It can be hard to know what to eat when you're sick. That’s especially true if you have no energy, no appetite, or can’t keep anything down. Here is your go-to list to have on hand when you don’t feel well.
Fruits high in vitamin C, like oranges and grapefruits, make a great choice when you’re not feeling well. Especially when you have a cold, vitamin C can help reduce the severity and duration of your symptoms. If you have a stomach bug, acidic citrus fruits can irritate your stomach, so you might want to avoid them. Other fruits are packed with vitamins, fiber, and fluids, which are also crucial for healing when you aren’t feeling well.
The same goes for vegetables, which are also packed with nutrients you need to feel better. And many vegetables are high in vitamin C, too, like potatoes. Add as many fresh veggies as possible to your meal when you’re not well to help get you on the mend.
Fluids aren’t technically food, but they’re extra important when you’re sick. Dehydration is one of the most significant issues when you have the flu, vomiting, or diarrhea. We get a large portion of our fluids from the food we eat, so even if you have a loss of appetite, you might get dehydrated. Drink water, Gatorade, orange juice, or tea if you can. But avoid sugary sodas if possible, and try to keep caffeine to a minimum.
If you were a picky eater as a kid, you’re probably familiar with the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. You don’t have to follow that to the letter to get the idea. When your stomach is upset, simple, beige foods are sometimes all you can keep down. This type of food goes easy on a turbulent stomach while also providing some nutrition.
Chicken noodle soup to help you feel better isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Studies have shown that it can help you feel better when you’re sick. Add on the fact that its high water content helps to rehydrate you, steamy broth can ease congestion, and soup of any kind can be beneficial if you’re unwell.
When you have the stomach flu, ginger is one ingredient to pull out of your cupboard. Studies show its strong ability to help reduce nausea and vomiting. Try it in tea or even pick up some capsules from the pharmacy.
Honey has natural antibacterial properties and, added to tea, can offer an easy home remedy to soothe sore throats. It’s also anti-inflammatory, which is essential when you’re sick. Your body uses inflammation to fight disease, but symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and sore throat can cause discomfort. Ingredients like honey can help ease the pain.
If you’re not feeling well, you indeed want to stay away from certain foods if you can. Foods high in sugar can cause more inflammation, which your body already does when you’re sick. And dairy can cause some people to produce more mucus, which might be harmful if you’re dealing with a cold. But if nothing sounds good to you except ice cream, it’s better to eat something than nothing if you’re struggling to keep anything down or have no appetite. Listen to your body, and go easy on yourself.
When you’re not feeling well, you want to have a medical team you can trust. Community Health Partners brings quality, affordable care to clinics in Southwest Montana. Call to make an appointment, and get the care you need.