The Best Foods to Eat When Sick | Holland & Barrett

Often when you’re feeling a little under the weather, the last thing you want to do is eat. However, when you’re sick, food is actually more important than ever as it gives your body the energy it needs to get well. If you’re feeling a bit bleugh, here are some of the best foods to eat when sick.

Garlic

Okay, so you might not want to eat anything smelly when you feel sick, but garlic actually has a range of health benefits that could make you think differently. It’s been used as a medicinal herb for centuries and has been linked to antibacterial and anti-fungal effects.

Garlic has also been known to support the immune system1, so you can better fight off potential bugs next time.

Don’t worry, nobody is expecting you to eat a clove of garlic in one go (unless you want to). Simply chop up some garlic and add it to your soup next time for a delicious, cold-busting treat.

Hot tea

There’s nothing quite like a steaming cup of hot tea when you’re feeling under the weather, and you’ll be pleased to know that your brew has a long list of health benefits too.2

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Hot tea acts as a natural decongestant, which helps clear the sinuses of mucus.

If you’re a fan of hibiscus tea, listen up. One study found that this type tea reduced the growth of avian flu in a test tube. Echinacea tea was also found to shorten the length of cold and flu symptoms.4

Honey

Honey has long been used for its strong antibacterial effects. There’s evidence5 to suggest that honey can stimulate the immune system, so it’s great for fighting off that pesky cold and helping you get back to your best.

Top tip: mix about half a teaspoon of honey into a warm glass of water, milk, or a cup of tea to make a cough-soothing, hydrating drink that will help you feel better.

Spicy foods

Fancy a curry? Spicy foods are known to help desensitize painful areas and help relieve the symptoms of a cold. Why? Spicy foods like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which is often used in pain-relieving gels.

Bananas

When you’re feeling poorly, you might just want something soft to chew and easy to eat. Bananas are a great choice for sick days as they’re bland in flavour but also contain a decent enough amount of calories to make you feel less hungry. Because of these qualities, bananas are included in the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast), which is recommended for helping with nausea.6

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For more healthy foods to eat when you’re sick, check out our selection of nutritious snacks.

Last updated: 22 May 2020

Sources

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25153873

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050296

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25391016

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27193820

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10976979

6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24547601

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-best-foods-when-sick

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050296

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15743425

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/359266

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26164000

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25644464

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25601602

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26061489

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2


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