Woman eating soup when sick

Here's what to eat when you’re sick: a helpful guide

We've all experienced days when illness makes an unwelcome visit. From sniffles and coughs to fever and body aches, feeling under the weather can be a drag on our daily routines. A key part of recovery is ensuring our bodies get the right nourishment. So, what should you eat when you're sick?

Foods to soothe a sore throat

Suffering from a sore throat? Here's what you can do.

  • Warm herbal teas. When a sore throat strikes, there's nothing quite as comforting as sipping on a warm cup of herbal tea. Choose chamomile, ginger, or peppermint, which provide soothing relief and have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Add a spoonful of honey for an extra soothing effect.
  • Smooth and creamy soups. Sipping a bowl of smooth and creamy soup can work wonders for a sore throat. Look for gentle options like chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, or butternut squash soup. These warm and nourishing blends provide hydration and a gentle coating to ease discomfort.
  • Soft and moist foods. When your throat feels tender, stick to soft and moist foods such as mashed potatoes, oatmeal, yogurt, and applesauce. These foods are gentle on the throat, making swallowing easier.
  • Refreshing ice pops. Ice pops can provide cool relief when a sore throat leaves you feeling hot and uncomfortable. Look for popsicles made from real fruit juices or herbal infusions. The coolness can help numb the throat temporarily and relieve pain and irritation.

Remember, while these foods can help soothe a sore throat, we recommend consulting with a health care professional at your local CityMD urgent care if symptoms persist or worsen.


Foods to ease an upset stomach

Is your stomach giving you trouble? Here's what to eat when sick with stomach problems.

  • Bland carbohydrates. Choose bland carbohydrates like plain rice, toast, crackers, or pretzels when your stomach feels queasy. These low-fiber options provide gentle nourishment while minimizing irritation.
  • Ginger. Ginger has long been recognized for its ability to calm an upset stomach. Whether in ginger tea, non-carbonated ginger ale, or freshly grated ginger added to warm water, this root herb can help relieve nausea and promote digestion.
  • Bananas. Rich in potassium and easily digestible, bananas are a go-to fruit for soothing an upset stomach. They provide essential nutrients while being gentle on the digestive system.
  • Herbal mint tea. Mint has natural properties that can help ease digestive discomfort and relieve nausea. Try peppermint or spearmint tea to relax your stomach muscles and promote digestion.
  • Yogurt. Plain yogurt with live and active cultures contains good bacteria that can help restore the balance of your gut flora. The probiotics in yogurt can aid digestion and relieve an upset stomach. Avoid flavored varieties — they may contain added sugars that could further upset your stomach.
  • Lightly steamed vegetables. If you're up for a more substantial option, try lightly steamed vegetables like carrots or zucchini. They provide essential vitamins and minerals while being gentle on the stomach.

Every stomach is unique, so be aware that what works for one person may not work for another.


Foods to avoid when you're sick

If you're feeling under the weather, here are foods to avoid when you're sick.

  • Spicy and greasy foods. Steer clear of spicy and greasy foods. Spices and heavy oils can irritate your digestive system, potentially worsening nausea or causing indigestion.
  • Citrus fruits and juices. Citrus fruits' high acidity can be harsh on a sensitive stomach. Acidic foods and juices, like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and tomatoes, can lead to heartburn or acid reflux. Choose low-acid alternatives when seeking vitamin C, like berries or kiwi.
  • Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body, which won’t help your recovery. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, black tea, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
  • Sugary and processed foods. Although it may be tempting to reach for sugary snacks or processed convenience foods, they offer little nutritional value and can weaken your immune system.
  • Heavy, fatty meats. While protein is helpful for recovery, heavy, fatty meats can be harder to digest and may leave you feeling sluggish. Avoid consuming red meat, processed meats, and high-fat cuts. Choose lean proteins like grilled chicken, turkey, or fish instead.

Everyone's tolerance and reactions to different foods may vary. Pay attention to your body's signals and avoid foods that worsen your symptoms.


What to eat when you’re sick: final thoughts

Knowing the right foods to eat and avoid when you're sick can aid your recovery. CityMD is here to provide the care and guidance you need.

Visit any of our convenient locations for prompt and comprehensive urgent care services.

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