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Foods to Eat When Sick

Not feeling well? Find some of the best foods and drinks to help feel better.

Feeling ill? Here’s what to eat and drink

When cold and flu symptoms hit hard, you might want to try everything you can to relieve your aches and pains. Fortunately, there is some evidence to support the benefits of eating and drinking certain foods when you’re sick.

If you’re suffering from a bad case of the sniffles or dealing with body aches that just make you want to sleep for days, why not try one of these simple, soothing foods? Read on to learn about some of the benefits of these foods and drinks when you’re sick.

What to Eat and Drink When You’re Sick

1. Soup

Your mom always said chicken soup was good for a cold, and now science may be backing her up! A study from 2000 suggests chicken soup may provide “a mild anti-inflammatory effect” thanks in part to all the vegetables usually added in. Chicken soup also features lots of vitamins, minerals, and protein, providing a good source of liquids and electroylytes.1

2. Green Tea

Tea is a wonderful, warm drink for the colder months, and a few studies on green tea suggest the possibility of preventive effects on influenza, or the flu, and common cold. When choosing a green tea to brew up, make sure to look for something that is as natural and as unprocessed as possible.

3. Beverages in General

If you think you might be dehydrated from sweating out your fever, tap into the power of any type of liquid to help replenish your fluids. Even if you don’t think you’re dehydrated, your cold or flu symptoms might be dehydrating you.1 Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, in addition to beverages with a little bit of sugar, fat, or protein.1

4. Caramelized Veggies

All you need to make this super nutritious, quick dish are a sheet pan and a handful of washed veggies like carrots, onions, peppers, Brussels sprouts, squash, and mushrooms. Roughly chop everything, add seasonings of choice, and roast in the oven until everything turns golden brown. The vitamins and minerals in the vegetables are exactly what your immune system craves, and the delicious caramelized flavor will make you want to eat the entire thing.

5. Oatmeal

Not only is oatmeal simple to make, it is also a nutritious meal, full of quality carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a healthy, comforting option for those dealing with sore throats and a good way to keep your strength up when cold and flu symptoms are wearing you down. When choosing a type of oatmeal, buy a natural, unprocessed brand with as little added sugar as possible.

6. Bland Foods

Have an upset stomach? Sometimes, the more bland the better to avoid triggering any indigestion or gastrointestinal symptoms.1 Consider items from the BRAT diet—bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast—or other bland, unseasoned items. Plain pasta, dry cereals, bread, and crackers are good options as well as plain chicken breast or cheese, if you can tolerate it.

7. Ginger

You may already know this, but ginger has anti-nausea properties.1 Pick up some ginger ale, ginger snap cookies, or ginger tea to help quell your nausea. Crystallized ginger and ginger candy are also easily palatable options.

8. Liquid Foods

If you’re struggling with appetite or regular food is difficult to swallow, choose foods that are mostly liquid.1 This is your chance (or your kids’ chance!) to enjoy some slightly fun options like ice cream, popsicles, Jell-O, or pudding. You might also want to try a smoothie with fresh/frozen fruits. It will provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs as well as hydration.1

Try Some Theraflu

If none of the above food and drinks are doing it for, mix up a packet of Theraflu Daytime Severe Cold & Cough Hot Liquid Powder with hot water. You’ll have a warm and soothing cup of Theraflu that can help power you through the day while temporarily relieving tough symptoms like minor sore throat pain, fever, cough, and sinus congestion.

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