When you are feeling under the weather, your body needs extra special care. This especially means you should take extra care in what foods you eat to nourish your body while it's compromised.
Although you may not feel like eating much, your body needs extra calories to function when you are sick.
Listen to your body. When you feel like eating, eat. If you don't feel hungry then don't worry too much about it.
When you do eat, make sure you are choosing nutrient-dense foods that can give your body energy to fight off viruses and bacteria.
So what kinds of foods are appropriate to eat when you are sick? Well, that all depends on what you are suffering from. Here are a few scenarios and foods to aid in healing...
If you are suffering from diarrhea and stomach upset, you may have heard that you should stick to the BRAT diet. BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast and is often recommended if you're recovering from this type of illness. The reason these foods are recommended is because they help to bind up your stools to firm them up and the bananas contain potassium which helps to replace any lost nutrients. Recently, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics now advises AGAINST the BRAT diet because the foods lack enough nutrition to help your GI tract recover from illness. Instead, they recommend a diet rich in whole foods (fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, etc.) which is generally okay to consume within 24 hours of getting sick. Always be sure to drink plenty of fluids to keep from getting dehydrated - always keep a bottle of water nearby and chug down some nutrient rich bone broth. Also, while suffering from diarrhea and stomach upset, it is super important to take a daily probiotic to help heal your gut sooner rather than later.
When you are suffering from a sore throat, eating anything can be painful. You especially want to stay away from anything that can scratch or irritate your throat like granola, popcorn, nuts, or anything highly acidic like citrus or OJ. What you do want to consume are foods that have soothing properties like warm bone broth, yogurt, mashed sweet potato or mashed cauliflower, raw honey, and tea. If you want an added boost, add some raw honey to your warm cup of Oolong tea to soothe your symptoms and get you on track to feeling better faster. (But beware, not all Oolong is created equal - check back next week for more information on that.) Another home remedy that can be quite effective for sore throats is gargling with warm salt water. To treat a cold or sore throat, gargle with a 1 percent saltwater solution (but don't swallow).
First, many foods can trigger headaches, so if you're prone to them you'll want to avoid artificial sweeteners, MSG, aged cheeses that contain tyramine (such as blue cheese), chocolate, red wine, processed meats, and dried fruits. As for what to consume, water is the most important step, as dehydration is a leading cause of headaches. About 50 percent of those with recurrent headaches are deficient in magnesium, so increase your consumption of green leafy vegetables, which are super rich in magnesium.
If you have any kind of nasal congestion or sinusitis, you want to stick with hot liquids, such as, hot tea and chicken broth. Other foods that can help to really open up those nasal passages are grated horseradish, Japanese wasabi mustard, or Golden Milk. Golden milk includes turmeric, which is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. How do you make golden milk? Place 2 cups coconut milk in a saucepan with 1 tsp dried turmeric, 1 tsp dried ginger, a dash of black pepper, and honey to taste. Bring to a simmer, allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve warm. Have you tried golden milk before? If so, let us know what you think!
If you feel yourself coming down with something like a cold or flu, this is NOT the time to be eating sugar, artificial sweeteners, or processed foods. Sugar is damaging to your immune system -- which needs to be boosted, not suppressed when you are combating an infection. So if you are fighting a cold, you'll want to avoid all sugar like the plague, and this includes sugar in the form of fruit juice and even grains (which break down as sugar in your body).
Stick with water, chicken broth, hot tea with honey and lemon, and if you can stomach food, make sure you are making every calorie count with nutrient-rich, whole foods. Be sure to get lots of rest and if you are up for it, get your body moving in some way to help you feel better.
Here's to hoping you have a wonderfully, healthy 2016!
Do you have any home remedies that your family swears by? Let me know!
Yours in Health & Happiness,