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Best foods to eat when you’re sick

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Do you want tips on what types of food you should eat, and what to avoid during the Coronavirus pandemic? Read below and find out more.

Liquids

When you experience such symptoms, it is essential to stay hydrated; when people are sick they lose a lot of fluids. Dehydration is a risk for people who experience vomiting or diarrhoea as their body expels more liquids. 

  • Herbal teas are refreshing, and breathing in their steam can help clear mucus from the sinuses. Tea leaves are rich in natural plant compounds, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins which stimulate the immune system. 
  • Coconut water contains compounds like tannins which reduce inflammation; this can be beneficial for those who have an upset stomach where the stomach lining is inflamed. Additionally, coconut water is high in minerals such as sodium and potassium and can help the body rehydrate quickly after diarrhoea or vomiting.

Honey

Honey is rich in antimicrobials that help to clear these certain infections; studies have found that honey appeared to be more effective than diphenhydramine and salbutamol, which are drugs often used in cough medicines. 

Flavonoid-rich fruits

Fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, contain high levels of flavonoids and vitamin C. These can decrease inflammation and boost immunity, which may help to fight a fever.

Research has found that a flavonoid called quercetin, which is also found in berries, may help to treat infections. 

Ginger

Ginger is known to reduce the effects of nausea and vomiting. By adding 1-2 teaspoons of fresh ginger into warm water or herbal tea with honey can benefit health by reducing inflammation.

Food to avoid

  • Dairy can increase mucus production which can worsen sinus congestion. Additionally, dairy products contain sugar, lactose that can be difficult to digest after diarrhoea, causing bloating and nausea.
  • Greasy food is high in fats, which are difficult to digest and can irritate the stomach, worsening nausea.
  • Chillies contain capsaicin, a chemical that can irritate the lining of the stomach, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Caffeine can cause dehydration, however certain caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee which have immune-boosting antioxidants can be beneficial. Caffeine also acts as a muscle stimulant that causes stomach cramps and can increase bowel movements.
  • Alcohol is not only dehydrating but can also trigger an inflammatory response, which may aggravate cold and flu symptoms.

Eating right is a start, and there are other things you can do to protect you and your family from viruses.

Isha Patel, BSc Nutrition

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