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What Foods to Eat (and Avoid) When Sick

By Sara Butler

When you're feeling sick it's a good time to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to fight off what is ailing it. Food isn't a magical cure for any illness, but it is a tool that you can use to help soothe your symptoms as you support the hard work your body is trying to do in order to recover. Here are a few foods you should eat when you're sick and a few you should avoid.


When fighting off an illness, staying hydrated is key. Staying hydrated helps your body to work optimally, carrying nutrients to cells and helping to carry away the waste.

Water is a great choice, of course, but if you want something that feels a little more soothing to a sore throat or upset stomach, then try some tea. Peppermint tea can be a good choice when your stomach is upset or black tea if you're dealing with inflammation in your throat. Green tea is a good all-around choice as well.


If you want to add little sweetness to your tea (or anything else), then try honey. Honey contains natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help to fight off illness a bit faster. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help calm a cough or soothe a sore throat. Just make sure not to give it to a child under the age of 1, as honey is not pasteurized and can make them ill.  And remember that honey is sugar, so use it sparingly.


Garlic is good for more than fighting off vampires! It's also good for supporting a healthy immune system. It has natural antibacterial properties and contains antioxidants that are great for fighting off infection. So, use garlic in the foods you eat when ill to help support your body.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods aren't great choices when you're sick because they may do more harm than good to a body that is working to fight off illness. You should avoid:

  • Artificial sweeteners - These aren't good for your gut health and gut health is essential to your immune system function
  • Dairy - Dairy is normally good for you, but if you've got a lot of congestion, then it can make it worse
  • Caffeine - Too much caffeine can cause dehydration and that's the opposite of what you want when fighting off illness

When you're sick, eat the foods that will help support your body in its hard work to recover.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Orlando, Fla.

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