When you’re sick, your body is fighting an infection or illness and needs all the help it can get. Eating the right foods can help your body to heal and recover more quickly. Check out1 2 Best Foods to Eat When Sick.

 Maybe you would want to eat some noodle soup and stay in bed all day, but there are numerous foods that can help you get better faster.

See, 11 Foods For Healthy Lungs and What Foods Are Better For Diabetics

1. Broth-Based Soups

clear broth soup in a white bowl on a white lat

When you’re sick, the last thing you want is a heavy meal. That’s why broth-based soups are the perfect food to eat when you’re not feeling well. They’re light and easy to digest but still packed with nutrients that will help your body recover.

There are plenty of broth-based soups that can be just as comforting and helpful when you’re sick. Here are a few of my favorite broth-based soups:

Tomato soup: Tomato soup is not only warm and comforting, but it also contains lycopene, an antioxidant that can help boost your immune system.

Mushroom soup: Mushroom soup is full of antioxidants and other compounds that can help fight off infections. Plus, it’s hearty and filling, making it a great option for lunch or dinner when you’re not feeling your best.

Vegetable soup: Vegetable soup is another great option if you want something hearty and nutritious. 

Another great option is miso soup: This Japanese dish is made with a fermented soybean paste rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help keep your gut healthy.

Probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system, both of which can be helpful when you’re feeling under the weather.

2. Bananas

Bananas are a great source of potassium, an electrolyte that can be depleted when you’re vomiting or have diarrhea. Replenishing your potassium levels will help you to feel better and have more energy.

They are also a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can bind together loose stools, making them more formed and less likely to cause diarrhea. Bananas are also easy on the stomach and can help to settle an upset stomach.

In one study, the soluble fiber in plantain was shown to inhibit epithelial cell adhesion and invasion of various bacterial pathogens, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Shigella sonnei, and Clostridium difficile. This means that bananas can improve recovery from such organisms or prevent their occurrence.

Lastly, bananas are a natural source of sugar, which can help fight off fatigue.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal in a white bowl with fruits

Oatmeal may seem bland, but it’s a great food to eat when sick. It’s warm and comforting and packed with nutrients that can help you recover. 

Oats are a good source of beta-glucan, a type of fiber that can help regulate your digestive system. They’re also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium.

And because they’re low in fat and calories, they won’t make you feel worse if you’re already nauseous.

However, to fully enjoy these benefits, avoid artificially flavored oats and opt for rolled or steel-cut oats to prepare your oatmeal.

4. Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are some of the best foods to eat when you’re sick. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals that can help boost your immune system and are easy to digest.

Some of the best green leafy vegetables to eat when you’re sick include spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens. These leafy greens are all rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as important minerals like iron and calcium. They’re also low in calories, so they won’t make you feel bloated or uncomfortable.

If you can’t stomach eating leafy greens raw, try cooking them lightly. Steaming or sautéing greens is an easy way to make them more palatable if you’re not used to eating them.

You can also add them to soups or stews for an extra nutrient boost.

5. Toast

Toast in toaster

When you’re stomach is upset, plain gluten-free toast is often one of the only things that sound good. It’s easy on your stomach and can help settle any nausea you may be feeling. Be sure to avoid butter or anything else that could upset your stomach.

6. Crackers

There are many different types of crackers, but it’s best to stick with the plain ones when you’re sick. Crackers can help settle your stomach and make you feel better. They’re also a good energy source when you’re tired and run down.

7. Rice

Rice in a black bowl

Like toast, rice is gentle on your stomach and can help settle nausea or vomiting. It’s also a great source of complex carbohydrates, which will give you the energy to fight off your sickness.

Besides, it’s also bland, so it won’t aggravate your symptoms like some other foods might.

If you have diarrhea, white rice is particularly beneficial. This is because its low in fiber; thus, it will not promote bowel movements. This allows time for the stool to form.

8. Ginger

Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. Whether you drink ginger tea or chew on some ginger candy, this powerful root can help ease your tummy troubles. 

9. Yogurt

Coconut yogurt in a glass bowl on wooden background

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are live bacteria that can help improve your gut health. Eating yogurt when you’re sick can help replenish the good bacteria in your gut and shorten the duration of your sickness.

