When you or a loved one has the flu, the last thing you may feel like doing is eating. It’s certainly okay to eat a little less with the flu, as you likely have a reduced appetite.
Still, you’ll need to eat small amounts of the right foods to provide you with energy and nutrients while you recover.
Consider eating the following foods when you have the flu.
While you might think of garlic as a food-flavoring agent, it’s actually been used in alternative medicine for a variety of ailments for centuries. One study of garlic supplements in adults with the flu found enhanced immunity and reduced symptom severity.
You don’t necessarily have to take supplements, though. Eating raw garlic may also be beneficial. Due to the immune-enhancing effects, consider eating garlic at the first signs of the flu.
- Vitamin C–containing fruits
Vitamin C is an important nutrient to help boost your immune system, which is especially important when you’re sick. While supplements can help, your body can absorb nutrients like vitamin C more effectively from the foods you eat. Consider snacking on vitamin C–rich fruits while you have the flu. Some fruits high in vitamin C include strawberries, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
- Leafy greens
Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens can also help boost your immune system when you have the flu. They have both vitamin C and vitamin E, another immune-enhancing nutrient. Consider combining leafy greens with fruit in a smoothie, or eat them raw with a drizzle of lemon and olive oil. It’s best to eat these immune-boosting foods throughout the duration of your illness.
When you’re sick, a hot bowl of oatmeal can be a soothing, nutritious food choice. Oatmeal, like other whole grains, is also a natural source of immune-boosting vitamin E. It also contains polyphenol antioxidants as well as immune-strengthening beta-glucan fiber.
Choose whole oats for the most benefits.