Winter & the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year! It also happens to be cold & flu season. A combination of holiday stress, holiday travel and too many sugary treats can all take a toll on our health & immune system.
When you’re feeling under the weather comfort in the form of cozy socks, lounging on the couch and comfort food are usually a go-to! However, did you know that what you eat when you’re sick can have an effect on how long you feel remain feeling crummy?
Today I’m sharing foods to eat and foods to avoid when you’re feeling under the weather so that you can return to your best self, soon!
Best Foods to Eat When Sick
Soup is the ultimate “under the weather” food. Not just any soup of course but brothy soups full of chunky vegetables and superfoods. Soup is great because it is comforting, flavourful and easy to digest. Warm steamy broth can help to prevent dehydration and keeps the throat & nasal passages moist which helps to fight inflammation. When it comes to soup it is important to avoid dairy based soups, as dairy can often lead to congestion. If you’re craving a creamy soup use coconut milk instead! Coconut has antiviral and antibacterial properties and it’s delicious!
When, you have a cold, proper nutrition is key to nourish your body back to health. In fact, when you have a fever your metabolic rate is stimulated and you burn calories faster, so keeping well fed is important because a body lacking sufficient calories and nutrients can have difficulty healing itself.
Vitamin C is an immune boosting anti-oxidant found in all types of citrus. Try add fresh lemon to a morning smoothie, lemon slices to a cup of hot water or tea, or an orange for a snack! Consuming adequate intake of vitamin C is believed to help reduce the length and severity of a cold. Most citrus also contain flavonoids, which have also been shown to help boost the immune system! Proper hydration is also key to help the body flush out toxins! Water dense foods like citrus are a great way to help the body stay hydrated.
Add Some Spice!
Spicy foods can act as an effective natural decongestant! Try adding some sriracha, red chili pepper flakes or hot sauce to your meal! If you have a sensitive stomach, be cautious when consuming both citrus and spicy foods!
Speaking of a sensitive stomach, did you know that bananas, rice, applesauce & toast also known as the “BRAT” diet is ideal for those with an upset stomach? This is because these foods are easy for the body to digest. Bananas are also rich in potassium, a mineral that can quickly become depleted from sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Root Vegetables: Ginger/Turmeric/Garlic
These three root vegetables provide a punch of flavor along with super immune boosting properties. Garlic is contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties, while turmeric can help fight inflammation! Ginger is incredibly effective at preventing and soothing nausea as well as constipation, bloating, and vomiting.
Worst Foods to Eat when Sick
As delicious as it may be to reach for ice-cream and other sugary treats when you’re under the weather, this is the last thing you want to do! Research suggests that a high sugar intake can lower the immune system and increase inflammation. Sugar is also often the “food” that bad bacteria thrive on. If you’re really craving something sweet reach for fruit which contains natural sugars yet also immune boosting vitamins and minerals!
High Fat Processed Foods
While fat is an important macronutrient for our body, there are different types of fats! Nourishing fats includes nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, coconut, coconut oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds & olive oil! Harmful fats such as hydrogenated oils also known as trans fats as well long-chat fatty acids commonly found in animal-based foods can be difficult to digest not to mention trans fats are known to raise LDL the body’s “bad” cholesterol levels. If you are dealing with a upset stomach, avoid very fatty foods.
Dairy and it’s role in a healthy diet is controversial, but many studies show that dairy is linked with increased mucus production which might worsen congestion when you’re sick. Dairy also contains natural sugar known as lactose, something we want to avoid when we are sick! Some dairy products (think yogurts and ice-cream) can even contain added sugar!
Eating well does not have to be complicated, expensive or stressful. In fact my recipe for Super Root Veggie Soup below is incredibly easy to make & the leftovers make eating well easy again and again! This soup is also packed with nourishing ingredients that will help you feel your best in no time!
- ½ inch ginger root
- ½ inch turmeric root
- ½ cup light coconut milk
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 large carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 2 large kale leaves
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (15-ounce) can navy or white beans
1 tablespoon red-chili flakes
Peel and dice the turmeric & ginger, add into a small blender with the ½ cup light coconut milk and blend for 1-2 minutes until the coconut milk turns a light yellow color.
Dice the onion and garlic; chop the carrots, celery and sweet potato.
Strip the kale leaves from the stem and chop.
Add all of the ingredients; the ginger/turmeric coconut milk, prepped vegetables and vegetable stock to the clay pot of a VitaClay Smart Organic Multi-Cooker and close the cooker cover.
Select the “soup” function and cook for at least 30 minutes; if using a VitaClay Smart Organic Multi-Cooker for the first time, be sure to read the Operating and Care Instructions thoroughly.
Enjoy your soup with a side salad and some crispy bread!