What to Eat When You Have the Flu

Cold and flu infections are common but can put you in bed for several weeks. You usually do not need any treatment for both cold and flu infections–your immune system eliminates the infection in a couple of weeks. However, you can accelerate recovery by eating the right type of food. Keep reading to learn what foods will provide you with energy while your body is still recovering from cold and flu.

What to Eat When You Have the Flu

Providing your body with certain vitamins and nutrients will make it easier for your immune system to fight the infection. Here are some good suggestions:

1. Fresh Garlic

Garlic contains phytochemical allicin that helps treat sickness. You can even take allicin supplements to improve your defense system against flu and common cold. Alternatively, eat a couple of fresh cloves of garlic every day to improve immunity.

2. Mushroom

You should include mushrooms in your diet because they have selenium and beta glucan. Selenium promotes the production of cytokines that help clear sickness, whereas beta glucan produce cells that find and destroy infections. In other words, mushrooms improve your overall immunity and help you clear infections easily.

3. Salmon

Research shows that people with low vitamin D levels are 40 % more likely to catch cold and flu. One of the best ways to improve your vitamin D intake is to eat salmon. You get 360 IU of Vitamin-D in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon.

4. Tea

Your immune system will improve by drinking five cups of black tea a day because black tea contains theanine and catechins that work against free radicals and reduce inflammation in your body.

5. Dark Chocolate

Eat dark chocolate when you do not know what to eat when you have the flu.Dark chocolate has compounds that help boost your immunity. Cocoa supports T-helper cells that in turn improve your defense system against infections.

6. Yogurt

Your digestive tract plays a big role in strengthening your immune system, so it really makes sense to strengthen your digestive system by eating probiotics which are found a plenty in yogurt. A single serving of yogurt a day will make a difference.

7. Oysters

Your immune system needs zinc to function properly because it signals white blood cells to attack viruses and bacteria like flu or cold. Oysters are a great source of zinc–you will get your minimum daily requirement of zinc from one medium oyster.

8. Vitamin-C

While most people believe they should have Vitamin-C to deal with a cold, most experts believe it may not prove that effective. Still, you may want to eat a cup of strawberries to increase your Vitamin-C intake. You can also eat other vitamin C rich foods, such as grapefruits, oranges, strawberries, peppers, pineapples, tomatoes, paw paw, broccoli, and guava.

9. Almonds

When you have little knowledge about what to eat when you have the flu, go for almonds. They are loaded with immune-boosting antioxidant vitamin E. With enough Vitamin-E in your system, you will have fewer chances of catching colds and developing other common respiratory infections. Also, include sunflower seeds, fortified cereals, wheat germ, and turnip greens in your diet to get enough of Vitamin-E.

10. Sweet Potato

You can eat sweet potato when you have a flu or cold because it contains beta-carotene that improves your immune system. It also plays a role in neutralizing harmful toxins. You can also try other sources of beta-carotene, such as squash, carrots, egg yolks, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

11. Chicken Soup

Enjoy some hot chicken soup when you have flu because it increases the temperature in your throat and nose, providing an inhospitable environment for viruses. Moreover, it will thin out mucus and make it easier for you to blow it out. Chicken soup may also limit the production of white blood cells that your body produces in huge numbers when you have a cold. These white blood cells cause nasal congestion.

12. Ginger

Ginger is yet another important entry on the list of what to eat when you have the flu.Ginger serves as an effective remedy to help treat diarrhea, stomach aches, and nausea. If you are also experiencing stomach issues due to the flu, you may consider having sliced or grated ginger to soothe your stomach. Drinking ginger ale may also offer some relief from issues related to upset stomach. Do not opt for ginger ale if it includes high fructose corn syrup.

13. BRAT Diet

The BRAT diet means you should include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast in your diet when you suffer from upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea that you may have to deal with the flu. You need to eat these foods with beverages such as apple juice and hot tea to control diarrhea.

14. Ice Pops

You may consider enjoying ice pops when you have a flu-induced sore throat. Doing this will help keep your body hydrated and even reduce the gagging reflex that you usually experience with the flu. Keep in mind that some brands of ice pops contain a high dose of sugar as well as artificial flavorings. Avoid those brands and only look for brands that offer 100 % fruit juice.

What If I Have Little or No Appetite?

It is common to ask what to eat when you have the flu, but it is also possible to have no appetite when you are ill. You should not force someone with flu to eat something when he/she does not want to eat. It helps to have a short period of fasting to promote recovery. Eat bland food in small portions when eventually feeling hungry.

At the same time, also note that actively trying to starve out sickness and not providing your body with all-important nutrients will hamper the healing process because your body needs energy to keep your immune system strong enough to clear the infection. 

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