Listen, I get it. Pizza makes everything better, right? Bad day – pizza. Break up – pizza. Nasty fight with a friend – pizza.
But does that same logic apply to when you’re sick? We’d all like to think it does, being the pizza lovers that we are, but whether we should is a different matter altogether.
So, if you’ve been wondering the same thing, or maybe you’re sick right now and are craving a slice, stick with me for today’s post and I’ll tell you once and for all whether you should be eating pizza when you’re sick.
Yes, you can eat pizza when sick, however, it’s important to consider the 5 factors below to ensure you don’t make things worse than they already are!
How Sick Are You?
It’s an important question to think about – just how sick are you? And more specifically, when you say you’re sick, what type of sick are you?
No, I don’t want all the details from you. That’s not why I’m asking. But the reason I want you to think about it is that certain illnesses will mean you absolutely should not eat at all. That means no pizza, too, I’m afraid.
So, without going too in-depth, if you actively have any of the following symptoms (actively meaning you’ve had the symptoms in the past hour or so) then you probably shouldn’t be eating anything at all, never mind pizza:
These are your three main ones – but I’m just a pizza blog writer, so you should probably check on a reputable medical website or contact a doctor or chemist if you have different symptoms and you’re unsure if you should eat or not.
If you don’t actively have these symptoms anymore but you have had them, then read the section below, because I think it’s definitely relevant to you.
Listen To Your Body
There’s definitely something to be said about listening to your own body. If you feel hungry, then you should eat a small amount to start with.
Wait 20-30 minutes after eating, and see if you still feel like eating more.
Now, that applies to food more generally when sick – but what about pizza?
Well, if your body is calling out for pizza and it’s the only thing you think you can stomach right now, then try a little.
Don’t polish off a whole 16 inch pizza to yourself, but take a bite or two of a slice and see how you feel after it.
If you then want to polish off a whole family-sized pizza, then I guess you must be feeling better, right? And actually, the pizza might have helped…
Can Pizza Make You Feel Better?
If you have some other type of symptom besides nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, then eating pizza probably isn’t a bad idea when you’re sick.
In fact, there’s some (loose) evidence to suggest that pizza might actually help you in some situations.
One such example is a cold. If you’re suffering from the sniffles right now, then buying or making a delicious pizza might actually help you.
If there’s enough garlic, herbs, and spices in the pizza, then they can work to help reduce congestion, making you feel a little better after you’ve eaten it.
However, garlic, herbs, and spices is just one small part of a pizza, right? So what about the rest of the ingredients?
Pizza Toppings When You’re Sick: This Not That Edition
If some parts of a pizza have some evidence to suggest they can make you feel better when sick, then others must be better to avoid, right?
So, I’m going to take a look at different broad categories of pizza toppings and talk a little about whether you should be eating it when sick or not.
Some of these will simply be common sense, and others will be based on legitimate evidence that specifically looks at how eating certain ingredients or food types affects the body when sick.
Everybody knows that fruit and veggies are great for you when you’re sick.
They help replace a bunch of vital vitamins and liquids you may have lost when sick, and they can help you start your road to recovery.
In theory, veggies on pizza aren’t a bad thing when sick, and if you only have a mild illness where you’re not actively vomiting or suffering with diarrhea, they can certainly help you feel much better.
Even if you’re eating for the first time after a bad illness, a veggie pizza isn’t the worst choice you could make – so consider a veggie pizza for your first pizza back after an illness.
It’s definitely your safest bet. Just make sure it isn’t spicy!
Your pizza base is where there’s a lot of debate. It can be quite heavy, a pizza dough, and that usually isn’t a good thing when you feel any kind of sick – whether you feel nauseous or just have a bit of a cold.
Still, there are steps you can take to make the pizza dough base a little lighter on the stomach, helping make pizza a little more palatable when sick.
If you make your own, for example, you can make a great light pizza base that’s very thin.
Ordering from a takeout probably isn’t a great idea when you’re sick, but if it’s all you’re craving, I’d recommend opting for a thin crust over a deep ban, just to make it lighter. This ought to help.
The sauce is actually where you’re most likely to find the garlic, herbs, and spices that can help you feel less congested, and there’s even some research that suggests garlic is good for helping stop nausea too (not as strong as ginger, for example, but still, it may help).
So, in theory, the sauce shouldn’t be a bad thing if you opt for one that’s tomato based and loaded with good stuff.
As for a BBQ sauce based pizza or anything else? Well, I’d probably leave that until you’re feeling a little better.
For me, the cheese is the thing you should be avoiding the most, no matter what kind of sick you are.
The base is heavy, sure, but cheese is fatty, and mixing fat with any sort of illness isn’t a good idea because it can lead to a worsening of symptoms – everything from a stuffy head to a sick stomach can get worse with very fatty foods like cheese.
So, if you’re making pizza at home when sick, just leave off the cheese. It’s how most Italians prefer it anyway, and you can make a really delicious, healthy vegan pizza that’s going to be way better for you than some of the heavier, cheesy options.
If you’re a meat eater, then there’s no harm in having a few meat toppings on there, but again, I’d just exercise some common sense before picking them.
Spicy beef? Probably best you leave it off. Some lean grilled chicken? That’s a much better option.
Other examples of meats I’d avoid when sick include toppings like:
- Spicy meat of any kind
- Briskets (especially in BBQ sauces)
- Any meat in additional sauce, for that matter
So, Should I Eat Pizza When Sick?
After all that, do you guys feel as confused as I do? Great, at least it isn’t just me. It’s a really difficult topic to give a definitive answer to, though, because it depends on so many different factors. So, all I can really tell you is what I’d do.
If I had active symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, I wouldn’t eat anything at all until it had stopped.
If I felt a little better after a while but was questioning whether a pizza was a good idea, I’d give it a miss.
But if I only had mild symptoms, or pizza was all my body was crying out for, then sure, I’d eat pizza when I’m sick.
Just use common sense, opt for a healthier option if possible, and try to keep things as light as possible (avoiding overly spicy food too, of course) and you should be absolutely OK to eat pizza when you’re sick!