Covid-19 does not seem to be going away anytime soon which may herald a more frequent prevalence of flu and sickness. So, it’s time to stock up your pantry with foods that will help you recover quicker and be in tip-top shape in no time. It might be difficult to build an appetite when you feel sick but it is important to note that your body needs nourishment at this point and restricting your food intake is only making the healing process slower! The key to maintaining a steady supply of energy while you’re sick is listening to your body and consuming small frequent meals as your body recovers. (Your body needs more calories when you’re sick).
(For a quick list of key takeaways, check towards the end)
With that said, here are top 9 foods to help you feel better, give you the extra boost of energy without aggravating your stomach or making you feel even more decongested when you’re sick:
1. Citrus foods
Citrus foods like lemons, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, cauliflower, amla, etc are all rich sources of Vitamin C. It helps to act as an antioxidant and helps to boost the immunity as well as reduce the length and severity of a cold.
Turmeric is known for its healing and medicinal properties. Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin which helps decrease the inflammation and irritation caused during a cold and sore throat.
Raw honey is an effective cough suppressant and decongestant due to it’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. A teaspoon of honey in warm water really helps to soothe your throat and calm down any sort of itchiness.
4. Ginger & Garlic
Ginger and garlic have anti-inflammatory compounds and antimicrobial properties which will help you fight germs and recover quicker. They also help in decreasing the severity of the cold and infection. Ginger and garlic can be easily incorporated in our soups, broths, curries, etc. They also help reduce bloating or feeling of nausea in case of any tummy troubles.
5. Probiotics & Prebiotics
One cannot deny that 70% of our immune system is reliant on our gut health which is where probiotics and prebiotics come into play. While probiotic foods naturally contain gut-healthy bacteria due to the fermentation process, prebiotic foods act as food for the gut bacteria to grow but essentially both of them perform the same function of promoting good gut health. Foods like yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, kombucha, pickle, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi are few examples of probiotic foods while garlic, apple, onion, barley, oats, wheat bran, raw banana are some prebiotic foods that you can include in your daily diet.
6. Coconut water
Staying hydrated is extremely important when you fall sick. Coconut water not only helps to maintain your hydration levels but also replenishes the lost electrolytes like potassium from your body in case you are suffering from diarrhea.
Since we’re talking about keeping your hydration intact, one must avoid the consumption of alcohol & caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, and cola as they act as mild diuretics and can lead to dehydration. Herbal tea, soups & broths, vegetable juice, milkshakes, smoothies or infused water can help you match up to your daily fluid requirements.
Elderberries are not only rich in phytonutrients but also have antiviral properties which may help to boost your immune system and ease any cold or flu symptoms.
8. Spicy foods
Spicy foods can make your nose run & eye water. They can be great for relieving congestion as they act as natural decongestants due to the presence of capsaicin compounds. The addition of small amounts of chili pepper is all you need, just enough to get the kick!
However, you must totally stay clear of spicy foods if you have a stomach infection or diarrhea as they can be irritating to the stomach lining and will only aggravate the condition.
9. Crackers & toast
Studies³ have shown that strong-smelling foods can increase the feeling of nausea which is why it is better to stick to the rule, ‘bland is better’. Crackers, unsalted biscuits, roasted rice flakes, toast are simple foods that are easy to digest.
Apart from these food musts, specific nutrients⁴ can also help to boost your immune system, and the addition of foods rich in these nutrients in your diet will help strengthen your immunity in the long run.
While it is important to eat healthy in general, being sick does not give you the liberty to snack on your favorite junk foods. Consumption of high fat and high sugar foods like chips, chocolates, pastries, burgers, pizza & other processed foods will only increase the inflammation in your body and lower your immune response.
Lastly, it is important to note that none of these foods can function to their full potential unless you give your body the required amount of sleep & rest. You must try to minimize any stress triggers and slow down NOW.
- Eating healthy while you’re sick can help you increase and build your immunity as well as ease out some of your symptoms.
- Including foods like citrus foods, honey, ginger, garlic, probiotic & prebiotic foods, coconut water, etc can be helpful in case you’re suffering from flu or having a stomach upset.
- Limiting your alcohol & caffeine intake, avoiding junk & processed foods, staying hydrated, and getting sufficient rest & sleep will help speed up your recovery process.
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