The 7 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

by Jun 8, 2021

What do you crave when you’re sick? like having the common cold or a bacterial infection. If your answer is “anything but food,” then it’s time to rethink what you eat.

Eating the right foods can actually help boost your immune system and help reduce the length of a cold or flu. In this article, we will talk about 7 foods that are great for when you’re feeling under the weather!

So many of us get sick and suddenly lose their appetite, start getting cold symptoms, with the runny nose, sometimes stuffy nose and mostly don’t know what to eat so they feel better. that’s why we created this article to help you!


Full of complex carbs, fiber and protein to keep you feeling full. Plus it’s easy on the stomach, which is a big plus when illness strikes! Add in nuts or fruit for extra flavor. Oatmeal is so rich of nutrients that it can be used as a cold remedy!

Fish with Omega-Rich Oils:

Important fats like omega-rich oils are great for fighting illness because they lower inflammation in the gut, which speeds up recovery time by boosting immunity.


Another food that can be high in calories but rich in probiotics, yogurt packs some serious immune boosting power with its healthy bacteria.

And as long as there are no added sugars involved (like from honey), this makes an excellent meal choice during sickness.

Loaded with probiotics that are good for boosting immunity, yogurt is also high in calcium which helps with muscle contraction during fever spikes. Stay away from sweetened yogurts though!

Ginger tea:

When I’m sick, I crave ginger tea. It’s so comforting and has a nice spicy kick to it that helps clear up my sinuses. Add some honey for sweetness if you want!

Chicken soup:

This is what grandma always gave us when we were feeling under the weather. There are different versions of this but one option would be adding in sweet potatoes or carrots for extra nutrients while keeping chicken broth as your base and building on that with veggies like onions, garlic, celery or whatever else you have at home.

If all else fails though, just buy a can of store bought organic chicken soup!

If you’re feeling well enough to cook, this is an excellent option since it’s comforting and easy on the stomach while providing a hearty dose of carbs that will keep you full for hours! One idea is to warm up some chicken broth with leftover rice and veggies, so tasty when cold weather hits.


Broth soups are great for treating colds, and trust me on this one, just ask anyone who loves cooking with bone broth at home as it’s been shown to help ease a sore throat.

“Hot tea”

It is also great for treating colds – and not just because of the warmth, either! Drinking hot beverages has actually been proven to reduce your risk of catching a cold or other illness by up to a very minimal probability (which means you’ll need less tissues this winter!).

And if that weren’t enough, drinking warm liquids can also make people feel more alert which is especially helpful when you’re feeling exhausted from all these symptoms.

I like switching between herbal teas with my favorite being peppermint since its both warming on top of soothing what feels like an incessant cough in the process but there are lots of options out there so choose something that works best for you.

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Things you might add to your diet while being sick:

whatever diet your following, wether it’s BRAT diet or else, you must take the following instructions into consideration, bland foods have a special role to play already.

  • Magnesium supplement: Studies have found that people who take magnesium supplements tend to experience less severe symptoms than those who don’t get any extra daily intake of magnesium. It can be tough though because side effects include loose stools or diarrhea which might not sound too appealing if you already feel like crap. But just think about how much better you’ll feel at the end!
  • Probiotics: When our gut microbiome isn’t healthy enough (maybe because we’ve been eating too much junk food!), getting sick is more likely to happen. So, when I feel a cold coming on or know that the flu has been going around my office at work, I try and take probiotics daily if not multiple times per day. Also you need a source of vitamin in this case in order to boost the immune response. 
  • Apple cider vinegar: As someone who gets nauseous very easily when sick – I have found apple cider vinegar to help me greatly reduce my nausea symptoms quickly and effectively without medication. It also helps soothe sore throats caused by colds and flu.
  • Garlic: as it is also an herb, garlic has many uses and benefits! ____ For example, it can be used to make a delicious soup that’s great for colds because of its immune boosting properties. It also helps with sore throats as well as the aforementioned inflammation/upset stomach.
  • Olive Oil: when I’m feeling sick, especially if my throat is really sensitive or dry, I’ll take a spoonful of olive oil before bedtime (alongside some warm water) which will help me stay hydrated while providing relief from what feels like intense thirst on top of everything else. And even better yet? The healthy fats in this one food have been shown to reduce inflammation so not only does it help you feel less thirsty but more comfortable in general, making it a must-have to include when you’re sick.
  • Tumeric: very bitter but it’s got a plethora of health benefits. One in particular is that it has anti-inflammatory properties which can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation due to illness, this also means that some supplements like turmeric capsules may be helpful too!
  • Ginger: As mentioned before for ginger tea but also because it’s commonly used as an ingredient in cooking Asian dishes like stir fries. An excellent source of anti-oxcidents.

