Updated: July 8, 2015.
As most of us know, being sick is absolutely no fun, and if you’re like anyone, you’ll want to get over it as soon as possible. The only way to recuperate from common sicknesses like the cold, the flu, or some other virus, is to get plenty of rest, to drink lots of fluids, and to eat the right foods so that your body restores itself naturally.
Here are a few common foods you should eat while you’re sick, and while you’re in the process of getting better.
1. Chicken and other Clear Broth Soups.
This one is probably a no-brainer for many of us, since everyone always associates the cold or flu with chicken soup. The reason that soups are so good for you when you’re sick is that they contain lots of fluid and some sodium that restores much of the fluid you lose after being sick. Chicken serves as a good protein, and noodles are great for giving you energy after you’ve been drained from the cold or flu.
2. Toast or Crackers
Although toast or crackers may seem like fairly boring foods, it’s best to consume foods that are bland when your stomach is relatively weak. Paired with soup, toast and crackers can add that perfect crunchiness to a uniformly liquid diet.
Bananas are great when you’re sick because, like toast, it’s easy to digest. Bananas are also easy to chew and they’re loaded with vitamins and, more importantly, potassium, that will give your immune system a very much needed boost to aid your body as it recovers.
4. Cottage Cheese
You’ve likely lost quite a bit of weight when you’ve been sick, and your muscles are probably sore and emaciated. This is why consuming protein is especially important. Easy-to-eat proteins like cottage cheese and eggs are probably your best choices, simply because your stomach and digestive system won’t be able to handle steak and other tougher sources of protein as easily.
5. Fruits High in Vitamin C
The stronger your immune system is, the faster you’ll recover from a bout of sickness, whether it’s a cold, the flu, a stomach virus, etc. High vitamin C intake is absolutely instrumental in strengthening your immune system. While taking vitamin C supplements is good, it’s much better to get vitamin C straight from the source since your body will absorb it better this way. Fruits are usually the best choice.
Some examples include oranges, grapefruits, melons, black currants, strawberries, and cherries.
Experts suggest that yogurt may be just the thing you need when you are trying to fight off a cold or flu virus. The probiotics that yogurt contains specifically helps to fight disease and create higher white blood cell count. It’s also packed with protein, needs no preparation, and is easily digested by the stomach.
Aside from being an absolutely yummy food that reminds you of your childhood and the comforts of home, applesauce is packed with antioxidants and fiber. It also contains many flavonoids, which act as anti-inflammatory agents. This is especially helpful when you are sick, since anti-inflammation can help ease muscle and joint pain from high fevers and lying down all day.
Though it may not sound like something particularly healthy, popsicles can serve as the perfect comfort food, which can ease the pain caused by a sore throat. They will also help you get more fluids in your body, since drinking water, Gatorade, or fruit juice all day can become a bit tiring when you’re drinking all day.
Just be sure to read the labels on the popsicles—purchase the kind made from 100% fruit juice, so that you aren’t just eating frozen sugar water.
Of course, none of these foods listed will necessarily cure what ails you. But having each of these in moderation, coupled with lots of sleep, liquids, and a bit of fresh air, will help you get better faster. Having these foods and making it a point to rest will get you back on your feet and back to work or school in no time! Good luck!