While Immune-Boosting Foods are great for keeping cold and flu away, most of us don’t feel like eating eggs, fish, and avocados when we’re already sick. If you’re already not feeling well and find that you don’t have much of an appetite, it’s still important to remember that your body needs fuel to heal itself. Here is a list of foods which (while they still may not sound very appealing to you when you’ve got a bad bug) will help you get well again without upsetting your stomach or exacerbating any existing nausea.
1. Citrus Fruits
For a solid dose of immune-boosting Vitamin C that carries the added bonus of helping you stay hydrated, turn to citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. Alternately, if you’re having a hard time with solid foods, try drinking just the juice of these healing fruits. If a sore throat is one of your symptoms, make a batch of Homemade Citrus Juice Pops to soothe away some of the pain. Check out this article by Elise on SimplyRecipes.com to learn more.
2. Chicken Soup
This cold and flu season staple not only provides your body with needed fluids to help fight off infection. The combination of vegetables, proteins, and fats in chicken soup also have an anti-inflammatory effect which can help to clear congestion, reduce swelling in the throat, and ease many of the other symptoms that come with viral illnesses. While making homemade chicken soup gives you more control over the ingredients, researchers report that even commercial chicken soups are very effective.
3. Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms are one of the best and most under-rated healing foods for fighting off viral infection. While the internet is chock full of information on the topic, this bit of wisdom actually came to us from a friend – a 72 year old woman who never gets sick and eats mushrooms just about every day. To fight off a cold (especially if you have a sore throat) try drinking a broth made by simmering mushrooms and scallions in natural mineral water. After just one day of sipping this mushroom soup (about a cup of broth once every four hours) your symptoms should have noticeably improved.
It is also worth noting that the type of mushroom is only important for the purpose of taste. Our wise friend recommended shiitake as the most healthy, however the aroma of these mushrooms may be very unappealing when you don’t feel well. If you want to keep it simple, use sliced brown Crimini or Portabella. The remedy will still work beautifully.
All members of the Allium family possess incredible anti-viral properties. If you have the flu or a bad cold, you’ll want to add garlic, scallions, and onions to your food as often as you can stomach them.
Melissa Sokulski on naturalnews.com recommends drinking Scallion & Ginger Broth to cure what ails you.
“When coming down with a cold or flu the herb to take is actually a food: scallions. Known as the Chinese herb cong bai, scallions release the pathogen by inducing sweating. Simmer scallion or other onion along with garlic and ginger and drink the broth to keep a cold or flu from going deeper.” Check out the full article here.
5. Ginger Root
Though ginger is considered an herb more often than a food, this amazing little root can go a long way toward soothing a sick stomach. In fact, (from firsthand experience) fresh ginger root is the best anti-nausea herb on the planet. Try adding slices of fresh ginger to soup or brew them with your tea when you’re sick to calm your stomach and help restore your appetite.
If you like the taste of ginger, you can also chew on a fresh slice by itself to beat nausea even faster.
Also worth noting is that while fresh ginger root works great to eliminate nausea, the dried herb doesn’t have nearly the same effect. Reach for the fresh root whenever possible.
6. Hot Tea
Any kind of hot tea can be a big help when dealing with congestion. The steam helps to loosen mucus and open up airways while the tea itself keeps your body hydrated. Some good options to consider – peppermint for even better decongestion, chamomile to help you sleep, or slippery elm for a sore throat.
Remember to add fresh ginger if you feel sick to your stomach.
You can also sweeten your tea with honey – another great natural anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting food – or try all-natural Stevia powder if you don’t like honey.
Like the idea of drinking hot tea when you don’t feel well? Read more about the healing power of this ancient beverage in 17 Herbal Teas With Extraordinary Health Benefits!
When you’re sick, honey should be your sweetener of choice (if it isn’t your go-to already.) Honey is not only powerfully anti-inflammatory, it also contains loads of antioxidants, has the power to soothe a sick stomach, coats the throat to help control coughing and is antibacterial.