The spiciness of this root herb stimulates digestion (makes you want to eat!) and helps with nausea while easing inflammation? which can be useful for both sore throats and upset stomachs!

Added to food, ginger can help reduce the symptoms of colds and flu such as nausea or a sore throat. Try adding it into your next meal if you’re feeling under the weather!

What foods to avoid when you’re sick?

The best rule of thumb is not eating anything cold or frozen because it will just further aggravate those achy muscles? so stick out hot soups instead, you don’t need stomach pains!

  • Dairy: It might be tempting to reach for that carton of ice cream when you’re feeling under the weather, but dairy products such as milk and cheese can actually make your symptoms worse.
  • Junk food/ greasy foods: When we’re sick, our appetite may diminish anyway which makes junk foods like chips seem less appealing. But if you do want something crunchy on occasion while suffering from an illness, go with salty nuts rather than greasy potato chips! The salt in these snacks should help reduce inflammation too.
  • Everything fried: fried food is no good news for your stomach, so it’s best to avoid these at all costs. If you think that the mushy texture of soup will be too much for you, try incorporating smoothies into your diet instead!
  • Caffeine: if you’re feeling a little under the weather and need an energy boost, caffeine might not be what you want because as someone who suffers from chronic headaches I can tell you from experience that consuming even small amounts of coffee or tea when sick is a great way to make them feel worse.

Instead opt for decaf drinks like hot chocolate which are rich in antioxidants and should do wonders on those sore muscles? they may also help with nausea.

  • White sugar: the next time you’re feeling under the weather, try to avoid sugar because it will only make matters worse. Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbohydrates are what your body uses for energy, so when you have the flu or some other sickness that makes you feel lethargic, eating something with white sugar in it might not be what your stomach needs.

Instead opt for protein-rich foods such as eggs which can help give an extra boost of energy without taking one away from those battling illness?

  • Alcohol: If it’s the weekend, you might be tempted to order a few drinks at your favorite bar or restaurant. The next day may find you feeling worse than before and should only be used under very rare occasions when one is in dire need of an energy boost. Especially when sick.
  • Coffee: As we mentioned above, Caffeine is bad for you when you’re sick. When the body is functioning at a normal pace, coffee can be an excellent energy source. But if you have the flu or some other sickness like food poisoning, it might just make matters worse and should be avoided for best results.
  • Fruit juices with pulp/ processed citrus fruits juice: These contain high amounts of sugar which will only add to what your body already has in excess when sick so we recommend avoiding these altogether while battling illness. Instead opt for water as often as possible to help flush out toxins that happen to end up on your stomach lining during bouts of vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Nuts/Peanuts: A handful here or there won’t do any harm but they are also quite rich in fat content (which can take your stomach lining and digestion out of whack at a time when you’re already feeling pretty terrible) so we recommend just eating as much healthy vegetables as possible to help ease pressure on the digestive system.
  • Bananas: These are high in potassium which helps with muscle cramps, weakness or stiffness that might come about due to illness (and they also contain good doses of magnesium and vitamin B). Bananas have a bit more natural sugar than what is recommended for those battling sickness but it’s never bad having this type of energy source available if needed. so for this one we might recommend to not eat too much of it.

Lastly, if you have stomach flu, viral infections or flu symptoms in general, we hope this article was useful and happy self care to you!

Related articles:
How to improve water absorption in body
Does coffee cause inflammation?

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