If you’re sick with a sore throat, cough, and sinus congestion, eating anything is often farthest from your mind. While most of us suffer from mild to no appetite with the flu, it’s important to continue to eat (even tiny amounts) of food for energy and take liquids to remain hydrated. Eating and drinking when you have the flu is necessary in order to give your body the nutrients and energy needed to fight off infection. Water in particular, via teas and juices, is vital if you’re eating very little and particularly if you have a fever. Drinking fluids will keep the body hydrated, replace essential nutrients, and help you recovery more quickly.
If you have the flu, here are the best foods and drinks to help you recover:
There’s nothing more soothing than a warm bowl of oats with cinnamon, particularly when you’re under the weather. The flu calls for hot, soft, comforting meals and a warm bowl of oatmeal loaded with whole grains, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin E will help increase your body’s energy and immune-fighting capabilities.
- Herbal teas
If you have the flu and are hardly eating, it’s easy to get dehydrated quickly, particularly if you have a fever and are losing essential fluids through sweat. So even if your appetite is gone, aim to replenish your vital fluids with some hydrating and soothing herbal teas. Try a cup of tummy settling ginger or licorice herbal tea, or sip some lemon or chamomile with lemon and honey to soothe a sore throat and break up sinus congestion.
- Electrolyte beverages
When it comes to fighting the flu, it’s important not to let your body get dehydrated. If you’re eating and drinking little, incorporate water, tea, and electrolyte beverages (i.e., pedialyte, kombucha, and sports drinks) into your healing regimen to deliver energy to help your body naturally fight off infection. Just beware of drinks and juices with a lot of added sugar.
While yogurt isn’t a typical food associated with fighting the flu, consider that this fermented treat is loaded with healthy bacterial cultures that improve gut health and boost the immune system. Yogurt is also packed with protein and cool and gentle on a red, sore throat. Just beware of eating prepared yogurt blends with a ton of added fruit (and refined sugar).
- Plain broth
Often all you can get down when you have the flu is a little bit of vegetable, chicken, or beef broth. Plain broth is an excellent flu recovery aid as it helps prevent dehydration, delivers healthy nutrients for energy, eases sore throat pain, and helps break up congestion because it’s warm and steamy. Start with broth, and as you recover, try incorporating chicken soup for the added fiber, iron and protein from meat and vegetables.
Not only does it ward off vampires, garlic has long been used to slay the flu. Incorporating raw, cooked and garlic powder in comforting soups has been a century-old flu fighter. In fact, alternative practitioners have long prescribed garlic to patients at the earliest signs of infection to boost immunity and aid flu symptom recovery.