What to eat when you have a virus?

What to Eat When You Have a Virus?

When we are sick, we need to ensure that we are getting the right nutrients to help our body fight off the infection. The food we eat when we have a virus plays a significant role in determining how quickly we return to good health. This article discusses the best foods to eat when you have a virus, providing a list of easily accessible foods to help you cope with your symptoms and speed up your recovery.

Why is Nutrition Important When You Have a Virus?

Nutrition plays an essential role in keeping our immune system healthy. During a viral infection, our immune system works hard to fight off the disease, and that work requires energy and nutrients. Without sufficient nutrients, our immune system cannot function correctly, which can lead to longer recovery times and a higher risk of complications.

The Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

  • Garlic: Garlic has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help to boost your immune system.
  • Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce inflammation and improve digestion, which can be a problem when you are sick.
  • Chicken Soup: Chicken soup has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu.
  • Green Tea: Green tea contains antioxidants that can help to support your immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system, and citrus fruits are an excellent source of this vitamin. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are all great choices.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt contains probiotics, which can help to improve gut health and support your immune system.
  • Honey: Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can help to soothe a sore throat.
  • Bananas: Bananas are a great source of potassium, which can be beneficial when you are dehydrated due to flu or a stomach virus.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is easy to digest and can provide quick energy when you are feeling weak.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, which can help to boost your immune system.

What to Avoid When You’re Sick?

  • Processed Foods: Processed foods are high in refined sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats, which can make inflammation worse and lead to nutrient deficiencies.
  • Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you and cause more inflammation, making you feel worse.
  • Fried Foods: Fried foods have high amounts of unhealthy fats, which can promote inflammation in the body.
  • Dairy: Dairy products can increase mucus production, which can make respiratory symptoms worse.
  • Sugary Drinks: Sugary drinks are high in refined sugars, which can suppress your immune system and worsen inflammation in the body.

How to Rehydrate When You’re Sick

Staying hydrated is essential when you are sick. Dehydration can make you feel worse, and it can also lead to more severe symptoms. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • Drink Water: Water is the best way to stay hydrated. You should aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water per day when you are sick.
  • Drink Herbal Tea: Herbal teas can help to ease symptoms and provide hydration. Peppermint and chamomile teas are both great choices.
  • Drink Broth: Broth is a great way to get fluids and electrolytes when you are sick. Chicken or vegetable broth is an excellent choice.
  • Avoid Sugary Drinks: Sugary drinks can make dehydration worse, so it’s important to avoid them when you are sick.


In conclusion, when you have a virus, it’s important to eat nutrient-dense foods that help to support your immune system. Foods like garlic, ginger, chicken soup, green tea, citrus fruits, yogurt, honey, bananas, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes can help to speed up your recovery time and reduce your symptoms. You should also avoid processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods, dairy, and sugary drinks. Staying hydrated is also essential when you are sick, so drinking water, herbal tea, and broth are all great options. By following these simple tips, you can give your body the nutrients and hydration it needs to recover from a virus quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can I eat fruit when I’m sick?
  • Yes, eating fruit is essential when you are sick as they can provide essential vitamins and minerals to help you recover.

  • Is it okay to eat spicy food when I’m sick?
  • It’s best to avoid spicy food when you are sick as it can cause irritation to your throat and digestive system.

  • Can chocolate help when I’m sick?
  • Chocolate contains antioxidants that can help to support your immune system. However, it’s important to choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa as this contains the most antioxidants.

  • Should I take supplements when I’m sick?
  • While supplements can be beneficial, it’s best to focus on getting your nutrients through the food you eat. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are unsure if you need to take supplements.

  • Is it okay to have caffeine when I’m sick?
  • No, it’s best to avoid caffeine as it can cause dehydration, making your symptoms worse.

  • How much water should I be drinking when I’m sick?
  • You should aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water per day when you are sick.


  • https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-to-eat-when-sick
  • https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/eating-right-when-sick
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323007
  • https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/