Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

The foods that you consume can have a strong impact on how fully and quickly you recover from sickness.  Whether you come down with a cold or the flu, your diet can have a distinctly positive or negative impact on your recovery.

The Best:

Soup.  Especially broth-based, soups contain an important amino acid known as cysteine.  This helps thin out mucus in the lungs and maintain moister in the nasal cavity.

Citrus Fruits.  All citrus fruits contain high quantities of vitamin C, an essential when it comes to combating sickness, especially the cold.  Lemons, grapefruits, oranges, and limes contain flavonoids which boost your immune system.

Spicy Foods.  These eye-watering foods are natural decongestants.  Eat chili peppers, wasabi, or horseradish (yum) to relive congestion symptoms.

Vitamins. Vitamins are important to anyone who does not consume enough daily fruits and vegetables.  If you do eat enough fruits and veggies each day, then a multivitamin still couldn’t hurt.

The Worst:

Anything High in Fat or Sugar.  Keep fast food, candy, and dessert items off your plate if you are trying to make a timely and effective recovery from your sickness.  These foods are difficult to digest and can suppress the immune system as well as cause inflammation.

Dairy. Though dairy products are important to one’s long-term diet, consuming large amounts of dairy while sick can actually increase your symptoms.  Milk-based products promote mucus production, which can worsen your congestion.

It is important to note that the body requires a greater caloric intake to recover from sickness effectively.  Especially when you have a fever or infection, your body needs more food to fuel the internal battle.  Also, hydration is especially important when you’re sick.  Keep your energy levels up with healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of sleep to get better as quickly as possible.   

5 thoughts on “Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

  1. There’s definitely some truth to this. I came down with a cold last week and noticed after each meal that I had soup, I felt significantly better. Possibly the worst thing I ate while I was still recovering was a cheeseburger and fries; it made me feel terrible.

  2. I was unaware that dairy was not the best choice while one was sick. I always eat ice cream whenever I’m sick, but I guess I have to stop! Thanks for the heads up!

  3. I always thought that eating a bowl of soup when you’re sick makes you feel better, was a myth. I think this proves me wrong.

  4. While reading through these, a lot of them were very familiar. However, it’s nice to actually understand why you should and should not eat these certain foods.

  5. When I have a cold I always love to have a hot bowl of soup. It always makes me feel better. If I can’t breathe, spicy food always clears out my system and helps me breathe.

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