July 14, 2022
Nobody likes being sick. Whether you’re laid up in bed with a fever or trying to accomplish your daily to-do list with a cold, the physical symptoms and mental exhaustion of illness can be debilitating.
Getting back on the road to wellness requires plenty of rest, but it’s also important to pay close attention to what you put in your body while it’s recovering. While the flavors of your favorite foods may bring a small dose of comfort when you’re otherwise feeling miserable, there are some things you should avoid eating and drinking until you’re feeling better.
A sweet treat may seem like comfort food while you’re fighting something off, but the sugar in candy won’t help you get any better. Try replacing it with the natural sweetness of fruits. Oranges, kiwi, and cantaloupe will satisfy your sweet tooth while also delivering an immune system-boosting punch of vitamin C.
Rest and recovery are key to getting past an illness, and caffeine and alcohol don’t help with either. Both disrupt your sleep cycle and can also dehydrate you. Skip the coffee and soda and instead drink plenty of water; coconut water, in particular, is a great substitute since it has natural sweetness from the fruit.
When you’re sick, spicy foods can cause bloating, pain, and nausea — no fun if you already have an upset stomach! But just because you’re dialing back on the hot sauce doesn’t mean you can’t have great flavors in your food. Ginger, for example, is very effective at relieving nausea and can be used in many recipes. Garlic is also a flavorful option that has been shown to provide a boost to the immune system.
There’s never a good time to load up on processed foods, but when you’re sick, it’s especially important that your body gets the nutrients found in fresh, seasonal foods. Avocados, leafy greens, and even bananas all are packed with nutrients your body needs to fight off an illness.
When you’re sick, it’s hard to know how your body will react to any one ingredient, so your best bet is to stick with basic foods that provide the calories and nutrients you need while minimizing the risk of getting an upset stomach. Oatmeal and yogurt are two particularly great foods in this regard: oatmeal is bland, but packed with fiber and calories, and yogurt contains bacteria that can help your body heal faster and fight off future illness.
Having to pass on your favorite foods can be difficult when you’re sick, but choosing healthier alternatives may be the little help your body needs to get over an illness and back on the road to wellness.