When you’re sick, proper nutrition is very important, since it can mean the difference between helping your immune system fight the infection quicker and your body get over the symptoms or putting an obstacle in the way of your recovery.
Check out a few of the best foods to eat when sick, whether you’re dealing with a fever, a stomach flu, a cold, or even allergies. They can boost your immunity or soothe your stomach, helping you recover faster. Forget about “starving a cold”, and make sure that you give your body all the right nutrients.
Soups are the best homemade cold and flu remedy. With anti-inflammatory properties, a warm bowl of chicken soup can help with congestion, while also keeping you hydrated when you’re sick. It’s all thanks to cysteine, an amino acid found in chicken, which can make a big difference when you’re dealing with a respiratory infection.
Toast and Crackers
For a stomach bug, with symptoms ranging from vomiting to diarrhea, crackers and toast are definitely among the best foods to eat when sick. Even if the thought of a plain cracker is making you feel nauseous, it’s important to get some food down. These high-starch foods go easy on your stomach and can help fight indigestion.
While a lot of vitamin C can certainly help when you’re dealing with a cold or the flu, oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are useful for a more important reason. Flavonoids found in the white skin of citrus fruit are very beneficial to your immune system, so it’s better to eat the whole fruit (after peeling it), instead of just its juice.
Whether your stomach issue is indigestion or a stomach glue, bananas are one of the best foods to eat when sick. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration, but also deplete your body of electrolytes. Bananas are rich in potassium, and they’re also easy on your stomach, just make sure that they’re ripe and not green.
A great food for indigestion and heartburn, cottage cheese can offer easily digestible protein which keeps your body nourished and aids your recovery. It’s also rich in calcium, which is used in many heartburn medication. Go for low fat cottage cheese if you’re also dealing with diarrhea, since your digestive system will recover faster if you avoid fatty foods.
More: Foods to Avoid if You Can’t Go
Fibers are great for your digestive track most of the time, but not when you’re having an upset stomach or dealing with indigestion. White rice is one of the best foods to eat when sick if most of the symptoms are related to your stomach. It’s also recommended for fighting diarrhea. If you’ve already vomited multiple times, keep the rice very simple, just boil it and add a touch of salt to make it less bland.
While spicy foods are definitely not recommended when you’re having stomach problem, they can help fight the symptoms of the common cold and the flu. From chili peppers and horseradish to wasabi, really spicy foods work wonders as decongestants, improving your breathing and relieving other symptoms associated with a stuffy nose, including migraines.
Another great option for an upset stomach, applesauce delivers the right amount of nutrients without making your digestive track work extra hard to break them down. Even if you’re feeling like your energy levels are really low, avoid applesauce with a high sugar content. The unsweetened one is one of the best foods to eat when sick, because it’s easier to digest, making it more effective in your recovery, along with rice, bananas and crackers or toast.
Probably the best food for allergies, kale has excellent flavonoids which help fight the symptoms of allergy. It’s a true anti-inflammatory food, so snack on it when you’re dealing with allergies.
Just as effective as the best foods to eat when sick, green tea is definitely a drink that help both when you’re dealing with flu-like symptoms and when you’re struggling with indigestion. It’s especially useful when you’ve got a fever caused by an infection, because it delivers important antioxidants.