In one study, healthy adults and children with acute respiratory conditions reduced their symptoms by 55 percent. They also felt better on an average of 2 days faster after being put on a probiotic.

That being said, dairy-based yogurt has been reported to thicken mucus secretions which may worsen a respiratory condition. So always opt for plant-based plant-based yogurt or other dairy-free probiotic sauces.

10. Garlic

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and can help fight off the infection causing your sickness. Eaten raw, cooked, or taken as a supplement, garlic can help you feel better faster.

11. Certain fruits

Certain fruits are great to eat when you’re feeling sick. These fruits can help boost your immunity and make you feel better faster.

Citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc. – are packed with vitamin C, a nutrient that helps boost immunity. 

Eaten regularly, vitamin C can help reduce the severity and duration of colds and other illnesses.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, meaning it can help fight free radicals that can cause cell damage. 

Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries – are also rich in polyphenol antioxidants like anthocyanin making them ideal for helping the body fight infection and repair tissue damage.

Different studies have also shown that anthocyanins can help prevent bacteria and viruses from attaching to cells, thus preventing disease. 

They have also been shown to stimulate an immune response, thus helping fight off disease-causing pathogens.

In a review of different studies, flavonoids, another polyphenol antioxidant in berries, reduce the number of sick days by 40 percent in people with an upper respiratory tract infection.

Kiwifruit- kiwi is another fruit that’s high in vitamin C as well as other nutrients like potassium and folate. It’s thought to have natural antibacterial properties, making it helpful in warding off illness.

Papaya- it contains an enzyme called papain that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, both of which play a role in immunity.

Watermelon- Watermelon is not only refreshing and hydrating (which is important when you’re sick), but it’s also rich in vitamins A and C.

Plus, it contains lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against some types of cancer.

Foods You Should Avoid When You’re Sick

When you’re feeling sick, the last thing you want is to eat something that will make you feel worse. Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods out there that can do just that. Here are a few of the worst offenders:

These include:

Fatty food

Fatty foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to making you feel sick. They can be hard to digest, and they can make your stomach feel even more upset. Fatty foods include things like fried foods, greasy foods, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy products. If you’re feeling sick, it’s best to avoid these kinds of foods and stick to something light and easy to digest.

Dairy products

Dairy products are one type of food to avoid when you’re sick. This includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Dairy can increase mucus production and make your congestion worse. It can also upset your stomach and cause diarrhea. Should You Drink Milk?


Caffeine can dehydrate you and make it difficult to get the restful sleep you need when you’re sick. It can also worsen headaches and other pain symptoms.

If you’re trying to get over a cold or the flu, skip the coffee and energy drinks and stick to water and herbal teas. Dangers Of Caffeine

Processed foods

Processed foods are those that have been altered from their natural state, often in order to extend their shelf life or make them more convenient to eat. 

While they may be quick and easy, these foods are generally nutrient-poor and can actually exacerbate your illness. 

In addition, they are high in salt, sugar, and fat, all of which can tax the immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off infection.

When you’re sick, your body needs nourishment to help fight off the infection. Processed foods will only drag you down. How To Avoid Processed Foods.


Alcohol can dehydrate you, which can make your symptoms worse. It can also interfere with the medications you’re taking to treat your illness. In some cases, alcohol can even make you more susceptible to getting sick in the first place.

So if you’re not feeling well, it’s best to steer clear of all alcoholic beverages. That includes beer, wine, hard liquor, and even those “mocktails” that seem harmless. Stick to water or other non-alcoholic drinks until you’re feeling better. See, Dangers Of Alcohol.

A high-sugar diet

A high-sugar diet can make you feel worse when you’re sick.

This is because sugar weakens the immune system and can make it harder for your body to fight off infection.

It can also cause inflammation, which is the root cause of most health issues. So it’s definitely going to make your case worse.

Whether you’re sick or not, avoiding added sugar in the diet is always good. Added sugar can be in the form of sugary drinks, candy, cookies, cakes, etc. Sugar Cravings

Final Thoughts on the Best Foods to Eat When Sick

When you’re feeling sick, it’s important to eat foods that will help you get better. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, incorporating some of these best foods to eat when sick can help speed up recovery. 

From broth-based soups to ginger tea, make sure to stock up on these items next time you’re not feeling well.

That being said, you can always talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to get tailored recommendations for what to eat based on your specific illness.

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