20 Foods to Eat And Avoid on an Empty Stomach
The 8 Best Foods to Eat When You're Sick
By Cindy Shih from
Even if you do your best to fight off the flu and the winter blues, it's almost inevitable that you'll get at least a mild sniffle at some point this season. When you're sick, your body needs more calories to function normally. That's because it has to work harder than normal to fight infection, especially when it's also battling a higher body temperature from a fever. To do this effectively, it needs extra fuel.
It's important to stick to your regular eating schedule when you're sick. Why? Consuming fewer calories than normal can restrict your body's ability to heal. In fact, studies suggest that reducing your calorie intake when you're sick worsens symptoms and extends recovery time.
While a nasty cold or a bad case of the flu might ruin your appetite, you need to stay well nourished and hydrated. Eating smaller portions of food more frequently (and listening to your body to determine when you're actually hungry) makes it easier to steadily fuel yourself throughout the recovery process. The best foods to eat will keep you hydrated and give your body extra energy and nutrients to stay strong (without aggravating symptoms like an upset tummy or congestion).
Foods That Help You Kick a Cold
The best way to kick a cold is to drink plenty of fluids and eat immunity-boosting foods. Here are some of the best items out there:
It’s not just an old wives' tale—chicken noodle soup can actually help soothe a cold: The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which helps thin mucus in the lungs, and the hot broth helps to keep nasal passages moist, prevent dehydration, and fight inflammation in the throat. Plus, the other ingredients may help the body kick a cold by stopping congestion and inflammation in their tracks.
Warm liquids can soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion, so drinks like freshly brewed green tea—which is rich in infection-fighting antioxidants and supports the immune system—are ideal for staying hydrated while helping out that stuffy nose. If you don’t like tea, hot water with lemon should also do the trick.
It’s a myth that vitamin C can cure the common cold, and there isn't much scientific evidence behind the theory that it can reduce the length or severity of your symptoms. But while citrus fruits might not be a cure-all, the soft white layer of skin found on oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes does contain flavonoids, which can help boost the immune system and speed up recovery.
Staying properly hydrated when you have a chest cold can keep mucus thin and help reduce congestion. While it's generally better to eat fruit than to drink it, popsicles are a great way to hydrate and are especially easy on the throat. Bonus points if they're 100 percent fruit juice or made from whole fruit!
Spicy foods can make your nose run and your eyes water, but they're also effective natural decongestants. Eat chili peppers, wasabi, or horseradish to help relieve the symptoms of congestion.
Foods That Settle Your Stomach
When it comes to stomach issues (which can accompany the flu), staying hydrated and eating bland things that are easy to digest are the quickest route to a speedy recovery. Here are a few of your best bets:
Crackers and Toast
Plain, unsalted, or lightly salted crackers and toast are easy on the stomach. These high-starch foods won't aggravate any nausea you may have and can help stabilize digestion (which is especially helpful after vomiting).
Bananas are rich in potassium, which is often depleted during bouts of sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. They're easier to digest (A+ for bland foods!), may help lower body temperature, and can help replenish lost electrolytes.
Research has shown that ginger is incredibly effective at preventing and soothing nausea and other gastric ailments such as constipation, bloating, and vomiting. Drinking ginger tea or flat ginger ale (to avoid disrupting the stomach with carbonation) can help keep you hydrated while also soothing tummy troubles.
Video: 20 Foods That'll Help You Lose Belly Fat
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