What to Eat When Sick? – Best Foods for Illness

best foods when sick

No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.” Foods are much more than providing energy. When you are sick, it is essential to eat the right foods. Here is an article with the best foods when sick. 

Running nose, itchy throat, and fever. Is this how you are feeling? If yes, then how about having a bowl of chicken soup? We understand that it could be challenging to develop an appetite when feeling sick. Nevertheless, it is essential to provide proper nutrition to our body, stay hydrated, and receive nourishment when feeling sick. 

Some foods have powerful properties that render support to your body while fighting the sickness. Moreover, they relieve certain symptoms and help the body to heal more quickly. 

Best Foods When Sick

Different types of foods can help to fight different types of illnesses. Now you must be thinking, what are the best foods when sick? What to eat when you have a cold? Relax! We have rounded up the best foods when sick. 


Broths are an amazing source of hydration when you are sick. They are loaded with flavors and rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, folate, and magnesium. Moreover, they can also contain calories. 

You should consume broth when they are hot as they act as a natural decongestant due to the presence of hot steam. 

Drinking broth is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. Moreover, they contain rich flavors which can help you to feel satisfied. It is highly beneficial if your stomach is upset, and you can not consume solid foods. 

Pro Tip – If you have salt sensitivity, make sure to purchase a low-sodium variety of broth. Most of the varieties are very high in salt. So check the ingredients before buying them.

It is a good idea to develop broth from scratch. It has more benefits like it is high in calories, nutrient content, and protein. 

Chicken Soups

Chicken soup is one of the best foods when sick. They are a perfect remedy for essential for the common cold and have been used for remedies for centuries and due to good reason. 

Chicken soup is a rich source of protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals. Our body needs these nutrients in larger amounts when they are sick (Source). 

It is loaded with fluids and electrolytes; both of these are essential for hydration in case you have to go to the bathroom again and again. If you have a fever, your body will need more fluids. 

Chicken soup is one of the best foods to eat when sick. It is highly effective in clearing nasal mucus as compared to other liquids. It is a natural decongestant as it offers hot steam. Moreover, it is loaded with amino acid cysteine, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects.

Coconut Water

When you are sick, it is essential to stay hydrated. Hydration is especially essential when you have diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or sweating, which leads you to lose a lot of electrolytes and water (Source). Due to hydrating properties, coconut water is popularly used in healthy breakfast smoothie recipes for weight loss

Coconut water is the perfect choice when you are sick. It is not only sweet and flavorful but also contains electrolytes and glucose, which are needed for rehydration. 

Various studies present evidence that water helps to rehydrate the body after mild cases of diarrhea. Moreover, it does not cause stomach discomfort like other similar drinks. 

To succinctly describe, coconut water has a delicious and sweet flavor. In addition to this, it provides electrolytes and fluids that our body needs to stay hydrated when sick.  


Garlic provides a wide range of health benefits. It is one of the best foods for diabetics. It has been popularly used as a medicinal herb for centuries as it demonstrates antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial effects (Source). Moreover, garlic also has the property to stimulate the immune system. 

Pro Tip – Adding some quantity of ginger to your everyday diet can help to boost the immune system (Source). 

Adding garlic to broth or chicken soup can help to add flavor and make them highly effective at fighting the symptoms of cold and flu. 

Garlic is highly beneficial to fight viruses, bacteria and to stimulate the immune system. It helps to avoid illness and recover faster in case of sickness. 

Hot Tea

Tea is one of the best foods to consume when sick. It is highly beneficial for symptoms related to cold and flu. Liks chicken soup, hot tea is a natural decongestant that helps to clean the sinuses of mucus. 

Pro Tip – Hot tea acts as a decongestant, but it should not be too hot as it can irritate your throat. 

You do not have to worry that tea will dehydrate your body. Though some teas do not contain caffeine, the amount is too low to cause increased water loss. 

So, opt for sipping tea when sick as it not only helps to stay hydrated but also relieves the congestion. 

Tea is also rich in polyphenols. They are natural substances present in plants and have a wide range of health benefits. Polyphenols are loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects. 

There are different types of teas, and they have different benefits. Echinacea tea is good to shorten the duration of cold or flu. Lemon balm tea is highly beneficial in treating cold sores. Moreover, black tea can reduce bacterial growth in the throat. 


Ginger is popular for its anti-nausea effects. Moreover, it is the best thing to eat when sick. Due to this reason, it is one of the best remedies to ease a hangover. It has remarkable effects to relieve nausea related to cancer treatment and pregnancy. 

Ginger has antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial effects. So if you are feeling nauseous, ginger is the best food to alleviate the symptoms. 

You can buy some ginger ale from the store to get the benefits. Moreover, you can also add fresh ginger to your food or brew some ginger to your everyday tea. 


Honey is loaded with antimicrobial compounds due to which have potent antibacterial effects. Moreover, it has strong antibacterial effects, due to which it has been popularly used for wound dressing. 

Certain studies present evidence that honey is beneficial to stimulate the immune system. Due to these qualities, honey is a good food to eat when sick. In case you have a sore throat as a result of a bacterial infection, honey is the best food for you. 

Moreover, honey is also beneficial to relieve coughing in children over the age of 12 months. Honey is thought to be beneficial to relieve cough as it is loaded with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. 


Avocado is a unique fruit as it is high in fat but low in carbs. It is rich in healthy monounsaturated fat. Moreover, avocado is loaded with fiber, minerals, and vitamins.  

Avocado is one of the best foods when sick as it provides vitamins, minerals, and calories that our body needs. They are soft and easy to consume.

As healthy fats present in avocado contain oleic acid, which helps to decrease inflammation. Moreover, it also plays an essential role in immune functions, which makes them the best foods to eat when sick. 

Certain Fruits

Fruits can be highly beneficial when sick. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which support our immune system and body. Some fruits are also rich in compounds called anthocyanins. These flavonoids provide red, blue, and purple colors to the fruits. 

Anthocyanins are responsible for making berries excellent sick food as they have potent anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and antiviral effects. 

Pomegranates are loaded with antiviral and antibacterial effects, which help to inhibit food-borne viruses and bacteria. It is a good idea to add fruits to a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal. 


Salmons are loaded with protein, which makes them the perfect answer to the question of what to eat when you have a cold. 

Salmon is soft and rich in high-quality protein, which is a must for our body. It is specifically loaded in omega-3 fatty acid. It has potent anti-inflammatory effects. 

Moreover, it is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. It plays a significant role in our immune function. 

Green Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that our body needs when we are sick. They are the best food when sick. 

Leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce, late, and spinach are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate. Moreover, they also have antibacterial properties. 


Oatmeal is easy to eat, and it provides all the essential calories, vitamins, and minerals that our body needs when sick. 

It provides some robust health benefits like improving blood sugar content and stimulating the immune system. 

Pro Tip – Avoid artificially flavored oatmeal that contains added sugar. Rather, add some amount of fruits or honey to get more benefits. 

Final Words

Resting, getting proper nutrition, and drinking fluids are some of the important things to do in order to feel better. Consuming some foods when sick can help you to recover fast. Though no food alone can help cure sickness, eating specific foods can help relieve certain symptoms and boost our body’s immune system.