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Things to Eat When Ill


When you are sick, sometimes it’s hard to know what to eat. What can you eat that will make you feel better? What should you avoid eating so you don’t make your situation worse? It really depends on your illness, so we’ll address what to eat and what not to eat based on the symptoms you’re experiencing.

**I am not a physician nor am I qualified to give medical advice. Please see your doctor if you are not feeling well or before you start any diet, exercise or wellness program.


For most people, if they stay hydrated, that should be enough if they don’t feel like eating. Some people who have other conditions such as diabetes need to ensure they follow their doctor’s orders.

* Headache – If you have a headache with your cold or flu, there are a few foods that you can incorporate into your diet if you feel well enough. First, make sure you are hydrated with plenty of filtered water. If the water tastes funny right now, try adding some fruit to it such as oranges and lemons. Also, try adding a little caffeine to your liquids. Avoid eating anything inflammatory.

* Sore Throat – If you have a scratchy or sore throat, it can help to suck on all-fruit low-sugar popsicles, veggie broth with lots of garlic, mashed sweet potatoes, chamomile tea with lemon, or anything with ginger. Consider using honey as your sweetener for anyone over two years of age. Any soft food like smoothies, oatmeal, and so forth are good too. You may want to stay away from dairy right now, though.

* Fever – If you have a fever and your stomach is okay to eat, you can eat whatever you feel like eating, but eating water-rich food can help your fever go down. Also try plain food like dry toast, crackers, and biscuits if you are having trouble eating. The worst thing that can happen is forcing yourself to eat when you are sick if you don’t have other medical reasons to do so.

* Body Aches and Pains – As long as your tummy is feeling okay, you’re not vomiting too much or have bad diarrhea, try eating things like ginger, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, salmon, and tart cherries to help you with body pains and aches.

* Coughing – Lots of foods help fight colds and flu-like citrus, which is also good for coughing. If your tummy can handle it, drink OJ or eat an orange. Or try an apple, apple juice, cranberries or juice; all work great to help you feel better if you have a cough. Avoid dairy if you have phlegm as it can make the drainage worse and make your throat hurt more.

* Fatigue – Believe it or not, there is nothing wrong with adding a little caffeine to your day if you are sick. It can help fight headache and it also helps with fatigue, which can help you get better faster. Just don’t overdo it. Again, being dehydrated (which people often are when ill) can make you tired, so good old water and other hydrating foods are your best bet to try first.

* Vomiting – This is one time when you should not eat when you are sick. Instead, focus on clear broth, and you can try so-called “BRAT” food like bananas, rice, applesauce, dry toast, crackers, and things like that. You should avoid eating for about four hours after vomiting other than hydrating.

* Diarrhea – If you feel like eating, go on the BRAT diet. Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast or crackers are your best bet. You can also eat boiled potatoes (sweet have the most nutrition but they can make diarrhea worse, so avoid those). Make sure you avoid seasonings and dairy.

* Runny Nose – If you have a runny nose, you likely also have phlegm which is causing a sore or scratchy throat. Again, avoid dairy but try drinking weak green tea with honey. If you are having tummy issues, you may want to avoid tea, though, and stick to citrus water. Get vitamin C, and if you feel like eating, try broths rich with garlic, onion, and turmeric.

* Stuffy Nose – When your nose is stuffy, it can be irritating because you are so uncomfortable about breathing. Try having some hot broth or chicken soup. Anything with steam will help relieve the stuffy nose. If your tummy is okay, try eating something spicy like this spicy hot soup:

If your symptoms become severe, your breathing becomes fast or challenging, or you have any chest pain or a fever above 104 degrees F, you should get to the doctor as fast as possible. In fact, if symptoms don’t improve within 24 hours, you may want to go to a doctor anyway to ensure that you aren’t developing any co-infections or complications.


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