Being sick is not fun, time seems to slow down, and you can’t help but count the days- which seem like weeks- until you get better. To help you with the latter aspect, we break it down for you as we highlight what to eat and what not to eat when you’re sick. Take a look:
What to Eat When You’re Sick
Let’s start with those healing foods that dieticians and moms around the world have given the green light of approval:
1) Chicken soup
You certainly saw this one coming. A soup that has become a household name and the general rule of thumb for parents nursing their sick children for decades, it is desirable for its electrolytes, healthy fluids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and calories. Moreover, chicken soup is an adept tool for clearing clogged nasal cavities.
If chicken is not among your preferences, then broth is the next best thing. It avails a plethora of essential minerals and nutrients while, more importantly, providing the right amount of fluids to battle dehydration.
The uses of garlic extend beyond vanquishing vampires in movies, with it substantiated to give a failing immune system that extra push it needs to get going. Garlic is highly desirable for its anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial capabilities.
4) Coconut water
As you’ve probably noticed by now, keeping hydrated is an integral part of recovery. Coconut water provides yet another bountiful composition of electrolytic fluids to offset the effects of diarrhoea, vomiting, sweating, and fevers. It’s also easy on the taste buds as well.
5) Hot tea
Hot tea burns you a path to restoration by easing decongestion in a similar way to how chicken soup works. Additionally, tea has compounds such as polyphenols which are thought to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, and antioxidation benefits.
Fewer things are sweeter than honey, which is especially useful when your throat is flaring up from a cold. Honey is believed to not only catalyze the action of the immune system to fight back against whatever is keeping you down but also has strong antibacterial traits.
If you’re occasionally feeling dizzy accompanied by a constant urge to vomit, ginger can put a lid on that bottle. Aside from alleviating nausea, its antioxidation and anti-inflammatory properties ensure it holds many more benefits beyond that. Probably my favourite and also what a recommend to all my clients.
8) Spicy foods
When flu comes knocking, it’s time to turn up the heat quite literally. Any food that instigates a burning sensation upon contact is considered as spicy, and that entails chilli peppers and any fruit or vegetable with capsaicin constituents. Capsaicin eases itching and congestion.
Bananas have soluble fibre that counters symptoms such as diarrhoea while also providing a generous amount of nutrients and calories. They are also easy to chew and work wonders for persistent nausea.
Much like its predecessor on this list, cereal isn’t strenuous on the tongue. Besides that, it holds a significant amount of proteins and can circumvent boating, cramping, and diarrhoea. Be sure to stick with oatmeal free of added sugar.
What Not to Eat When You’re Sick
Now that we’ve seen what’s on one side of the diet coin, it’s only fair we also take a look at the other. Consequently, here’s a list of foods you should avoid like the plague when you’re sick:
1) Refined sugar
When your body is not entirely up to speed, such kinds of sugars only lengthen the recovery period. Refined sugar can alter the effectiveness of your body’s immune system slowing down the functioning of white blood cells. What’s more, it can also trigger bodily inflammation. So popsicles and ice creams, which have loads of the compound, are therefore out of the question for the time being.
Alcohol is at the top of the blacklist regardless of the illness you have. Its ability to trigger massive dehydration makes it particularly unsuitable for those with the chills. Moreover, alcohol can also get in the way of any medication you’re on.
3) Acidic foods
Be sure to also check off your menu overly acidic foods such as tomato soup and orange juice, especially if you’re experiencing nausea. The acidity can hurt your throat if you throw up.
4) Canned soup and saltines
Often a go-to for the sick, you should be steering clear of canned soups because of their usually high sodium concentration. In the same breath, say no to saltine crackers whose abundance of soybean oil and fructose corn syrup doesn’t bode well for a sickly body.
5) Junk food
Forget the burgers, the fries, and whatever else that makes up greasy junk food. These foods are rich in pro-inflammatory fats, which means that they can worsen any inflammations you already have, leading to significant discomfort.
Watch the toast, French or otherwise. It’s undoubtedly a quick remedy for an unsettled stomach, but its coarse texture isn’t too kind on a sore throat. Generally, avoid anything with a scratchy and dry exterior as these can increase throat irritation.
Aside from plain yoghurt, your condition dictates that cheese, ice cream, milk, among other dairy products should have no place on your table. They worsen congestion and will only increase the severity of the flu or cold.
8) Sports drinks
It’s a common belief that sports drinks are a great way to manage as they replenish dwindling electrolytic supplies however they come with a steep sugary price to pay. Avoid sugary drinks altogether and that also means sodas.
The caffeine in coffee considerably increases your trips to the bathroom, hence worsening your dehydration. It can also strengthen the severity of vomiting and diarrhoea, so its best you keep off it for a while.
10) Processed foods
Anything out of a factory’s conveyor belt will also do you more harm than good so it if it comes in a package, stash it in a dark cabinet somewhere for later. The artificial colouring, preservatives, and synthesized flavours won’t do a running nose any good.
Parting shot: Won’t I gain weight?
It’s a valid concern that with increased food intake, you are bound to be worried about putting on some weight. However, weight gain depends on calories rather than the type of food. Sometimes low or fat-free foods have loads of calories compared to high-fat alternatives, so keep that mind and do your homework first before outrightly terming any food as bad.
Like gas to a stove, food is the fuel that runs our physiological functions, one of those being battling diseases to keep us healthy. If you work your way around your menu with the dos and don’ts above guiding you all the way, you’ll be back to health in no time. We will suggest you to download our free sustainable fitness guide and watch our free masterclass to learn how to lose weight and sustain your results.