Foods to Eat When Sick

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Being sick is a miserable experience. It's even worse when food can't be kept down, which leads to weakness and delays recovery. When ill, it's best to consume foods that, even if they don't taste great, are loaded with nutrients and will help you recuperate. Some foods are better than others at helping you during an illness.

Chicken Soup

  • Fresh chicken soup is the classic food to eat when sick. Chicken, when cooked, has an amino acid in it called cysteine. This amino acid works as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. This is why chicken soup helps when you have a bad cold---the cysteine helps to lower the inflammation of the sinuses and bronchial tubes. Chicken soup also can be an easy way to get a balanced meal if you include a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, and if you include noodles that provide carbohydrates for energy. Homemade chicken soup tends to have fewer preservatives in it than canned soup and is better if you need to watch your sodium intake.

Oatmeal and Whole Grains

  • Eat some warm oatmeal or other whole grain cereal. Whole grain products can help you get better from an illness because they are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, which are used by the body to keep the immune system healthy or to boost the immune system when it is compromised. Because there are so many whole grain products on the market, you have a lot of choices in this category when you are ill. If you can't stomach oatmeal, try a few whole wheat crackers or a piece of toast.

Tea Products

  • Drink some tea or have a tea-based candy. Tea products also work to prevent or reduce inflammation. They also can help to produce agents that fight disease, such as interferon, a protein that fights viruses. If you consume the tea as a drink, this also can help you stay hydrated, just so long as the tea is decaffeinated (caffeine works as a diuretic). If you're sick with a cold, adding a bit of honey or lemon to the tea can soothe irritated tissues of the throat and can cut thin mucus.

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