Foods to eat and foods to avoid when you’re ill

When we’re suffering from a cold or the flu, our bodies need more calories than normal to keep functioning. This is because the body works harder when we’re unwell to fight infection and recover.

Foods to eat and foods to avoid when you're ill

Maintaining high energy levels and supporting the immune system through a nutritious diet when you’re ill can help you to feel better and recover quicker.

Foods to eat for cold symptoms

If you are congested and lethargic, keeping hydrated is essential. Try the following foods to get you back to your healthy self:

Broths and soups – Chicken noodle soup in particular is more than an old wives’ tale – the chicken has an amino acid called cysteine that helps to thin mucus in the lungs while the broth keeps nasal passages moist, prevents dehydration and helps to fight inflammation of the throat.

Hot teas – Warm liquids can help to soothe a sore throat, alleviate congestion and keep you hydrated. Try antioxidant rich green tea to support the immune system or hot water with lemon.

Spicy foods – Providing you have no stomach symptoms, spicy foods can help to relieve congestion. Try chili peppers or wasabi with healthier dishes rather than gorging on creamy curries.

Foods to eat for stomach symptoms

If you have the flu and are suffering with stomach symptoms, try to eat bland foods that are easy to digest:

Crackers and toast – Simple, bland foods like this will be easy on the stomach. Because they are high-starch foods too, they won’t aggravate the digestive system and can even help to stabalise digestion.

Bananas – If you are dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhoea, bananas can help to replenish lost electrolytes and potassium. They are also nice and easy on digestion and may help to lower body temperature.

Ginger – Helping to soothe nausea, try drinking ginger tea or flat ginger ale to keep you hydrated while easing an upset stomach.

Foods to avoid

The following foods can put the body under excess stress and may make you feel worse:

  • acidic foods
  • foods high in fat
  • foods high in sugar
  • dairy.
Share this article with a friend
Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
Show comments

Find a nutritionist dealing with Healthy eating

All nutrition professionals are verified

All nutrition professionals are verified