.

Increases the risk of flu and cough

Winters are marked by flu, itchy throat, and sneezing. Eating cold food during winter makes you more susceptible to a throat infection. If you do not want your daily tasks to get affected by a stubborn cough, and a stuffed nose, stay away from cold foods.

Tempers with your immunity 

A well-maintained and stable body temperature contributes to an improved immunity against the common cold in winter. Eating cold foods in winter might be slowly eating away your immunity. This makes you weak overall, lowers your metabolism, and makes you lazy.

How to differentiate between the common cold, flu, and strep throat?

All three illnesses share some symptoms but the culprit is different in all three cases. You need to get in touch with your doctor if your symptoms fall in the common cold or flu category.

To diagnose strep throat, the doctor relies on the swab test analysis of the throat. However, a throat culture test may also be employed. Since the common cold and flu are caused by viruses, an antibiotic is not an appropriate cure.

The common cold 

A common cold is a viral infection, most commonly caused by rhinovirus, and is characterized by a sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headaches, stuffed nose, fever, and pain in the body. 

Different people may experience varying symptoms of the common cold but the aforementioned signs are most commonly observed.


Flu is also a viral infection but it is caused by the influenza virus which is the most powerful during the winter or autumn season. The most common symptoms of flu are sweating & shivering, headaches, high fever, sore throat, stuffed nose, and fatigue due to constant muscle aches.

Strep throat 

The culprit behind strep throat is a bacteria known as Streptococcus bacteria. It mostly attacks children due to their low immunity. It is characterized by fever, headaches, pain in the throat and body, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, nausea, and swelling in the neck lymph nodes, and tonsils.

Are the common cold, flu, and strep throat contagious?

The common cold and flu spread through the nose and mouth when you inhale infected aerosols present in the surroundings. Direct contact with infected persons or infected surfaces can also be the cause.

The same goes for the streptococcus bacteria which spreads when you touch an infected person or surface, ingest contaminated food, or inhale infected aerosols.

The bacteria or virus, upon entering your body, becomes as powerful as you let them. The strength of your immunity decides whether a certain virus or bacteria will multiply or not. It also dictates to what extent the bacteria or virus grows. 

Does cold weather support viral and bacterial infections?

The cold and humid environment of winters is the ambient growing condition for most viruses. A cold nose serves as a haven for rhinovirus in winter.

When you mostly stay indoors in winters, getting little or none of that immune-boosting vitamin D, the virus or bacteria overpowers your immunity. 

Moreover, the cold environment results in the slight shrinkage of your blood vessels, which impedes the fast transport of white blood cells to the infection site.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you get sick from eating cold food?”, how to differentiate between the common cold, flu, and strep throat, and how cold weather supports viral and bacterial infections. 


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