The 17 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

When you’re feeling under the weather, fueling your body with the proper nutrients is essential to help your immune system combat illness. Fortunately, certain foods can provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and hydration to alleviate symptoms and promote recovery.

The Best Foods to Eat When You're Sick

Knowing which foods to consume when you’re sick can make a significant difference in the healing process and your overall well-being. With that in mind, let’s explore the best foods to incorporate into your diet during illness, ensuring a speedy and effective recovery.

Soups and Drinks:

The old adage of having soup when unwell isn’t merely a comfort food suggestion; it’s anchored in nutritional science. 

Soups and Drinks

Soups and other hydrating drinks can be especially beneficial when battling illnesses.


Consuming broths can significantly help your recovery. These warm and soothing liquids not only provide hydration but also provide essential nutrients. 

Bone broth is a highly nutritious option, packed with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Its gelatin content may also aid in the recovery of your gut lining, easing digestion.


Chicken Soup

When you’re feeling sick, chicken soup can be a soothing choice. Rich in vitamins, minerals, calories, and protein, this classic soup is a favorite for a reason. It provides essential nutrients while being easy to eat and digest.

Chicken soup also contains fluids, which can help with hydration. Maintaining fluids is crucial to support your body’s natural healing processes when you’re sick. A warm bowl of soup aids in keeping you hydrated.

Chicken Soup

Various ingredients in chicken soup, like onions, garlic, and the chicken itself, contribute to its immune-boosting properties. The warm liquid also helps clear nasal congestion, making it easier for you to breathe.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a great choice when you’re sick. It’s a natural source of electrolytes, essential for maintaining hydration. When you’re ill, replacing lost fluids and electrolytes is vital to prevent dehydration.

Coconut Water

Not only does coconut water help to replenish fluids, but it also provides you with essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining proper muscle and nerve function during illness.

In addition to its hydration benefits, coconut water has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in your body and support your immune system’s efforts to overcome illness.


Remember to opt for pure, unsweetened coconut water to get maximum benefits. Making it a part of your fluid intake while you’re sick can help ensure you stay hydrated and support your body’s healing process.

Hot Tea

Hot tea is an excellent choice when you’re feeling under the weather. It provides much-needed fluids to aid in hydration, a crucial factor in recovering from illness. Additionally, the warmth of the tea can soothe a sore throat and help alleviate congestion.

Hot Tea

Many types of tea contain antioxidants and polyphenols, which are known for their health benefits. These compounds can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation, further aiding in your recovery.

Ginger tea is a standout choice for those experiencing nausea or digestive issues. As a natural remedy for indigestion and promoting gut health, ginger may significantly improve your overall comfort while you’re sick.


Herbs and Spices:

Herbs and spices have been utilized for their medicinal properties for centuries. They harbor a host of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and immune-boosting elements, making them highly beneficial when you’re combating sickness.


Garlic is an excellent food to eat when you’re sick, thanks to its many health benefits. It contains various compounds with antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help fight off infections and soothe your symptoms.


When feeling unwell, try adding fresh garlic to your meals or steeping chopped garlic in hot water to make a soothing tea. This can boost your immune system and may provide some relief from cold or flu symptoms.

adding fresh garlic to your meals

One way to enjoy garlic’s benefits is to add it to a warm, comforting soup. Combining garlic’s healing properties and the soup’s steam can help alleviate congestion and improve your overall well-being.


Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea remedy. Rich in antioxidants, ginger can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms.


Incorporate ginger into your diet when you’re sick through ginger tea, which can soothe your throat and reduce inflammation.

anti-nausea remedy

Ginger ale is another option, but be cautious of added sugars and opt for a natural, low-sugar alternative. Chewing a ginger root or taking ginger supplements may also help alleviate nausea and reduce inflammation.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are known to help alleviate congestion. They contain a compound known as capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers. Capsaicin has a natural decongestant effect and can help clear your sinuses.

Spicy Foods

Incorporate spicy foods like soups with chili peppers, salsa, or even hot and spicy dishes. Be cautious with the level of spice you can tolerate, avoiding further discomfort. 

Remember to stay hydrated while consuming spicy foods, as this can also aid in relieving congestion. Dehydration can worsen your symptoms, so drink plenty of water or soothing hot teas.

chili peppers


Fruits are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, and fibers. These nutrients are crucial to strengthen your immune response, making fruits the wisest choice when you’re feeling under the weather.


Bananas are an excellent food choice when you’re sick. They contain potassium, which is essential for overall health and helps maintain your electrolyte balance. When you’re sick, your body may lose potassium through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, making replenishment crucial.


Additionally, bananas provide soluble fiber, which aids in digestion. This type of fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut, helping to normalize bowel movements, especially if you’re experiencing diarrhea.

aids in digestion

The BRAT diet (Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) is recommended for people with gastrointestinal issues. Bananas play a pivotal role in this diet due to their easily digestible nature.


Feel free to enjoy apples when you’re sick, as they are packed with nutrients and can be easy on an upset stomach.


Additionally, apples are a good source of fiber, perfect for maintaining digestive health during illness.


Avocados are a great choice when you’re sick. They provide healthy fats, including oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil. These fats have various benefits for your body.


Eating avocados can help reduce inflammation and improve your immune system. The creamy texture is both soothing and easy to swallow, making it ideal for sore throats or appetite loss.

