A balanced diet can boost your immune system and help prevent you from getting sick, but if you happen to catch a cold, or worse, the flu, a healthy diet is essential in helping you recover faster. Here are the foods you should be eating when you’re sick.
- Beverages – Lots of Them: You may not feel like eating solid foods, but make sure to take in plenty of fluids. All-natural ginger ale and peppermint or ginger tea are good choices if you have an upset stomach, and electrolyte-infused beverages are a good option if you’ve been visiting the bathroom a lot. Real fruit juices like OJ, grapefruit, and apple cider will offer calories and nutrients to help feelings of dizziness from not eating, but if you have a stuffy nose, choose hot liquids such as tea with lemon or our apple cider vinegar brew.
Some other options: Green tea supports the immune system, and if you add a little honey, it will also coat your scratchy throat. Cold-pressed green juice is an easy way to get a huge amount of needed cold-busting nutrients.
- Easily Digestible Protein: Getting enough protein is important whether you are sick or healthy, because it strengthens your body. Since your stomach may not be up for digesting a steak, and you probably don’t have the energy to cook an elaborate meal, choose easily digestible proteins that take little or no time to prepare such as eggs, tofu, or chicken
- Flavonoids in Citrus Fruits: Even though vitamin C may not shorten the duration of your illness, don’t ditch citrus fruits altogether. The soft white skin found on oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes contains flavonoids, which increase immune system activity.
- Infection-Fighting Glutathione: Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to fight infection. It’s found in red, pulpy watermelon and also cruciferous veggies like broccoli, collard greens, kale, and cabbage.
- Soup and Broth: Clear broths like miso, chicken or veggie broth, and beef bouillon will keep you hydrated and are easy to digest if you don’t have much of an appetite. If you are feeling hungry, soups that contain chunks of veggies, whole grains like barley, and some kind of lean protein will also offer added vitamins and nutrients. The hot liquids do double duty by warming the body from chills and also opening up sinus passages to relieve congestion.
- Foods Rich in B6 and B12: Vitamins B6 and B12 are healing nutrients, so get your fill of fish, milk, nutritional yeast, fortified soy milk and cereals, potatoes, spinach, and turkey while you’re under the weather.
- Yogurt: In a German study, the probiotics in yogurt were found to shorten colds and flu by almost two days. Choose ones that contain the bacterial strains Lactobacillus casei or Lactobacillus reuteri, since these two are the ones linked to improving immune response. Greek yogurt is a great option since it also contains at least 10 grams of protein per serving.