What To Eat And What To Avoid When You Are Ill

Whether you like it or not, illnesses like the common cold, flu and diarrhoea may strike at any time. This is especially so if you live in a densely populated city, of have plenty of social contact with many individuals. Suffice to say, there have always been advice given to people who have fallen ill, many of which stem from tradition and customs. You probably have heard “Starve a fever, feed a cold” at some point, although that is known to be an old wives’ tale.

With this being said, a basic knowledge of what types of food to avoid, and what types of food to have is good whenever the seasons are changing, so that you can stock up on them. But before we proceed, we have to mention that the following suggestions are based on modern day medical science. This does not mean that it is any better than traditional and cultural medicine, but at least there is some attempt to explain the mechanisms behind it.

If you have a nasty flu, the most important thing that you should be aware of is to keep your hydration and nutrition levels up. If you are used to eating several large meals each day, it would be wise to adjust your diet so that you eat reduced portions, but more often throughout the course of the day. As such, the foods that you choose should be those that help you with both of these aspects. Here are some of them:

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Burn, baby, burn…

On this note, I’m not referring to food that is physically hot, but instead I’m talking about spicy food. The jury is out on this one as people come from different cultures, but spicy food generally are effective as nasal decongestants. The ones you might want to try are wasabi and peppers. Your nose might run and your eyes might water, but after that you might feel better.

Tea Time

Some of you will like this one. Most of us have heard of the anti-oxidant properties of tea, right? Well, the good news is that this includes exotic teas such as Chinese and Japanese. Many teas contain natural compounds that can fight bacteria, so of course this will help you feel better and ward off certain infections. So next time you are ill, feel the comfort when slowly sipping on your tea.

Soup – Yum

You have probably heard this one many times. There is actually some merit to this. Having hot soup can help soothe your cold. Chicken soup is particularly good as it contains Cysteine – an amino acid that can help dilute mucus in the lungs. Hot soup also helps to prevent dehydration and moisted the nasal passages. That should be a good-enough reason to go with it, right?

Citrus Fruits

You have heard before that citrus fruits contain plenty of Vitamin C that can get rid of the flu. Well, to be honest, this is not completely true. The only thing that can really get rid of the flu is the combined effort of your immune system and the clock. However, citrus fruits can reduce the duration or intensity of colds and flu. They also contain flavonoids that help boost the immune system.

Now that we have discussed what types of food you should have while suffering from the cold or flu, we should move on to the types of food you should actively avoid.

High-Fat Meals

As this is a fitness and health blog, you were probably expecting me to mention this. While this is the case, there is a totally different why I am mentioning this point. Unlike proteins and carbohydrates, fat actually go through a fairly complex digestion process. That means that the more fat you consume, the more effort your body has to exert to absorb it. And no, this does not result in weight loss. Dream on!

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Spicy And Acidic Food

This is not contradictory to the point I made earlier in this article. Spicy food might be great for decongestion, but the reality is that they can cause discomfort in the stomach. If you live in a cosmopolitan city, you would have undoubtedly come across a situation where something spicy has put you in an uncomfortable situation, right?

Sugary Food

This one has a purely physiological basis to it. Studies have shown that high-sugar diets will often result in a suppressed immune system. This seems to be a general rule that has not been disproved. The technical process behind how this occurs is beyond the scope of this article, so just believe us when we say this.

So there we have it, three types of food to actively seek when ill, and three foods to actively avoid. I’m sure that a lot of controversy surrounds the discussion of any food type when they are being related to illnesses, and some of the resistance will be culture-based. No matter what, always remember to follow the commonly known mantra of getting plenty of fluids and rest whenever illnesses strike.


When you’re better, try these:


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