Here’s what to eat and what not to eat when some bug’s got you down. One meal she craves: “A Dave’s Killer Bread Cinnamon Raisin bagel with a little non-dairy butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.” With 11 grams of protein per serving, she feels good knowing she can enjoy a comforting, easy-to-eat food and still reap some nutritional benefits. Looking for smart ways to get more from life? She incorporates chickpeas, lentils, and beans into her meals daily when feeling sick. “Most people don’t realize that potatoes provide vitamin C, an important nutrient for healing, and fiber, a gut-supporting nutrient that can be hard to get your fill of when you’re putting your salads on hold,” says Taub-Dix. Yogurt is abundant in protein, calcium, zinc, B vitamins, and Vitamin D, which can help decrease intestinal malfunction. Some of the best foods you can eat when you have the flu are broth, leafy greens, fruits high in vitamin C, and oatmeal. Water is the best thing you can consume to help you get over the flu. If you have the appetite, add some protein to your potato by topping it with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. “Tea is an absolute must when I’m not feeling well,” says Taub-Dix. Villanueva likes to add honey to tea or hot lemon water—and recommends choosing unfiltered local wildflower honey or Manuka honey, which are best-known for their antimicrobial properties. When you just need something simple, comforting, and easy on your system, Taub-Dix suggests a good ol’ bowl of cereal. Her usual smoothie starts with an almond milk base, plus frozen spinach and banana, and a scoop of almond butter for protein. Foods rich with antioxidants include berries, beans, beets, and leafy greens (and yes, a bit of dark chocolate). “One, called quercetin, may help boost immune function.” An all-around win when you don’t feel well. Not only is cinnamon incredibly warming, but it also possesses cold-fighting properties that make it more useful than a simple seasoning, says Villanueva. Of course, you want to load up on plenty of nutrients, but Taub-Dix also recommends leaning on easy-to-digest carbohydrates. If you want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of cereal, Taub-Dix recommends looking for a brand with at least 5 grams of fiber—and as little sugar as possible—per serving. So when push comes to shove, which is more important? If you have GI symptoms, you may want to limit hard-to-digest foods like cruciferous vegetables, beans and whole grains. Don’t miss a thing by downloading Apple News here and following Prevention. “Though we all eat differently when we’re ill, the last thing we want is to make our body work hard to break down our food, so keeping it simple is king,” says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. Is the Common Cold Caused by a Coronavirus? Besides being sweet and flavorful, it contains glucose and the electrolytes needed for re-hydration. Alcohol is dehydrating and may inhibit your immune system, so if you start feeling sick, skip the booze and replace it with something hydrating. "Food is not as important as hydration during the acutely ill period," Cheng says. One perk in particular: Ginger can ease nausea, a common woe associated with the flu, Villanueva says. Subscriber Legumes are packed with the mineral zinc, which plays an important role in immune function—and can even help relieve cold and flu symptoms, says Villanueva. “One of the best holistic flu remedies out there, the benefits of ginger for cold and flu can be traced back to the pages of ancient philosophies,” says Villanueva. This might help flu sufferers who are experiencing nausea or vomiting. When you're sick with the flu, it's no fun trying to figure out what to eat and drink. Lauren Del Turco is a writer, editor, and social media/content manager, who has contributed to Men's Health, Women's Health, The Vitamin Shoppe, and more. So, how do doctors and dietitians nourish themselves when they’re sick? Villanueva loads up her soups with onions and garlic, which both offer unique health perks. Like what you see here? Yogurt is abundant in vitamins that can help decrease intestinal malfunction, which might help flu sufferers who are experiencing nausea or vomiting. “Elderberries have antiviral properties and may help to shorten the length of a cold,” he says. Now we know that ginger contains a number of active compounds (like gingerol) that support our overall health and well-being. That's off-limits as well. “Maybe it’s because they remind me of childhood, or maybe it’s