What Are the 7 Best Foods to Recover From an Illness?

Man with a beard feeling sick with indigestion and about to drop an effervescent tablet in a glass of water at home.

When you’re not feeling well, you generally lose your appetite, but there are some foods that can actually help you heal. (Image: Antoniodiaz via Dreamstime)

When you’re not feeling well, you generally lose your appetite. What’s the best food to eat when you’re unwell? What are the best foods to help you recover from an illness and help the body heal?

7 foods recommended by nutritionists to recover from an illness

1. Porridge

Oatmeal and other grains used to make porridge are great comfort foods. Grains are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients. Look for whole wheat, high protein, and high fiber products with low sugar content when you’re shopping. The ideal amount of fiber per serving should be five grams, with a sugar content of less than five grams. Making porridge with hot water or milk can be good when you want to recover from an illness, such as an upset stomach.

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2. Potatoes or sweet potatoes

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are both carbohydrate-rich foods that are easy to digest. They’re rich in Vitamin C and fiber which can help you recover from an illness. Warm baked potatoes and sweet potatoes are satisfying comfort foods at any time, not just when you’re sick! Adding a little cottage cheese or Greek yogurt gives this dish a healthy protein kick.

3. Hot chicken soup

Slow-cooked chicken soup is rich in protein and healthy fats that can replenish energy when you feel lethargic. A study by the Nebraska Medical Center in the U.S. shows that chicken soup can also assist in relieving respiratory symptoms and reducing inflammation.

Chicken soup is one of the best foods to eat to help you recover from an illness.
Chicken soup can assist in relieving respiratory symptoms and reducing inflammation. (Image: Oleg Bannikov via Dreamstime)

4. Ginger soup

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) says that ginger soup can relieve cold symptoms. Scientific studies have found that this is the case. Ginger can prevent colds, alleviate nasal congestion, reduce inflammation, and help you resist a sore throat or relieve the symptoms.

Ginger also contains many other ingredients, such as gingerol, which are good for the overall health of the body and can help you recover from an illness. In addition to homemade ginger soup, you can also make ginger tea using fresh organic ginger. The health benefits of this root are truly amazing!

5. Honey

Honey is a better sweetener to use when you’re not feeling well. Honey can be used in hot tea, added to hot water to make a sweet drink, or added to porridge instead of refined sugar. Elena Villanueave, the founder of Modern Holistic Health, says that the antibacterial properties of honey help to relieve colds and flu. Honey also helps to soothe a sore throat and relieve coughs.

6. Green tea

When you feel unwell, a cup of green tea can help to rehydrate and soothe a sore throat. Ryan D. Andrews, author of A Guide to Plant-Based Eating, also says that the quercetin in green tea can help to give your immune system a boost. Add honey to green tea for a delicious and healthy drink.

Green tea in two clear cups sitting on a wooden surface.
When you feel unwell, a cup of green tea can help to rehydrate and soothe a sore throat. (Image: Grafvision via Dreamstime)

7. Beans

Beans are high in protein and fiber and are also rich in zinc, which is good for your immune system. Chickpeas, lentils, and beans are all easily utilized as side dishes or even as a main dish. Nutritionist Bonne Taub-Dix, the author of Read It Before You Eat It, says: “We need to eat differently when we’re sick. We need to eat healthily but not increase the burden on the body to digest rich foods, so it’s best to stick to a simple diet.” She suggests that we should have easily digestible carbohydrates as our main foods, supplemented with foods full of nutrients and immune-boosting properties.

Translated by Patty Zhang

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