If you are sick with flu, eating may be the last thing on your mind because of the influenza virus. Good nutrition is essential during this time. Your body requires nutrients and energy that help you recover, keep your immune system strong, and helps to stay hydrated.
Keep yourself hydrated
Dehydration is common if you have flu and can be dangerous if you do not treat it. Drinking enough fluids can help to improve symptoms of congestion by releasing mucus from your nose. It is necessary if the fluids are warm. It is an essential way to start drinking plenty of fluids at the first symptoms and signs of illness.
Drinking plenty of water is best, but other fluids like low-sugar electrolyte drinks, tea, and broth can also help. Some foods can also help with hydration, such as cooked squash, cabbage, watermelon, and celery.
It is essential to pay attention to symptoms of dehydration like:
- Dark-colored urine
- Dry mouth
- Excessive thirst
- Muscle weakness
You must increase the fluid intake as soon as you can if you notice any of these signs. If you are experiencing severe dehydration, get medical assistance.
Foods that help with flu
It is normal to have a smaller appetite when sick, but it is essential to focus on getting good nutrition from the right foods. There isn’t strong research to support a specific food that can fight the flu virus itself. There are many nutrients in foods that help to boost the immune system or help with flu symptoms.
Foods you must focus on includes:
The broth has many benefits that help people with flu. It helps to keep you warm and hydrated. It can also help to relieve congestion and soothe a sore throat.
Probiotics help strengthen your immune system and benefit your digestive tract, but the research on their effects on the flu is limited. So far, most animal studies have shown the benefits of probiotics on immune system function during flu infection. One small study shows that probiotics decreased the incidence of flu sickness in school children.
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement, though these aren’t rigorously monitored for quality. They are also found in fermented beverages such as food like yogurt with active and live cultures, kombucha, kimchi, and miso.
Chicken soup is not only for the soul, but some research shows that chicken soup has various compounds that help fight the flu.
Bland foods help to treat the symptoms of vomiting and nausea that may occur with the flu. Bland foods are not spicy, low in fiber, and soft. These foods are well-tolerated and easy to digest while it provides your body with the necessary energy and carbohydrates. The examples include:
- Non-fat or low-fat yogurt
- Lean meats, such as whitefish or chicken cooked without added fats
- Bananas and applesauce
- White rice
- White bread
Remember that the eating pattern lacks many nutrients and is not for a long-term diet.
The food you must avoid during flu
Some foods can result in the symptom of the flu quite worse or make it more difficult to recover. Other foods are worth avoiding when you are not feeling well simply because they are detrimental to your overall health.
The food you need to avoid include:
Food high in sugar and processed foods
Sugar-rich and processed foods help weaken your immune system, and your body needs to fight off the flu. The foods are part of the “Western diet”. It has also shown an increased inflammation and helps to reduce infections. Examples of the processed foods to avoid include:
- Processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausages
- Breakfast cereals and sugary yogurts
- Ice-cream and candy
- Bread, sweets, and packaged snacks
It is known that alcohol can weaken the immune system, and research in animals has shown that alcohol may lower the immunity during the flu and worsen the infections. Alcohol also contributes to dehydration by causing you to urinate more often, so it is best to avoid it.
If you eat nutritious food and stay hydrated, it may help you to relieve the flu symptoms. However, it is essential to consult an experienced healthcare provider if you think you have flu. Remember to practice good hygiene and get the flu vaccine properly.
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