Eating avocados can help reduce inflammation

Moreover, avocados are rich in essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C, E, and K. These nutrients aid in maintaining a healthy body and supporting recovery while you’re sick.

Antioxidant Powerhouses

When you’re sick, fruits rich in antioxidants can support your immune system.

Antioxidant Powerhouses

Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, contain a variety of antioxidants that can help combat cell-damaging free radicals.

Vitamin C Sources

Fruits like oranges, kiwis, and grapefruits are dense in vitamin C, which is beneficial for your body during sickness. This vital nutrient has been proven to stimulate the production of white blood cells, ultimately supporting the immune system.

Vitamin C Sources

Grains, Dairy Alternatives, and Protein Sources:

Maintaining balanced nutrition, including grains, proteins, and dairy or its alternatives, during sickness is crucial. They provide a rich source of energy, help repair damaged tissues, boost immunity, and support overall health.


When you’re sick, it’s important to eat foods that are easy to digest and provide needed nutrients. Oatmeal is an excellent choice in this situation. Its rich fiber content, particularly soluble fiber, helps improve digestion and provides a feeling of fullness.


The soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs water, turning it into a gel-like substance. This can help soothe an upset stomach. Moreover, it can aid in reducing cholesterol levels, which contributes to a healthy immune system.

helps improve digestion

To boost the nutritive value of your oatmeal, consider adding fruits or a spoonful of honey. This combination provides an energy boost and additional vitamins. Adding a bit of ginger or cinnamon can provide extra warmth and comfort.


Yogurt is a nutritious and easily digestible food to consume when you’re sick. It’s an excellent source of protein that helps you maintain your strength during illness. Additionally, yogurt is a rich source of calcium and vitamins that your body requires for proper functioning.


Most yogurts contain live, active probiotic cultures. These beneficial bacteria can help in improving your gut health. They aid digestion, strengthen your immune system, and may even alleviate symptoms of common colds and flu.

plain yogurt

Choose plain yogurt without added sugars or artificial flavors. It’s best to avoid high-fat, flavored yogurts as they may exacerbate your symptoms during sickness. 

To make yogurt more palatable, you can add some sliced fruits or a drizzle of honey. These natural additions can further boost your immune system and combat inflammation, ensuring a quicker recovery.

sliced fruits or a drizzle of honey


Salmon is an excellent choice when you’re feeling under the weather. It provides your body with high-quality protein, which is crucial for recovery. Not only does protein help your immune system fight off infection, it also aids in muscle repair and tissue growth.

This fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory properties. These healthy fats help reduce inflammation in your body, potentially easing symptoms of illness.


Natural Sweeteners:

Natural sweeteners can offer more than just a touch of sweetness. They often come loaded with beneficial compounds and can play a comforting and healing role when you’re dealing with illness without the harmful effects of refined sugars.


Honey is a natural remedy that can help soothe a sore throat and alleviate coughing. It has antioxidant properties, which aid in fighting infections and boosting your immune system.


When feeling sick, you can add honey to hot tea or consume it by itself. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties may help you recover from illness faster. A spoonful of honey before bedtime may also reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep quality.

add honey to hot tea

Include honey in your diet while recovering from sickness, as it is not only a delicious natural sweetener but also an effective way to enhance your body’s ability to heal.

Green Leafy Vegetables

When you’re sick, your body needs a solid defense system. Consuming green leafy vegetables, loaded with antioxidants, can help. They boast high levels of vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are excellent options. These greens offer fiber, assisting digestion and helping your body recover. Remember the bok choy too, a vitamin and mineral-rich choice.

nutrient boost

Incorporate these leafy greens into your meals for a nutrient boost. They will aid your body’s natural healing process and get you back on track. Remember, a healthy diet is vital for speedy recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What fruits are beneficial during illness?

Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits provide vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system. Berries and kiwis are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

What fruits are beneficial during illness

Bananas offer potassium, which replenishes electrolytes, while apples supply fiber and vitamin C.

Which foods help with fever and weakness?

Broths, chicken soup, and hot tea provide hydration and warmth. Bananas, oatmeal, and yogurt are easy to digest and provide energy.

Which foods help with fever and weakness

Spicy foods can help clear congestion, while honey and ginger have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

What should be avoided when you have a fever?

Stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration. Avoid foods high in fat and processed sugars, as they may be harder to digest.

What should be avoided when you have a fever

Dairy products may increase mucus production, so limit consumption when you’re congested.

What are the top foods to consume during flu infection?

Nutritious options include broth, chicken soup, and hot tea to soothe and hydrate. Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and berries provide vitamins and antioxidants.

What are the top foods to consume during flu infection

Ginger, garlic, and honey can help alleviate symptoms and boost your immune system.

Which foods aid recovery from stomach bugs?

Opt for bland and easy-to-digest foods, like the BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) diet, which can help you regulate your digestion.

Which foods aid recovery from stomach bugs

Drinking clear fluids such as water or broth can also help with rehydration.

What should be eaten after a period of sickness and no appetite?

Start with light, easy-to-digest foods, such as toast, rice, and broth. As your appetite returns, gradually reintroduce lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

What should be eaten after a period of sickness and no appetite

Pay attention to how your body responds, and give yourself time to recover.