Summer’s not over yet, but the cold weather will soon be coming. Be prepared by knowing what to eat and not eat when you’re sick.
During times of winter and cold weather, we all have a greater tendency to get sick. Being sick is miserable and throws off our schedules and routine. Of course, eating optimally and getting proper exercise helps keep immunity strong, but, on occasion, we fall victim to the sick bug. When this happens, the last thing you want is to eat something that will make you feel worse. When you’re ill, there are some particularly good foods to eat and some important ones to avoid in order to get back on your feet as quickly as possible!
Best Foods for Cold-Like Symptoms:
When sick with cold-like symptoms, an increased amount of water and other healthy, clean fluids is important to help the body flush the toxins out and to keep the circulation and lymph systems properly functioning.
Broth or Broth-Based Soup
Broth, especially when homemade, or a soup such as a (homemade) noodle soup, is an excellent choice for helping with symptoms of a cold. Vegetable broth contains elements that help to fight mucus in the lungs, the heat of the broth helps to keep the nasal canal moist; it helps to keep the body properly hydrated and provides a lot of nutrients, many of which are anti-inflammatory. Broth also soothes a sore throat and can decrease congestion.
Hot Herbal Tea
Tea, particularly herbal, also soothes a sore throat, combats congestion, and provides the body with antioxidants and other nutrients that fight infection and other bacteria in the body that contribute to illness.
Fresh citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, and oranges are particularly high in vitamin C, which is especially known for its ability to help fight inflammation and boost the immune system, helping efficiently treat symptoms of the common cold.
Certain spicy foods such as chili peppers, cayenne pepper, or horseradish help our noses run and eyes water, acting as a decongestant.
Especially when consumed in the lightly steamed or roasted state, veggies (particularly deep greens) are a nutrition powerhouse that boost the immune system, and combat illness at the cellular level through nutrition. The better the nutritional status, the stronger and better able the body will be to fight and heal from the bacteria or viral infection.
Best Foods for Stomach Ache Symptoms:
Crackers or Toast
Plain, dry foods such as (100% whole grain) crackers and toast can help alleviate an upset stomach and are also easy to digest, making it a good food choice that won’t further aggravate the stomach.
Bananas are high in potassium, an electrolyte mineral, which is often deficient in times of sickness. Bananas are an easily-digestible way of getting quick nutrition, especially potassium, without upsetting the stomach further.
Ideally consumed fresh or in tea form, ginger is a great food for soothing nausea and vomiting. If taken in tea form, ginger can also help keep the body hydrated.
Important Foods to Avoid When Sick:
Overly Spicy & Acidic Foods
Certain spicy foods can help with congestion, but they can also be rough on an upset stomach, so use them sparingly depending on the type of illness you’re experiencing. Foods such as cayenne pepper, chili pepper, hot sauce, citrus fruits, and other spicy or acidic foods should be avoided if the stomach is feeling upset.
Sweet foods, especially those that are highly processed with added sugars, are one of the worst foods we can eat when sick. Sugar suppresses the immune system and feeds inflammation. All forms of sugar should be minimized when sick, but the worst offenders from processed, added sources should be avoided altogether.
Processed Fatty Foods
Foods that are highly processed and full of unhealthful fats such as burgers, fries, processed dressings, and other sources of trans or processed polyunsaturated fats should always be avoided, but especially when sick. These fats are difficult to digest, feed inflammation, and put more stress on the body, making healing slower.
Highly processed dairy products, especially when sugars, chemicals, colors, and other toxic ingredients have been added, are a terrible food to eat, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. Highly processed dairy is mucus forming, worsens congestion, and can feed inflammation.
All Processed Foods, Especially Meats
Highly processed foods should be minimized or avoided. Within the category of highly processed foods, processed meats should be avoided, particularly when you’re sick. Processed meats are pro-inflammatory, low in nutrition, hard to digest, and can worsen congestion and stomach upset.
Soda Pop, Alcohol & Other Unhealthy Drinks
Soda pop, processed fruit juices, high-sugar coffee drinks, and other such beverages provide little to no nutritional value, are highly processed, and are high in sugars and other chemicals. They put more stress on the body and feed and fuel inflammation, congestion, achiness, and other symptoms of sickness.
Eating naturally and healthily every day is important, but it is especially critical to fuel optimally when feeling sick in order to get back on your feet quickly!
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