Flu season is upon us and no matter what you do to prevent it, sometimes the virus can creep in.
Yes, even if you get the flu shot, you will have a chance of getting the flu. That’s because every year, the flu shot protects your body against certain strains and sometimes other strains can make you sick.
If you find yourself with a fever, coughing, and feeling fatigued, there are some foods you can incorporate into your diet that may help you feel better. And although eating may be the last thing you want to do, it’s crucial to provide your body the nutrients and energy it needs to get healthy again.
Here are some foods to incorporate into your diet to help kick that illness to the curb:
Broth is probably the best (and easiest) thing for you to eat when you’re experiencing flu symptoms. Not only is it easy for you to eat (let’s face it, that nausea can make it hard to eat anything), but it’s nutritional.
Broth will help you stay hydrated and soothe a sore throat or runny nose.
Going off of soup, everyone tends to gravitate toward chicken noodle soup when they’re sick, and for good reason. Like broth, a warm soup will help ease congestion throughout your body. It also helps provide more essential nutrients than just broth and offers a source of protein.
According to a study from 2011, yogurt can not only help your sore throat, but actually help prevent a flu or cold to begin with. This is because of yogurt’s cultures and how they’re able to boost your immune system.
While we’re not suggesting the food is a replacement for other preventative measures, it can offer some help during flu season.
Rather than a whole food or drink, this is just one ingredient to mix into your meals.
Ginger is important in easing the nausea that can be brought on by the flu. It can also help with potential diarrhea symptoms. You can easily add ginger to your diet by drinking ginger tea or eating crystallized ginger for a more concentrated amount.
Another staple for people who are home sick, tea is popular for a reason.
When it comes to the flu, tea helps on two fronts: it’s hot and helps with congestion. Plus, it’s just comforting to hold a warm cup in your hands. By drinking tea with certain herbs such as peppermint or turmeric, you can help soothe symptoms of a sore throat and even help strengthen your immune system.
Speaking of tea, honey is a great thing to add to your tea if you wish to further ease a sore throat.
Honey can coat your throat and help with any inflammatory occurring. Honey is also full of antimicrobials that can help your body fight off bacterial infections.
It’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough protein in your diet while you have the flu. Due to intense nausea, it might feel impossible to eat any meat, so a good alternative are any kinds of beans. Protein will help increase your energy level and keep you hydrated.
If you wish to eliminate the flu for good, having antioxidants as part of your diet is a must. Antioxidants help boost your immune system, which also helps you from getting sick in the future.
Blueberries have a high amount of antioxidants, but other similar foods can help in a similar fashion. Look for a few colorful fruits and vegetables like peppers, grapefruits and berries for more antioxidants.
Much like the previous food, orange juice is a great source for antioxidants, along with vitamin C.
What some people may not realize is how much orange juice helps with hydration. Staying hydrating is key for flu recovery and fruit juice without added sugars can be made up of 85% water.
But, you want to make sure you don’t overdose on vitamin C, as that can have negative effects on your already sick body.
Permission to eat a whole bunch of bread? Most people won’t hesitate for that kind of opportunity.
Fortified grains found in bread and cereal have a good amount of vitamin B, which can help increase your energy levels to kick away that fatigue. Vitamin B can be found in other foods, but they can be harder to stomach if you’re feeling nauseous.
Like we said before, hydration is crucial when you’re trying to get better from the flu. That’s why so many of these foods hold hydrating powers.
Although, if you’re still struggling to stay hydrated, drinks with electrolytes might help you get what you need. This could be especially helpful if you’re having trouble eating anything due to nausea.
Do you make sure to eat any of these foods when sick with the flu? Are there other foods you like to eat when you’re sick that you swear help you feel better? Let us know in the comments, or via Facebook and Twitter.
Written for Passport Health by Kaitlyn Luckow. Kaitlyn is a freelance writer, photographer and English teacher in Milwaukee. She has a passion for capturing and writing other people’s stories. You can find her at sayhellostory.com.