Surviving a Head Cold while on the Low FODMAP Diet

Surviving a Head Cold While On the Low FODMAP Diet

We all know that feeling of dread that comes with an impending head cold… The stuffy nose, sinus headaches, congested chest and cough, fever, and a throat that feels like it is being attacked by razor blades. Colds are never pleasant but there are some tips you can use to manage these nasty symptoms while on the low FODMAP diet:

Watch Out For Sneaky FODMAPs In Medications

Step away from the cough mixture and throat lozenges! The last thing you need right now is a dodgy stomach and gastrointestinal distress. Liquid medications, like cough mixture, as well as throat lozenges often contain polyols (sorbitol, isomalt, mannitol, maltitol, erythritol, and xylitol), honey or sometimes fructose, so check the labels carefully when choosing. Look for medications and lozenges that are sweetened with sucrose, glucose, dextrose, sucralose or other low FODMAP sweeteners instead.

Talk To Your Pharmacist

There are some over the counter medications and products that can help reduce your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable.

  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen can reduce fevers and pain from headaches or body aches1 2.
  • Medications containing pseudoephedrine (this medication is restricted in some countries) or phenylephrine hydrochloride can help relieve blocked and runny noses 1.
  • Vapour rubs (like Vicks Vapour Rub) containing menthol and eucalyptus oil can help decongest your stuffy nose1 2. These can either be rubbed into your skin or added to a bowl of steaming hot water (you then breath in the steam to clear your airways).
  • Neti pots or sinus rinse bottles with saline or nasal saline drops can be used to rinse out your sinuses and reduce congestion1 2.

Make sure you talk to your pharmacist about what is right for you. When taking medication follow packet directions & if symptoms persist please see your doctor.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Use a warm compress or facecloth placed over your sinuses to provide gentle relief and ease sinus headaches.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to help moisten and soothe your sore or scratchy throat 1 2.
  • Use an extra pillow under your head to elevate your head as you sleep to help relieve congested nasal passages.
  • Stay hydrated to help keep your throat moist and stop you getting dehydrated1 2.
  • Rest and allow your body to heal1 2.
  • Eat small meals often and nourish your body. Make sure you eat low FODMAP foods and avoid moderate to high FODMAP foods. Viruses can make our digestive system more sensitive, which can lower your FODMAP threshold limits. Eating low FODMAP foods while you are unwell will help limit digestive distress.

 Low FODMAP Cold & Flu Recipes

Soothing Drinks

Homemade cold remedies like traditional lemon, honey and ginger teas are all high FODMAP. Try my soothing maple ginger and lemon hot drink instead.

 Hot Lemon Ginger Maple Drink (Low FODMAP)


Slow Cooked Chicken Soup

Homemade chicken soup is packed full of goodness. Ask a friend or family member to pop a batch on to cook in your slow cooker. Then enjoy some comforting hot soup.

 Low FODMAP Slow Cooker Chicken Soup



Final Thoughts

Hopefully your cold will pass quickly with a combination of low FODMAP medication, nourishing food and rest. Just remember that if you are feeling concerned talk to your doctor or pharmacist about managing your symptoms. Get well soon! 


  1. NHS Choices. Common cold – Treatment. NHS Choices. 2017-01-03. Retrieved from: Retrieved on: 2017-01-03. (Archived by WebCite® at
  2. Mayo Clinic. Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt. Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt. 2017-01-03. Retrieved from: Retrieved on: 2017-01-03. (Archived by WebCite® at

Photo Credit: 'Hands Holding Hot Cup of Tea' by A. and I. Kruk licensed under Shutterstock Standard Image. Edited by A Little Bit Yummy.

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