Sometimes its difficult to eat when you’re sick. When you’re sick, you body is expending energy to make you healthy, eating the right foods is more important than ever.
There are certain foods with powerful properties that can support your body while it’s fighting an illness. They may relieve certain symptoms and even help you heal more quickly.
Here are foods and drinks to eat when you’re sick for quick recovery..
1. Leafy, Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce and kale are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are especially good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. It’s important to get all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs while sick.
Dark green vegetables are also loaded with beneficial plant compounds. These act as antioxidants to protect cells from damage and help fight inflammation. Leafy greens have also been used for their antibacterial properties.
2. Coconut Water
Staying well-hydrated is one of the most important things you can do when sick. Hydration is especially important when you have a fever, sweat a lot or have vomiting or diarrhea, which can cause you to lose a lot of water and electrolytes.
Coconut water is the perfect beverage to sip on when you’re sick. Besides being sweet and flavorful, it contains glucose and the electrolytes needed for re-hydration.
Studies show that coconut water helps you re-hydrate after exercise and mild cases of diarrhea. It also causes less stomach discomfort than similar drinks.
However, one study found that it causes more bloating than other electrolyte beverages. It might be a good idea to begin slowly if you’ve never tried it.
Bananas are a great food to eat when you’re sick. They’re easy to chew and bland in flavor, but also provide a decent amount of calories and nutrients.
For these reasons, they are part of the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) that is often recommended for nausea. Another big benefit of bananas is the soluble fiber they contain. If you have diarrhea, bananas are one of the best foods you can eat because the fiber can help relieve diarrhea.
Yogurt is an excellent drink to take when sick. It provides 150 calories and 8 grams of protein per cup. It’s also cold, which can sooth your throat. Yogurt is also rich in calcium and full of other vitamins and minerals. Some yogurts also contain beneficial probiotics.
Evidence shows that probiotics can help both children and adults get colds less often, heal faster when sick and take fewer antibiotics.
One study found that children taking probiotics felt better an average of two days faster, and their symptoms were about 55% less severe.
It is high in healthy monounsaturated fat, the same type of fat found in olive oil. Avocados are also a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Avocados are a great food when sick because they provide calories, vitamins and minerals that your body needs. They’re also soft, relatively bland and easy to eat. Because of the healthy fats avocados contain, especially oleic acid, they help to decrease inflammation while also playing a role in immune function.
Salmon is one of the best protein sources to eat when sick. It is soft, easy to eat and full of the high-quality protein your body needs. Salmon is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which many people are lacking in. Vitamin D plays a role in immune function.
7. Hot Tea
Tea is a favorite remedy for many symptoms associated with colds and the flu. Just like chicken soup, hot tea acts as a natural decongestant, helping clear the sinuses of mucus. Note that tea needs to be hot to act as a decongestant, but it shouldn’t be so hot that it further irritates your throat.
You don’t need to worry about tea being dehydrating. Although some teas do contain caffeine, the amounts are far too small to cause any increased water loss .
Tea also contains polyphenols, which are natural substances found in plants that may have a large number of health benefits. These range from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action to anti-cancer effects.
Honey has potent antibacterial effects, likely because of its high content of antimicrobial compounds. In fact, it has such strong antibacterial effects that it was used in wound dressings by the ancient Egyptians, and is still used for this purpose today.
Some evidence suggests that honey can also stimulate the immune system. These qualities alone make honey an excellent food to eat when sick, especially if you have a sore throat caused by a bacterial infection.
Many studies show that honey suppresses coughing in children. However, remember that honey should not be given to children under 12 months old.. Mix about half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of honey with a warm glass of milk, water or a cup of tea. This is a hydrating, cough-soothing, antibacterial drink.
9. Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is recommended if you have common cold. It’s an easy-to-eat source of vitamins, minerals, calories and protein, which are nutrients your body needs in larger quantities while you’re sick.
Chicken soup is also an excellent source of fluids and electrolytes, both of which are necessary for hydration if you’re making frequent trips to the bathroom. Your body will also need even more fluids if you have a fever.
What’s more, one study found chicken soup to be more effective at clearing nasal mucus than any other liquid studied. This means it’s a natural decongestant, perhaps in part because it gives off hot steam.
Chicken soup also inhibits the action of neutrophils, which are white blood cells that may cause symptoms such as coughing and a stuffy nose.
Chicken soup’s ability to inhibit these cells could partially explain why it is so effective against some cold and flu symptoms.
Oatmeal is bland and easy to eat while providing the calories, vitamins and minerals you need when sick. It also contains some protein — about 5 grams in a 1/2 cup.
Oatmeal has some other powerful health benefits, including stimulating the immune system and improving blood sugar control. Avoid buying artificially flavored oatmeal with lots of added sugar. Instead, add a small amount of honey or fruit to provide even more benefits.
Broths are excellent sources of hydration while you’re sick. They’re full of flavor and can contain calories, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, folate and phosphorous.
If you drink them while hot, broths also have the wonderful benefit of acting as a natural decongestant because of the hot steam.
Drinking broth is a good way to stay hydrated, and the rich flavors can help you feel satisfied. This is especially helpful if your stomach is unsettled and you are unable to keep down solid foods.
12. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which causes a hot, burning sensation when touched. When high enough in concentration, capsaicin can have a desensitizing effect and is often used in pain-relieving gels and patches.
Many people report that eating spicy foods causes a runny nose, breaking up mucus and clearing out the sinus passages.
While few studies have tested this effect, capsaicin does seem to thin out mucus, making it easier to expel. Nasal capsaicin sprays have been used with good results to relieve congestion and itching.
Cough relief may be another benefit of capsaicin. One study found that taking capsaicin capsules improved symptoms in people with a chronic cough by making them less sensitive to irritation.
However, to achieve these results, you probably would need to eat spicy food daily for several weeks.