What to eat when you’re sick with COVID or the flu

Becoming unwell, regardless of whether with COVID, the flu, or the common chilly, is downright uncomfortable. These diseases induce swelling in the system, and may possibly direct to sore throat, brain fog, joint agony, headache, and congestion, among the other signs or symptoms. You may well not have significantly of an urge for food nor the electricity to prepare dinner, but eating modest, regular foods and remaining hydrated can assistance. Certain meals can assist fight inflammation and ease distress. 

“Food definitely can be medicine, when we’re hunting at how to make improvements to immunity, or just launch some of our symptoms,” Beth Czerwony, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Centre for Human Nourishment, tells Fortune

Listed here are some of the finest foods to eat when you’re sensation sick (that involve tiny prep): 


Soup is warm and comforting, but analysis demonstrates it could possibly actually make you sense greater when you’re sick. Hen soup can support lower inflammation from colds and flus, and is also a good resource of protein—helping your physique keep powerful and nourished. One analyze found it could decrease the severity of symptoms from higher respiratory infections, which have an impact on the throat and sinuses. 

Soup is particularly handy for sore throats simply because of the anti-inflammatory attributes of the sodium content (I bear in mind becoming advised to gargle with salty water when I had a sore throat or mouth ulcer as a child). Any broth can do the trick. When you really don’t have an appetite for a thing heavier or more flavorful, basically sipping on a broth provides some of the calories you require. Soups can also help you stay hydrated, and are packed with antioxidants.

Incorporating in onions, kale, broccoli, and other leafy inexperienced veggies to the soup will bolster the nutrient material. Sweet potato, pumpkin, and carrots are significant in beta-carotene which also has anti-inflammatory houses. 


The quantity one particular precedence when you’re unwell is to hydrate. Dehydration is a prime motive sick people today, specially youngsters, conclude up in the healthcare facility, Dr. Vandana Madhavan, clinical director of pediatric infectious ailment at Mass Common Hospital tells Fortune. Organic tea is a excellent alternative to highly refined sugary beverages, like juice and soda, or caffeinated beverages which can really dehydrate the technique. Warm tea is also a all-natural decongestant and can aid soothe a sore throat. If you are sweating profusely or emotion gentle headed, you will have to have far more liquids than you usually consume. Keep a cup or bottle subsequent to you as you rest and constantly drink from it. 

Look at introducing some lemon or orange to your tea, which can assistance struggle inflammation. 


Spices, this kind of as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and turmeric are all touted for their favourable overall health consequences. 

Ginger in distinct is advantageous when feeling nauseous simply because it can assistance the gut by speeding up digestion, suggests Dr. Tamika Henry, a household health practitioner and founder of Unlimited Wellness Institute, which gives digital consultations and appointments. Keep in mind remaining explained to to drink ginger ale when you experienced the flu as a child? Consider introducing the spice to tea, soup, or rice, Henry states. 

Tumeric can also assist with gastrointestinal problems like abdomen cramping and diarrhea, and Czerwony suggests “you can actually have a minimal bit more symptom relief” when consuming it.

Ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory houses that may assistance with a sore throat and other higher respiratory signs and symptoms. Cayenne pepper can help open up your sinuses and digestion (although she suggests limiting cayenne if you have a runny nose). 


Honey can act as a cough suppressant, and investigation shows it can decrease the severity and frequency of a cough. Contemplate placing it in tea, warm water, or even using a teaspoon prior to mattress, Madhavan says, introducing that it is a good choice for young children who are too young for cough medicine. Even so you really should hardly ever give honey to infants under age one particular.

Manuka honey, nectar exclusively derived from the manuka tree, has specifically solid anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects thanks to a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO), for each the Cleveland Clinic

Citrus fruits 

Fruits like oranges, apples, and grapefruit are prosperous in vitamin C, which supports bones, muscular tissues and blood vessels, and can assist boost the immune system. They are also hydrating because of their substantial h2o content. (Oranges are in excess of 80% h2o.) There’s also some proof that vitamin C can assistance shorten the length of a cold. 

If you have an upset tummy, the superior acidity content material of citrus fruits may possibly make the symptoms even worse. 

Fermented foods 

Fermented food items like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha consist of probiotics or the fantastic bacteria that can enhance digestion and can battle off pathogens in charge of earning you truly feel sick. They can enable crack down intricate foodstuff in your digestive program and specifically assistance diversify the intestine microbiome, which is crucial in keeping a healthful immune process, states Brittany Michels, a registered dietician with The Vitamin Shoppe. 

Take into consideration popsicles or ice cream

Specially for children, hydration stays critical. Give them a popsicle or ice product, which can soothe a throat, Madhavan suggests. They’re specially valuable if young ones are refusing to take in extra whole food items. 

It’s important to get the vitamins and comforting characteristics of meals and beverages with out having to put much too significantly effort and hard work in. Have canned soup on hand and teas in the cupboard to make your property a just one-cease store when you are emotion down. It’s also correctly fine to lean on a comfort food items if that is what you crave. Pick out what is easiest for you or your baby in the quick phrase, Madhavan suggests. The base line: stay hydrated, consume repeated meals you delight in, and prioritize foods packed with nutrients.

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