When you have the flu, probably the last thing on your mind is eating.  While a reduced appetite is completely normal, your body still needs nutrients to aid in the recovery process. Below is a guide on what you should eat and drink as well as what to avoid if you come down with the dreaded seasonal flu.

Most importantly: Stay hydrated.

Dehydration is a common side effect of the flu — not only do you eat and drink less when you’re sick, but you also lose water when you have a fever.  Fluids are extremely important for bodily functions in general, but they also aid in breaking up congestion.  When it comes to hydration (when you’re sick and healthy) water is the best option. However, if you’re craving something with flavor, herbal teas and broths are also good alternatives.

What foods to eat when you have the flu

Food gives your body the energy and nutrients it needs to function and combat the flu virus.  These are good options to nourish your ailing body when you’re fighting the flu:

  1. Since it’s a liquid, broth is easier to stomach than most foods at the onset of the flu. It helps prevent dehydration, and can help soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion.
  2. Chicken noodle soup. It’s the classic go-to for a reason: it combines the benefits of broth with additional, healthy ingredients. Chicken provides iron and protein, and there are added nutrients in the carrots, herbs, and celery.
  3. Leafy greens. Although a salad is likely the last thing you’ll crave, consider whipping up a smoothie with kale and/or spinach.  Leafy greans boost the immune system with vitamin C and E.
  4. Garlic supplements in adults with the flu have shown to enhance immunity and reduced symptom severity.
  5. Fruits with vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to boost your immune system. Strawberries and citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.

 What foods to avoid when you have the flu

  1. Alcohol causes dehydration and lowers your immune system’s capabilities.
  2. Coffee, black teas, and caffeinated sodas can make you more dehydrated.
  3. Processed foods. Processed foods often offer little to no nutrients, which won’t help your immune system rebuild.  Focus on a diet of wholesome, nutritious veggies, fruits and whole grains.