When you are not feeling well, all you want to do is rest and sleep the symptoms away. Nonetheless, an important element of recovery is giving your body foods to help fight the illness.

For this purpose, some foods are better than others. While some foods help you feel better, there are others you should avoid for the time being.


What Are Good Foods to Eat When You’re Sick?

Taking care of yourself when you have a terrible flu or fever can be tricky, especially when your mind and body are tired. Eating is probably the last thing you want to do.

But if you want to heal quickly, it’s best to eat regular meals, making sure you consume nutrient-rich food that’s easy on your stomach.

Here are some of the best foods to eat when you are feeling under the weather:

Bowl of broth with herbs

1. Chicken Soup

When you were younger, your mother or grandmother probably made chicken soup when you were sick. Chicken soup is loaded with everything you need, like proteins vitamins and minerals you need to recover quickly. It can also help with hydration, especially if you are vomiting or have diarrhea. Bone broth and vegetable soups are also helpful. So, even if you have to make them yourself, be sure to include these foods.


bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries next to bowl of blueberries and a spoon

2. Oatmeal

A great soft food to eat when sick is oatmeal. This simple dish will help you feel better and fuller, so you can rest peacefully for longer periods. This nutritious porridge is about as easy as cooking can get, so it’s great if you lack the energy for more complex dishes.

Oatmeal is rich in some of the best immune-boosting essentials, like copper, fiber, iron, protein, selenium, and zinc. Oatmeal also contains beta-glucan, which can help reduce inflammation in your gut and improve your overall appetite.


up close on woman's hands scooping a bite of yogurt with spoon

3. Yogurt

One of the best foods to eat when sick is yogurt, primarily for its high probiotic content. These good bacteria support your immune system and help you recover.

Studies have proven probiotics’ abilities to boost immunity. This makes yogurt an excellent food to support gut health, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and even limit anxiety and stress—common emotions when you are sick. Just make sure to pick a yogurt that contains live and active cultures.


a honey dipper dripping into a bowl of honey

4. Honey

Another pantry staple you can eat when feeling ill is honey. It is especially beneficial if you have a cough or sore throat. It has antibacterial properties that help fight infection and boost your immune system.

You can mix honey with herbal tea to hydrate or soothe a sore throat. You can also add it as a sweetener to a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal.


avocado halves propped up against each other with insides visible

5. Avocados

Treat yourself by indulging in some avocados. Yes, this go-to topping for your breakfast toast can also help make you feel better, thanks to its generous amount of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.

Avocados are easy to consume because they are soft and relatively bland, and require little preparation. A few servings of avocados while you’re sick can reduce the inflammation in your body that contributes to your illness.


Foods You Shouldn’t Eat When Sick

Understanding the worst foods to eat when sick is equally crucial because certain foods can make some symptoms worse—no one wants that. A little awareness of what food to avoid can make a big difference in your recovery:

1. Acidic Food

Citrus-y foods like orange juice and a healthy tomato soup may seem good for you when you are sick. After all, they are rich in Vitamin C, which boosts your immune system. Still, it’s best to save these acidic foods for better and healthier days.

Too much acid in your diet may make you feel sicker, especially if you are experiencing stomach flu, vomiting, and nausea. They can also lead to a worse sore throat after bouts of throwing up. It’s best to stick to foods that are easy on your tummy.

infographic of the worst foods to eat when sick

2. Fatty and Greasy Food

When you are sick, you may be more inclined to eat junk food—not necessarily to keep the pain away, but to make you feel happy. Fight the urge! Foods with high saturated fats are hard to digest in the best of times, and even more so when you’re ill. These foods can make you feel upset your stomach and lead to bloating.

3. Dairy

Scale back on dairy when you have the flu. Milk and cheese products tend to thicken phlegm, making it harder to expel. It can even lead to worse congestion.

4. Caffeinated Drinks

It is imperative to keep hydrated when sick, but you should stick with unflavored and non-caffeinated drinks. Skip the coffee, energy drinks, alcohol, and soda because they can dehydrate your body and weaken your immune system. Water and non-caffeinated tea are the best hydration options when you’re sick.

5. Sweets

Most comfort foods are loaded with sugar. Despite giving you a temporary dose of happiness, it is better to avoid candy, chocolate, and cookies altogether when you are not well. These sugary treats can further inflame your stomach and make your immune system work harder than it already is.



Being sick is not at all pleasant; don't make it worse by indulging in just any food you want to eat. It pays to be conscious of what you consume, as nutritious foods will help with recovery and make you feel better faster.

Give your body some much-needed TLC and eat the best foods you can find.

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