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When you’re sick, eating the right foods is more important than ever. Certain foods have 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.
1. Chicken soup:
Chicken soup has been recommended as a remedy for the common cold for hundreds of years — and for good reason. 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.
2. Hot Tea:
Drinking tea while you’re under the weather can help the body fight off infections, thanks to natural bacteria-fighting compounds in tea. Antibacterial activity of black tea extract against Salmonella serotypes causing enteric fever. Plus, warm liquids can soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion, so drinks like freshly-brewed green tea or hot water with lemon are ideal for staying hydrated while helping out that stuffy nose. Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance.
3. Citrus Fruits:
While vitamin C, found in large amounts in citrus, can’t necessarily cure the common cold, several studies suggest that it can help reduce the length or severity of colds. What’s more, fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes contain flavonoids, which can help boost the immune system and are great for speeding recovery.
4. Spicy Foods:
Spicy foods can make our noses run and our eyes water, but they’re also effective natural decongestants. Eating chili peppers, wasabi, or horseradish can help relieve the symptoms of congestion.
Research has shown that ginger is incredibly effective at preventing and soothing nausea and other gastric ailments (such as constipation, bloating, and vomiting). Drinking ginger tea or flat ginger ale (to avoid disrupting the stomach with carbonation) can help keep you hydrated while also soothing tummy troubles.
The jury’s still out on this one, but many people believe that consuming dairy can promote mucus production, which could worsen congestion when sick. However, current research indicates that this may actually be due to a placebo effect. But regardless of whether or not milk changes how much mucus we actually produce, drinking it can create the feeling of thicker mucus, so if that bothers you, it can’t hurt to avoid milk while sick.
7. 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.
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.
9. 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.
Like bananas, 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. One rat study also showed that beta-glucan, a type of fiber found in oats, helped decrease inflammation in the gut. This could help relieve symptoms such as intestinal cramping, bloating and diarrhea. However, avoid buying artificially flavored oatmeal with lots of added sugar. Instead, add a small amount of honey or fruit to provide even more benefits.
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