The list of foods to eat when you are sick must include those that help us hydrate well, give us nutrition, and aid recovery.

Be it a cold or cough, an upset stomach or a fever, eating is generally the last thing that we tend to focus on when we are sick. However, it is imperative that in such times we eat well, as this will help our bodies recover faster. Before you load up your plates, remember that it is important to know the right kind of foods to eat when you are sick.

The right foods would ideally help you feel better, giving you more energy. This food must not be heavy in carbohydrates, loaded with fat or calories, as that might make you sicker.

What to keep in mind while choosing foods to eat we are sick?

Being sick can make the simplest tasks feel challenging, and one area that often takes a hit is nutrition. Dietician Garima Goyal shares some guidelines to consider when deciding what foods to eat when we are sick.

1. Stay hydrated

Water, herbal teas, and clear broths help maintain fluid balance, soothe a sore throat, and prevent dehydration. Consider sipping on electrolyte-rich beverages to replenish essential minerals lost due to fever or sweating.

2. Choose easily digestible foods

When you’re not feeling well, the focus should be on easily digestible foods. Think plain and simple meals that won’t strain your digestive system. Classic examples include plain rice, boiled potatoes, and bananas. These foods provide energy without overtaxing your body.

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3. Prioritise nutrient-rich options

Even when dealing with a reduced appetite, aim for nutrient-dense choices. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals support your immune system and aid in the healing process. Opt for fruits, vegetables and lean proteins to provide essential nutrients.

Bowl of pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of nutrition, especially when you are sick. Image courtesy: Freepik

4. Consider warm and comfort food

Warm broths and soups are not only comforting but also provide hydration and nutrition. Chicken soup, in particular, is a timeless remedy known for its ability to soothe symptoms of respiratory infections. The warmth can help ease congestion, and the broth provides much-needed fluids.

5. Avoid heavy, spicy and fatty foods

During illness, it is advisable to steer clear of heavy, spicy, or fatty foods. These can be harder to digest and may exacerbate nausea or digestive discomfort. Instead, focus on mild, bland options that are easy on the stomach.

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6. Consume smaller, frequent meals

Consider breaking your meals into smaller, more frequent portions. This approach can be gentler on your digestive system, making it easier for your body to process and absorb nutrients. It’s a practical way to ensure you’re getting the necessary calories and nutrients without overwhelming your system.

7. Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body’s signals. If a particular food worsens your symptoms or doesn’t sit well, avoid it. Trust your instincts and adjust your diet accordingly. Each person reacts differently to illness, so tailor your food choices to what feels right for you.

15 foods to eat when you are sick

1. Chicken soup

Chicken contains amino acids like cysteine, which can thin mucus and help in reducing inflammation. The broth provides hydration and the warmth can soothe the throat. Nutrient-rich broth offers vitamins and minerals necessary for healing.

2. Ginger tea

Ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, supporting the immune system. It helps to alleviates nausea, aids digestion, and can ease an upset stomach. The warmth of ginger tea is soothing and helps reduce inflammation in the body.

3. Bananas

Rich in vitamin C and B6, bananas are crucial for immune function. These are easily digestible and gentle on the stomach. Bananas provide essential nutrients, including potassium, and helps maintain electrolyte balance.

4. Yogurt

Probiotics in yogurt support the gut microbiota, influencing immune response. Live cultures aid digestion and promote a healthy gut environment. Protein content supports muscle repair, crucial during recovery.

5. Oatmeal

Beta-glucans in oats can enhance immune response. Complex carbohydrates provide a steady release of energy, aiding digestion. Oatmeal can be easily consumed, offering comfort and sustained energy.

6. Honey

Honey contains antioxidants that may help boost the immune system. It soothes a sore throat and acts as a natural cough suppressant. Honey provides natural sugars for energy and has antimicrobial properties.

7. Applesauce

Applesauce contains vitamin C and antioxidants. It is easy to digest and suitable for those with digestive issues. It also provides energy and hydration.

A plate of broccoli
Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, and helps when you are sick. Image courtesy: Freepik

8. Broccoli

This is one of the best foods to eat when you are sick. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that support immune health. The fiber content aids digestion and promotes gut health. It is nutrient-dense, offering a variety of vitamins and minerals.

9. Rice

Rice is one of the easiest and best foods to eat when you are sick. It provides energy and B vitamins important for immune function. It is easily digestible, making it suitable for an upset stomach. Since it is simple and bland, it eases digestion and provides essential nutrients.

Also Read: Ginger and nuts: 5 best foods to stay fit during monsoon

10. Carrot soup

Carrot soup is high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, supporting immune function. It is easy to digest, and the warmth can be comforting. It supports overall health and immune function.

11. Salmon

Salmon is another popular food to eat when you are sick. It has omega-3 fatty acids, that have anti-inflammatory effects, and support the immune system. The protein aids muscle repair and supports overall recovery. Salmon provides essential nutrients, including vitamin D and selenium.

12. Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the yummiest and best foods to eat when you are sick. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. They are easily digestible and provides a simple source of energy. This is comforting and helps satisfy hunger without being too heavy on the stomach.

13. Pumpkin seeds

These might look tiny, but is a good superfood to consume when you are sick. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which is essential for immune system function and overall recovery. They also have healthy fats and fibre that support digestion.

14. Peppermint tea

Peppermint has antimicrobial properties. It relieves nausea and supports digestion. It soothes the stomach discomfort, making it easier to consume fluids.

15. Avocado

The healthy fats in avocado aid nutrient absorption and digestion. It is rich in vitamins C, E, and B-6, supporting immune function. It provides sustained energy and supports overall health.

It is best to consult with your healthcare provider to check if any food items or eating habits may interfere with your specific health condition.

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