because they settle easier than other foods, but I crave breakfast foods when I’m sick,” says Caspero. Like what you just read? What Adults 50+ Need to Know About the Flu Shot, Where to Get the Flu Shot for the 2020 Season, Here’s the Best Time to Get Your Flu Shot. You can sip elderberry syrup straight or add it to yogurt or oatmeal. Beware, though if you have a medical condition that requires you to be on a low-sodium diet. She suggests sipping on a cup of cinnamon tea two or three times a day when you have a cold. It also contains a number of probiotics, which promote healthy digestion. Caspero relies on simple, digestible foods—like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast—when she’s sick. Oh, and we’re on Instagram too. Charles Peters, MD, of the Mayo Clinic Health System, recommends these foods: Broth and chicken soup contain significant amounts of sodium, which is a type of electrolyte that can help your body stay hydrated by making you retain water. “If I’ve had any stomach trouble, I choose almond milk over dairy milk for easy digestion,” she says. Villanueva likes to add fresh citrus juice (or even the essential oils of citrus fruits) to hot tea when she doesn’t feel well—especially if she’s dealing with lots of phlegm. Some of the best foods you can eat when you have the flu are broth, leafy greens, fruits high in vitamin C, and oatmeal. “It also acts as a cough suppressant and helps heal a sore throat.”. Large amounts of sugar can cause diarrhea, which will only dehydrate you more. That's why, in addition to water, you should eat food to replenish what you've lost. Coconut water is the perfect beverage to sip on when you’re sick. Preliminary studies suggest that some other promising remedies include garlic and ginseng, but more scientific evidence is needed for definitive proof that these remedies work for most people. “Nothing provides as much comfort as a steamy mug.” Soothing quality aside, tea also helps you get in all of the fluids you need—especially if you have a fever or any stomach upset, she says. Another easy-to-digest carbohydrate, baked potatoes (whether white or sweet) are another great base for an under-the-weather meal. Broth is probably the best (and easiest) thing for you to eat when you’re experiencing flu symptoms. You better believe chicken soup is as good for the body as it is for the soul! Not only is it easy for you to eat (let’s face it, that nausea can make it hard to eat anything), but it’s nutritional. The warmth also does wonders for an achy, sore throat. Plus, the yogurt adds protein and fat, transforming the blend into a meal when you don’t really feel like eating. You can also get the antioxidant glutathione, which appears to help fight infections, from these foods: Plus, “green tea, in particular, contains all sorts of beneficial compounds,” explains Ryan D. Andrews, RD, CSCS, author of A Guide to Plant-Based Eating. Alex Caspero, RD, also turns to smoothies when she doesn’t feel so hot. When you're sick with the flu, you might not feel like doing anything, including eating or drinking. While supplements can help, your body can absorb nutrients like vitamin C more effectively from the foods you eat. “Honey’s antibacterial properties can have a variety of positive effects in fighting a cold or flu,” explains holistic health practitioner, Elena Villanueva, DC, founder of Modern Holistic Health. Caspero recommends Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal, which has a smooth, creamy texture. Nelligan says to avoid drinks like soda, sports drinks, and juice because of their high sugar content. “Just stick with a homemade version to to avoid harmful chemicals and inflammatory additives that are often found in pre-made canned soups.”. The fiber in oatmeal can alleviate stomach and intestinal problems. Here’s What Sugar Really Does to Your Brain, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. “One of my favorite sick-day meals is a big bowl of oatmeal with freshly grated ginger and a drizzle of honey.”. Perhaps an obvious—but still worthwhile—choice, citrus fruits like lime, lemon, and oranges are rich in vitamin C, a powerhouse antioxidant many of us load up on when we’re sick (or even feel something coming on). Why trust us? From potatoes to oatmeal, easy-to-digest carbs will be your best friend when you have a cold or flu. Caffeine can cause headaches and jitteriness, which can make you feel worse, especially if you are combining it with over-the-counter cold and flu medications.


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