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5 Foods that Can Help You Feel Better When You’re Sick with a Cold or the Flu

Sick young woman eating broth at a table.

Dealing with all the symptoms of the flu is hard enough without thinking about food, but eating is an important part of your recovery. It's important to keep yourself fed and hydrated so that your body can concentrate on getting better! Some symptoms of the flu like sore throats, fatigue, and nausea can make regular meal times an issue. Read on and explore some easy foods that can help you feel better when you have a cold or the flu.


1. Chicken Soup


Chicken soup may be the most classic food for any sickness, including the flu. Chicken soup is warm, soothing, and nourishing—chicken is a source of iron and carrots, celery, and herbs provide additional nutrients.i You can also make this soup vegetarian simply by omitting the chicken and using vegetable stock. Both delicious versions will help keep your body hydrated.

2. Leafy Greens


Salad might not be the first dish that comes to mind when you think about foods for the flu. However, leafy greens like spinach and kale both contain vitamin C and vitamin E that are needed for your immune system to function properly.ii Consider blending kale or spinach with fruit into a refreshing smoothie.

3. Liquids


Staying hydrated when you have a cold or the flu is essential! Consuming plenty of liquids, like a warm cup of tea, is a great way to help support your body’s healing process. The heat and liquid itself can help relax your throat and keep you hydrated. Water is the best thing to drink, but you can also try herbal teas with honey, 100% fruit juice with no added sugar, and broth.iii

4. Ice Pops


Ice pops, or frozen fruit juice, are another food good for your cold and flu symptoms. While they can't directly help you heal, this icy treat can cool down a scratchy, irritated throat from coughing all day. Try making your own ice pops with 100% fruit juice or get some from your local grocery store.

5. Oatmeal


While oatmeal is a fairly plain option, it gets the job done. Sometimes you need something quick and simple if you're too tired, queasy or don't have much of an appetite. Top your whole grain with peanut butter or fresh fruit for a tasty bowl of vitamin E, antioxidants, and beta-glucan fiber.iv

All of the above are useful for when you're sick with a cold or the flu, but some foods can harm more than help. Foods to avoid while you have a cold or the flu include processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and hard foods that can irritate a sore throat. These can upset a delicate stomach and keep you from resting properly. To get more help dealing with flu symptoms than foods that help with the flu can provide, look to Theraflu products like Theraflu ExpressMax or Theraflu Flu & Sore Throat Hot Liquid Powder.

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