Eating w/ an Illness (Cold/Flu)

Hey there! This content was initially only shared on the CrumbswithCrystall Instagram but with everything going on right now, I wanted to share it to the blog as well. 

Until very recently, my tiny human and I have been sick a lot since we moved to Kansas in December. Usually, when I’m sick, I’m a comfort food fiend. I tend to eat whatever I want, in whatever amount I want… which is typically a lot because my appetite doubles when I’m sick. However, this last bout of ‘bug’ was quite different. 

For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t WANT to eat. Knowing that my body needed nutrients not only for fuel and strength but also for recovery, I chose nutrient-dense foods. I immediately noticed I was more satisfied despite feeling physically miserable. I also noticed that my choices had an impact on inflammation, bloating, and water retention, which can get out of hand when your body is fighting off an illness.

This time I ended up surviving off of my favorite protein shakes, crackers, soup, fruit, and a handful of chocolate-covered cranberries. That might not sound like the most fun or even nutritious diet in the world but if you’re curious why SOME of the things I ate helped me, scroll on down.

Here are some recommendations (and reasons why) for eating while you’re sick with cold/flu like symptoms. 

*I may cover nutrition for other illnesses in the future.

Soup- it’s excellent for hydration and sodium replenishment.

Electrolyte drinks- they promote proper balance between water, glucose, and sodium in the body. If you’re not eating much or can’t keep food down, you likely need one of these to help keep you from depletion (if you can stomach one).

Herbal tea- I’d shoot for decaf here, but there’s a lot of reasons to drink some tea:

It soothes the throat, eases congestion (especially when it’s warm), and it has natural bacteria-fighting capabilities.

*Also, adding honey can help coat your throat and ease discomfort.

Citrus- is good for more than just vitamin C! While vitamin C can reduce the severity of your cold or flu symptoms, eating fruits like grapefruit, limes, lemons, and oranges are beneficial because they all have immunity booster properties.

*Also, try bell peppers and strawberries.

Leafy greens- eat ‘em. You know why.

Eggs- they’re an excellent source for protein (which you’re probably running low on diet-wise when you’re sick). They also provide zinc, which can help with the duration of your cold (but ONLY if you take/consume zinc before coming down with according to several studies).

Yogurt- this one is controversial. Yogurt COULD thicken mucus (it’s been proven but only in some cases), but it also provides probiotics and replenishes gut bacteria. Gut health is closely linked to hormone balance, so illnesses impacting your diet could cause additional symptoms.

Sweet potatoes- they guys provide vitamin A which amount other things, plays a critical role in inflammation, and enhances your immune system. They’re also a great source of glucose 🙂 And they’re a “bland” food, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble consuming these if you’re feeling a little nauseous.

If you’ve been sick lately and found something really helped you… let me know what it is! I’d love to try it next time!