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14 Best Foods For Sick Times

Best Foods For Sick Times: The right foods to eat when you’re sick can do so much more than give you energy. They can help you feel better, get better faster, or stay hydrated as you recover.

When you’re under the weather, eating may be one of the last things on your mind. However, the following 14 foods can support your recovery.

1. Chicken soup

Best Foods For Sick Times

Best Foods For Sick Times, Chicken soup has been a go-to for sickness for generations — and for good reason. It’s an easy-to-eat source of vitamins, minerals, calories, and protein, which are nutrients your body may need in larger quantities while you’re recovering from an illness.

Chicken soup is also a rich source of fluid and electrolytes, which are helpful if you’re at risk of dehydration due to diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, or fever.

The soup’s warmth may help reduce congestion, as hot or spicy liquids can be helpful for this.

The chicken in chicken soup also contains the amino acid cysteine. N-acetyl-cysteine, a form of cysteine, breaks apart mucus and has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.

Homemade chicken soup made from bone broth is also rich in collagen and nutrients that may help promote recovery — although there’s not enough research on bone broth’s effects on immune health to back up these claims.

2. Broths

Best Foods For Sick Times

Like chicken soup, broths are excellent sources of fluid and electrolytes that can be helpful when you’re sick. When hot, they may also help relieve sinus congestion.

They’re full of flavor and rich in various nutrients while still being easy on your digestive system.

Additionally, bone broths are rich in collagen and amino acids (building blocks of protein) from animal bones, which may help promote a faster recovery, although research is still lacking.

If you need to follow a salt-restricted diet, choose low sodium or no-salt-added broths if buying premade broths from the grocery store.

3. Garlic

Best Foods For Sick Times

Best Foods For Sick Times, Garlic provides many health benefits and has been used in herbal medicine for centuries.

Test-tube and animal studies have shown garlic to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects.

According to a 2016 study, aged garlic extract supplements may enhance immune function and decrease the severity of colds and the flu.

Adding garlic to food when you’re sick can both add flavor and make your food even more effective at fighting off cold or flu symptoms.

4. Coconut water

cold foods

Best Foods For Sick Times, Coconut water is an ideal beverage to sip on when you’re sick. It’s rich in electrolytes, which need to be replenished along with fluids when you’re vomiting, sweating, having diarrhea, or running a fever.

It also contains a bit of natural sugar from the fruit itself, which can serve as a quick, easy-to-use energy source for your body.

However, one older study found that coconut water causes more bloating than other electrolyte beverages. It might be a good idea to start slowly if you’ve never tried it.

5. Hot tea



Best Foods For Sick Times, Tea is a favorite remedy for many colds and flu symptoms.

Just like chicken soup, hot tea acts as a natural decongestant. The tea needs to be hot to help relieve congestion, but it shouldn’t be so hot that it further irritates your throat.

Although some teas contain caffeine, research suggests that tea doesn’t contribute to dehydration or cause any increased water loss.

This means sipping on tea throughout the day is a great way to stay hydrated while relieving congestion.

Tea also contains polyphenols. These natural substances found in plants may have many possible health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects.

6. Honey

Delicious honey

Best Foods For Sick Times, Honey has some antibacterial properties. People often use it as an antiseptic wound dressing for cuts or burns.

Honey may also stimulate your immune system. Many people use local raw honey to relieve seasonal allergies, but there’s currently limited research to support this.

Additionally, honey may help suppress cough in children. However, it shouldn’t be given to children under 12 months old due to the risk of contamination with botulism-causing bacteria.

7. Ginger

ginger for cold

Ginger is widely used in food, herbal medicine, and home remedies. It’s probably best known for its anti-nausea effects. Studies show it can effectively relieve nausea related to pregnancy and cancer treatment.

So if you’re feeling nauseous or throwing up, ginger is one of the best natural remedies to relieve these symptoms.

Use fresh ginger in cooking, brew some ginger tea, or pick up some ginger ale from the store to get these benefits. Just make sure that whatever you’re using contains real ginger or ginger extract, not just ginger flavor.

8. Spicy foods

spicy foods

Best Foods For Sick Times, Spicy foods like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which causes a hot, burning sensation when touched.

In high enough concentrations, capsaicin can have a desensitizing effect. Pain-relieving gels and patches often include capsaicin.

Many people report that eating spicy foods causes a runny nose, breaking up mucus and clearing out the sinus passages.

While few studies have tested this effect, capsaicin does seem to thin out mucus, making it easier to expel. Some research suggests that nasal capsaicin sprays may help relieve congestion and itching.

However, you should avoid spicy foods if you already have an upset stomach. Studies show that spicy food can cause bloating, pain, and nausea in some people.

9. Bananas


Bananas are a great food to eat when you’re sick. They’re soft and bland but rich in nutrients and fast-acting carbs. The potassium in bananas can also help replenish your electrolyte stores since potassium is one of the key electrolytes your body needs.

Another benefit of bananas is the soluble fiber they contain. Soluble fiber becomes a gel in the presence of liquid, so it can help reverse diarrhea by reducing the amount of free water in your digestive tract.

10. Oatmeal


Best Foods For Sick Times, Like bananas, oatmeal is bland and easy to eat but also provides calories, vitamins, and minerals you need when you’re sick.

A 2021 research review suggests that oats may help boost your immune system and aid digestion. Still, more research is needed.

Instead of buying artificially flavored oatmeal with lots of added sugar, consider adding a small amount of honey or fruit to rolled or steel-cut oats for even more health benefits.

11. Carrots


Carrots may be added to broths or soups for flavoring, but they can be helpful for the immune system as a bonus. The root vegetable contains beta carotene, which is a vitamin A carotenoid. Vitamin A helps with immune system functioning.

You can snack on raw carrots, drink carrot juice, or add a few more to a soup or while making broth.

12. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea

Best Foods For Sick Times, A hot cup of chamomile tea may positively impact sleeplessness, which can help you feel better quickly.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Researchers also found that chamomile is a helpful antioxidant. That is due to chemicals found in the herb called flavonoids. Flavonoids—also found in apples, kale, and onion—have anti-inflammatory properties that help you feel better when you’re sick.

Sip the drink hot or iced, or use steeped chamomile tea as a liquid base for smoothies or oatmeal.

13. Cherries


The high-antioxidant properties in tart and sweet cherries are due to their high vitamin C content. Although foods containing vitamin C do not prevent you from catching a cold, they can help ease your symptoms if you become sick.

Additionally, cherries support healthy sleep due to their natural melatonin content. Restful sleep is key to fighting off viruses and bacteria that make us sick. A lack of sleep can weaken your immune system.

Try dried tart cherries—or stir some into nut butter—to enjoy as a snack.

14. Citrus Fruits

Various citrus fruits

Best Foods For Sick Times, Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes contain vitamin C and folate. These two nutrients can help support your immune system function.

Besides consuming orange juice, you might consider adding lemon or lime juice to water. Eating oranges or other citrus fruits can also be helpful.

Also Read:

6 Impressive Health Benefits Of Spinach, The Original Favorite Super-Green

Top 10 High Fiber Foods

The 12 Best Herbs and Spices for Better Health

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