Cold medicine is great for tackling symptoms but if you know what foods to eat when sick you can actually get well sooner. When they feel a cold coming on, most people’s go-to natural medicine consists of vitamin C and zinc supplements. Still, the best way to get your vitamins is by eating a healthy diet. Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Health and Human Development tells the American Heart Association, “Nutritionists recommend food first because foods provide a variety of vitamins and minerals and also dietary factors that are not found in a vitamin or mineral supplement.” If you’re starting to feel a tickle in your throat here are 10 of the best foods to eat when sick. Put them on your grocery list stat!
1. Chicken Soup
It turns out that chicken soup got its rep as natural medicine for a reason. A number of studies have found that it really does help ease your cold symptoms and speed recovery. Chicken contains an amino acid which helps to thin mucous and it’s got tons of electrolytes to keep you hydrated. Any hot clear broth will clear your nasal passages. Stay away from creamy soups because dairy can make you produce more mucous.
Garlic has been considered a cure-all for ages and it’s one of the best foods to eat when sick. Unfortunately, the key is eating it raw so if that’s too much to handle you may want to consider a pill for this one.
Most of your immune system resides in your gut and probiotics will keep it working at full capacity. Be sure to get unsweetened (sugar feeds bacteria) yogurt with active cultures. Mix in fresh blueberries to give it a super antioxidant boost.
Oysters may not be one of the first foods to eat when sick that comes to mind but these little guys have more zinc than any other food. Zinc supplements can have unpleasant side effects unlike this tasty aphrodisiac!
Vitamin C may not cure your cold but it does help you fight it off. Citrus fruits also have flavonoids which boost your immune system.
What’s not to love about eggs? They’re an easily digestible protein that’s also easy on sore throats and eggs are high in zinc.
7. Spicy Food
Nothing beats spicy food for clearing blocked nasal passages. The hotter the better!
8. Dark Chocolate
Just because they’re good foods to eat when sick doesn’t mean they can’t be treats too. You shouldn’t binge but a little dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) has plenty of zinc and polyphenols, which are mega antioxidants.
9. Tea with Lemon & Honey
It seems so basic but this beverage is a total cold-buster. Green and black tea both contain L-theanine, an antioxidant that supports immunity. Lemon settles your stomach and cuts mucous while honey soothes a sore throat and has antibacterial properties.
10. Coconut Water
You absolutely can’t drink enough when you’re sick. Dehydration makes you feel even sicker and it lowers immunity. Plus, you want to flush out all the germs. Coconut water tastes delicious and it’s got tons of potassium and electrolytes.