21 Best and Worst Food to Eat when Sick


Chicken soup, garlic, fruits containing vitamin C, leafy greens, oatmeal, spices like horseradish, wasabi and pepper are the best foods to eat when sick. Sweet snacks, fatty foods, dairy products, caffeinated beverages, jagged or hard foods, processed foods and simple carbs are to be avoided when sick.

Whether it’s a fever or stomach ache, you can fight it all by stocking up on your food and drinks. When you fall sick, your body requires more calories for normal functioning. You must have immune-boosting foods and eat regularly to consume adequate calories for faster recovery of your body. Check out below the 21 best and worst foods to eat when sick.

In this article:

11 Best Foods to Eat When Sick
10 Foods to Avoid While Sick

11 Best Foods to Eat When Sick

Foods to eat when you have the flu


If you are suffering from the flu, the broth is the best thing to have whether you like vegetables, chicken or beef. You can eat it right from the beginning of your symptoms until your recovery. Broth can help prevent dehydration. Its warmth can heal a sore throat and cure congestion.


foods to eat when sick

Chicken Soup

It has both the benefits of broth and the other ingredients. You gain protein and iron from cut-up chicken. Herbs, carrots and celery also provide you with essential nutrients. Chicken soup can keep you satiated and hydrated throughout your sickness. Only check the salt content.


Garlic is not only great in flavouring food, but it has also treated various diseases with its medicinal properties for centuries. In a study, adults affected with the flu were given garlic supplements. Their immunity improved and the severity of symptoms reduced. Raw garlic is also helpful.

Fruits containing Vitamin C

Vitamin C can highly boost your immunity and is most needed in sickness. Vitamin C supplements are quite helpful but the body can absorb the nutrients much better from your eaten foods. During the flu, eat fruits high in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, tomatoes and strawberries.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like kale and spinach can boost your immune system during the flu. They contain vitamin C and vitamin E, another immune-promoting nutrient. You can combine fruits with leafy greens in a smoothie or consume raw leafy veggies with some olive oil and lemon.


A hot bowl of oatmeal can soothe you with nutritional benefits during the flu. Being whole grains, oatmeal is also rich in Vitamin E. It also has immune-enhancing beta-glucan fibre and polyphenol antioxidants. Eat whole oats for maximum benefits.



Your chest congestion and sinus may increase lately in the flu. Some spices like horseradish, wasabi and pepper can reduce congestion and help in better breathing. But avoid spicy foods while your throat remains sore.

Foods to Eat when You Catch Cold

Hot Tea

Tea has natural compounds that fight bacteria and can ward off infections. Camelia Sinensis (black tea) extract has antibacterial properties to combat Salmonella serotypes that cause enteric fever. Warm liquids can also relieve congestion and a sore throat. So try freshly-brewed lemon tea or green tea to stay hydrated and relieve your stuffy nose.


Although it’s always better to have whole fruit instead of drinking it, popsicles are an amazing alternative to hydrate you. They are even easy on your throat. Try making your popsicles or buy those made of 100% whole fruit.

Foods to Eat When You Have Stomach Trouble


Bananas are abundant in potassium. You lose potassium while sweating or vomiting too much or in diarrhoea. They help in replenishing lost electrolytes and are super easy to digest.


Research says that ginger can remarkably prevent and soothe nausea and other gastric problems like bloating, constipation and vomiting. Drink flat ginger ale (to prevent disruption of your stomach with carbonation) or ginger tea to stay hydrated along with relieving stomach problems.


10 Foods to avoid while Sick

Foods to Avoid when You Have Stomach Trouble

Sweet Snacks

Sugary foods like milkshakes or sweet juices can inhibit your immune system and result in inflammation. So try avoiding them.

Fatty Foods

Your gut has to function doubly hard to digest fatty foods which can, therefore, trigger stomach ache. So, try to consume simple proteins and carbohydrates which are easily digested instead of fries and burgers.

Dairy Products

It’s still debatable but popularly believed that having dairy products can increase mucus production which can further increase congestion in your sickness. However, irrespective of whether milk affects the mucus production or not, you might feel the thickening of mucus as you drink milk. If it bothers you, you can avoid drinking milk while sick.

Foods to avoid when You Have the Flu


It causes dehydration and decreases your immunity. So you should avoid consuming alcohol when you’re sick.

Caffeinated Beverages

Beverages like soda, black tea and coffee may contain sugar and can cause more dehydration. They also count in the list of rejection.

Jagged or Hard Foods

Crunchy chips, crackers and similar foods may worsen your sore throat and cough. So, avoid eating them as well.


Processed Foods

Processed foods contain the least amount of nutrients. Strictly avoid these during the flu. Instead, consume whole, nutritious foods to support your body to heal faster.

Simple Carbs

Refined carbs easily get broken into sugar. This raises the blood sugar level as much as sugary snacks and drinks do. However, all carbohydrates are not bad. Carbs low on the glycaemic index such as whole grains, wheat bread or fibre-rich foods can decrease inflammation.

Sugar-Free Candy

Candies or gum which don’t contain sugar but have sorbitol may lead to stomach problems. Sorbitol is hard to digest and can trigger stomach trouble or sometimes even diarrhoea. Artificial sweeteners can even cause a headache.

Sour, Brined or Pickled Foods

Sometimes, the foods that worsen your sore throat, can also cause stomach ache. Pickled foods have salt or vinegar which can raise inflammation in your sore throat.


Keep in mind the above best and worst foods to eat when sick and reshape your diet according to your body’s requirements. That way, you can fight your ailment remarkably and recover fast.


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