10 Best Foods to Eat When Sick With a Cold

When you’re dealing with a cold and experiencing symptoms like sneezing, sniffling, and coughing, the idea of eating may not be very appealing. Even if you are hungry, the taste of food may not be quite right when you’re under the weather. So, is it really necessary to “feed a cold”?

Consuming nutritious food when you’re sick is beneficial as it helps boost your energy levels, ultimately making you feel better. Additionally, certain foods can aid in combating a cold, potentially speeding up your recovery. Let’s explore why these particular foods are considered some of the best choices when you’re dealing with a cold.

Understanding Common Cold Symptoms

The common cold is, as the name suggests, quite prevalent. Most adults catch at least two colds a year, and children tend to get even more. Cold viruses typically infect your nose and sinuses, resulting in symptoms such as sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, coughing, a sore throat, and watery eyes.

During a cold, you might experience a reduced appetite, and the ability to smell your food might be compromised, making eating less enjoyable.

The temporary loss of smell occurs when nasal congestion hinders air from reaching smell receptors in your nose. Rest assured, this loss of smell (and taste) is temporary and should improve as your cold symptoms subside.

1. Soups and Broths

Soups, often served by caring parents to their unwell children or used as a revitalizing tonic for self-recovery, are excellent for managing colds and the flu. Chicken soup, in particular, is a popular choice for individuals dealing with sore throats, congestion, and headaches.

This comforting dish is rich in essential nutrients like protein, energy-packed electrolytes, and vital amino acids, providing your body with the necessary elements to combat illness.

For an extra boost, consider adding chili flakes or powder to the soup; the spicy kick can help clear sinuses and relieve blocked noses, enhancing the benefits of this flavorful remedy for a cold.

2. Fruit and Vegetables

Maintaining your intake of fruits and vegetables, commonly known as “eating your five a day,” is crucial for alleviating uncomfortable cold symptoms. Citrus fruits and leafy greens, such as oranges, grapefruits, spinach, and kale, are particularly beneficial.

Packed with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, these foods provide essential nutrients that support your body’s recovery from a cold or the flu. Enjoy sweet fruits as a tasty snack to boost energy levels or incorporate leafy greens into your meal preparations.

3. Herbal Tea

While consuming foods that aid in recovery is essential, it’s equally important to stay properly hydrated. While water and fruit juice are commonly recommended for colds, herbal tea can offer additional benefits.

Herbal teas, rich in antioxidants, are effective in easing cold and flu symptoms. Inhaling the steam from hot water can also help relieve sinus congestion and nasal blockages. For a nutritional and soothing addition, consider incorporating honey into your herbal tea.

4. Yogurt

We’ve highlighted the benefits of yogurt for improving gut health, but did you know it’s also a fantastic choice when you have a cold? Yogurt contains probiotics that enhance your immune system, actively fighting the bacteria and viruses causing your discomfort.

Additionally, yogurt is a valuable source of protein, vitamins, and minerals that play a crucial role in supporting your immune system.

For an extra dose of vitamin C, consider adding a handful of berries to your yogurt. This delightful combination makes it one of the top foods to enjoy when you’re dealing with a cold!

5. Oily Fish

Ensuring an adequate protein intake is crucial for overall health, and one of the key benefits is the immune-boosting effect, providing your body with more energy to combat viruses. Oily fish, in particular, stands out as an excellent choice for colds and flu.

Not only are they rich in protein, but they also boast omega-3 fatty acids that enhance the effectiveness of your immune system. Incorporating oily fish into your diet can be a beneficial strategy for supporting your body when you’re under the weather.

6. Salmon

When you’re feeling under the weather, salmon stands out as an excellent protein source. Its soft texture makes it easy to eat, providing your body with high-quality protein essential for recovery.

Salmon is notably rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known for their strong anti-inflammatory effects that can enhance the effectiveness of your immune system. Additionally, it’s a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which plays a critical role in immune function.

7. Citrus

You’ve probably heard the advice to increase vitamin C intake to avoid colds. While it may not prevent everyone from catching a cold, consuming plenty of vitamin C, found in oranges, lemons, and limes, can make you feel better and potentially help you recover faster when taken before symptoms worsen.

8. Germ Fighters

Foods like kale, broccoli, cranberries, green tea, red onions, and blueberries share a common ingredient called quercetin, an antioxidant that may aid in fighting the common cold. While research is relatively new in this area, these foods show promise as potential germ fighters.

9. Bring the Heat

Chili peppers won’t cure your cold, but they can help clear your nasal passages, providing relief. The compound capsaicin found in chili peppers has been shown to assist with relieving nasal congestion and making you feel more comfortable.

10. Ginger

A warm cup of fresh ginger tea can be soothing when you’re battling a cold. Ginger helps clear congestion and soothe your throat. Some studies even suggest that the spicy root may have preventative properties against the common cold by blocking the virus.

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