Just be sure to get quality natural honey (not all of them are created equal!) Manuka honey is considered the best. If you can’t find that, go for an organic minimally-processed local honey which you can usually find at your local farmer’s market. Avoid commercial honey as most of them are processed to the point that they no longer possess any of their original health benefits.
For when you have a sore throat, make yourself a mug of Honey Lemon Tea to feel better.
Also, be sure to try out this Homemade Honey Lemon Cough Syrup (compliments of mercola.com)
“Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing your body, and honey will kill most bacteria while soothing your throat. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy.
- Put a pint of raw honey in a pan on the stove on VERY low heat (Do not boil honey as this changes its medicinal properties).
- Take a whole lemon and boil in some water in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to both soften the lemon and kill any bacteria that may be on the lemon skin.
- Let the lemon cool enough to handle then cut it in slices and add it to the pint of honey on the stove.
- Let mixture cook on warm heat for about an hour.
- Then strain the lemon from the honey making sure all lemon seeds are removed.
- Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator. To soothe a cough, take 1/2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day, or as often as needed. Adults can take 1-tablespoon doses.”
Yogurt is another excellent anti-viral food that is fairly easy on the digestion. Yogurt also offers a healthy dose of protein, vitamins, and minerals. For maximum healing power without all of the hormones and other contaminants found in many commercial dairy products, opt for high-quality organic yogurt with no added sugar then adding honey or Stevia to taste.
Just keep in mind that milk products tend to stimulate the production of phlegm. If you have soreness and inflammation in your throat, you’ll probably want to try the other healing foods on our list first.
9. Dark Chocolate
Not only is cocoa full of healing antioxidants, it also contains a compound called theobromine which works wonders to calm a cough by relaxing the vagus nerve. So indulge yourself in a daily dose of dark chocolate (you have a legitimate excuse!) Just be sure to choose an organic product with cocoa content of 70% or more for maximum cough relief and antioxidant power.
Bananas are food #1 on the “BRAT”diet – an eating plan developed for the sole purpose of recovering from an upset stomach. Raw bananas are loaded with calories which you sorely need if you haven’t been eating due to lack of appetite or if diarrhea is one of your flu symptoms.
Bananas also offer a modest amount of Vitamins C and B6 which are great for the immune system, as well as potassium and several other minerals that will help you regain your strength and fight off sickness.
“BRAT”diet food #2 is rice. Plain white rice is often enriched with vitamins and minerals, plus it’s highly caloric and easy on the stomach – perfect for helping you get your strength back and feel better faster.
12. Apples & Applesauce
The “A” food and #3 on the “BRAT”diet are apples and applesauce. You’ve probably heard the old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This saying is popular for a good reason. Apples offer a lot of easily-digested nutrients that boost the immune system and they’re soothing enough on a sore stomach that you can still eat them when you’re sick.
Remember, if you have a sore throat, you can still get your apple-a-day from a glass of 100% organic unfiltered apple juice! I recommend Lakewood brand which can be found at most grocery stores. If your local market doesn’t carry it, you can also order it here.
Last but not least, food #4 on the “BRAT”diet is dry toast. Much like white rice, bread is easy on the stomach and is often enriched with vitamins and minerals that will help you feel better after you’ve been sick with a sore stomach.
Remember: beating cold and flu bugs is great, but dodging them is better. Be sure to read up on our 14 Foods to Boost Your Immune System for Cold & Flu Season so you can be prepared next time those unwanted visitors buzz into your neighborhood.
Then check out our 15 Herbal Remedies to Help You Survive Cold and Flu Season that will really bolster your bug-fighting arsenal!
This is part 4 of our 5 part series: “The Ultimate Guide To Beating Cold & Flu With The Power Of Nature“. To check out the rest of this series, use the links below:
- Part 1: 20 Natural Tips to Help You Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season
- Part 2: 10 Tips and Tricks for Using Essential Oils to Help You Survive Cold & Flu Season
- Part 3: 15 Herbal Remedies to Help You Survive Cold and Flu Season
- Part 4: 13 Foods to Help You Beat the Flu and Feel Better Faster
- Part 5: 14 Foods to Boost Your Immune System for Cold & Flu Season