Feeling Under the Weather? Here’s What You Should Be Eating
While comfort food might be at the top of your list if your body is feeling a little sluggish and under the weather, that probably won’t aid in your recovery or help you jump out of bed any quicker. Even if a stomach bug has you disgusted by the mere mention of food, there are things you can consume in order to put yourself on the fast track to wellness. Or at least slow the decline into feeling even worse.
Next time you find yourself with a cold, stomachache, or worse – like the flu – try incorporating a few of these healthier options into your limited diet.
First things first: Don’t limit calorie intake
You might think a queasy stomach or overall lack of appetite is your body’s way of telling you to limit your food intake, but that’s not actually what’s best for your recovery process. In fact, your body actually needs more calories to combat illness than it normally would.
According to Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., RD, “…for every degree your body temperature is elevated, your metabolic rate is stimulated (or elevated) by seven percent. So one of the worst things to do if you have a fever is not eating, as your body needs the fuel to support the immune system.”
If you can’t manage to put a full meal down, eat smaller amounts – but stick to a regular schedule. This while ensure your body stays fueled while fighting off illness.
Really can’t put food down? Concentrate on your liquids.
As you probably learned from your mother, one of the keys to getting back to health is consuming plenty of liquids. This can be a lifesaver if consuming food just isn’t much of a possibility.
Aside from being a comfort when you’re suffering from a cold, drinking hot, decaffeinated green or black tea can help in other ways – it has natural bacteria-fighting compounds to ward off infections, and contains the antioxidant L-theanine to boost immunity. Chamomile and ginger tea can also help soothe an upset stomach.
Fruit or Vegetable Juice
Juice can be particularly helpful if you need to consume nutrients but would rather not eat. Drinking your fruits and veggies will help your body restore electrolytes and keep you from feeling even worse from low calorie-intake. Just be aware that citrusy juices – like orange juice – while great for a cold, might prove too irritating for your stomach.
Another great beverage option when your body is low on electrolytes and needs hydration is coconut water.
One more alternative to try: popsicles. As long as you buy those that are made from 100% real fruit, you can bring in some nutrients while continuing to stay hydrated.
Cold symptoms? Try these foods.
Fruits (oranges, papaya, strawberries, grapefruit)
Stock up on fruits that are high in Vitamin C and you might just decrease the length of time your cold sticks around. In addition, fruits like oranges and grapefruit have flavonoids that can give your immune system an extra boost.
Yes, that chicken soup isn’t just comforting, it’s actually good for you. Cysteine, the amino acid found in the chicken, can thin the mucus in your lungs and the broth can help you hydrate. Just make sure the soup you buy is low in sodium.
Veggies (red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts)
Did you know that each of these veggies contain more Vitamin C than oranges? Kale and broccoli are also known to contain Glutathione – an antioxidant that helps fight off infection.
Upset stomach? Try these instead.
If you’ve been getting sick, your body is likely dehydrated. The potassium in bananas can help with this, while also giving your body a calorie boost from natural sugars.
Starchy foods (rice, potatoes, oats)
These foods will help coat your stomach and won’t sit there long enough to create discomfort. The key here is to keep them as bland as possible.
Just like your starchy foods, bread won’t cause acid reflux and is much easier to digest than other foods that are high in fat. Again, it might not taste the greatest, but opt for the bread without all the spreads.
Although there isn’t scientific data to back up this claim, ginger has long been touted as a way to quiet an upset stomach. Most people don’t want to gnaw on ginger root, so you might want to go for some ginger tea instead.