What To Eat When You’re Sick + Ways To Maintain A Strong Immune System
With or without a flu vaccine, there are significant ways to prevent and minimize colds and flus. Chief among those ways are to boost your immune system and keep it robust should you contract a cold or flu.
In short, the way to maintain a strong immune system includes:
- Eat a nutritious diet of organic whole foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
- Exercise regularly (outdoors if possible)
- Observe good hygiene
- Abstain from harmful habits: over-eating, consumption of refined sugar and processed foods, smoking, and drinking alcohol in excess
But what do you do when you’ve followed the above practices and still come down with a virus? Here’s what to eat when you’re sick…
What to Eat When You’re Sick with the Intestinal Flu
When it comes to intestinal flu, you really have to “go with your gut” when it comes to eating. Don’t put anything in your stomach that will upset it. If you have diarrhea, avoid solid foods for the most part, or only very easy-to-digest foods in very small quantities.
1. Increase intake of fluids. Water, bone broths, and teas are best. Drinking more fluids provides a moist respiratory tract that repels viral infection and improves the function of white blood cells.3 Conversely, fruit juices and sugary drinks reduce the ability of white blood cells to fight infection.4 Diarrhea and vomiting can dehydrate a person quickly, so drinking more fluids is vital.
2. Follow the BRAT diet. BRAT is an acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.5 These are foods that are bland and easy to digest.
3. Take ginger for nausea. Ginger in the form of tea or a chew is very effective for calming nausea.6
What to Eat When You’re Sick with A Cold
1. Increase intake of fluids. Water, bone broths, and teas are best. Chicken broth boasts the amino acid cysteine that thins mucus, keeps nasal passages moist, and fights inflammation.7
2. Follow a nutritional eating plan of organic whole foods. The research lists so many great foods to eat when fighting a cold that it seems best to simply continue the protocol that best strengthens immunity to fight off a virus.
3. Add herbs and spices. Garlic and onion contain antiviral properties and cayenne pepper (capsaicin) clears sinus passages and relieves pain.8,9
4. Consider supplements. Echinacea, ginseng and black elderberry all offer immune-boosting, antiviral compounds.10
A cold or flu may not be entirely avoidable, but the foods, herbs and supplements listed above can lessen the symptoms and shorten your bout with the virus.