Want to know what to eat when sick? This list has 12 fantastic foods and ingredients that should be on your menu.

When not feeling well, some of the most important things you can do to feel better and recover quicker are to rest, drink plenty of fluids and fuel your body with healthy foods.

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Why what you eat is important?

No one likes or wants to be sick and when it happens, a speedy recovery is all you want.  And good food choices are a big part of that. That’s why it’s imperative to choose foods known for boosting your immune system, fighting off the illness, and setting you back on the road to wellness. 

Why sickness fighting ingredients matter?

While no food alone can cure sickness, eating the right foods can support your body’s immune functioning helping relieve certain symptoms. These foods have that extra bit of magic elixir that goes above and beyond what others may offer.

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These are the best foods to eat when sick:

1. Chicken Soup

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

All food lists advising what to eat when sick include chicken soup.  This perennial favorite is a must when under the weather as it provides fluids and electrolytes along with anti-inflammatory properties propping up your immune system.  You can use canned chicken soup but the best tasting is homemade

2. Garlic

Best Foods to Eat When Sick

Raw garlic is a natural remedy for fighting colds and flu.  If you don’t mind bad breath, one popular fold remedy is to eat a spoonful of raw, chopped garlic cloves – garlic contains a powerful antibacterial compound called allicin which is thought to improve immune functioning.

3. Green Tea

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

There are various compounds in green tea that may stimulate your immune system and may slow down the growth and proliferation of some pathogens.  Plus it provides fluids we need when not feeling well.

4. Honey

Best Foods to Eat When Sick

If you have a cough, remember to try honey. There have been studies showing that honey is effective at reducing cough frequency and improving sleep quality. Honey does have a soothing effect on the throat and when mixed with lemon juice – it’s a great combo providing natural, soothing relief and easing discomfort. Never give honey to an infant younger than 1 year of age as it carries a risk of botulism.

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5. Broth

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

Similar to chicken soup, broths are excellent sources of hydration when feeling sick. Rich in flavor, they also contain vitamins and minerals along with potassium and phosphorus. They also make you feel satisfied without feeling overly full if your tummy is queasy.

6. Coconut Water

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

Here is another excellent food for hydration, particularly if you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or running a fever. This sweet and flavorful drink not only contains glucose but also electrolytes needed for re-hydration. 

7. Ginger

Best Foods to Eat When Sick

If you’re feeling nauseated or throwing up, reach for ginger. It has been shown to be effective for relieving nausea in addition to having antioxidant and antimicrobial effects.

8. Bananas

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

Looking for food that is ready to eat?  Bananas are your answer.  Easy to chew and bland in flavor, bananas provide some soluble fiber which can help to relieve diarrhea while still providing calories and nutrients. 

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9. Oatmeal

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

Here is another bland but not boring food to eat when sick. Oatmeal not only will provide calories, vitamins, and minerals but also can stimulate the immune system by decreasing inflammation in the gut. This just might help relieve any symptoms of intestinal cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.

10. Yogurt

Best Foods to Eat When Sick

Here is an excellent food to eat when sick. The probiotics found in yogurt can create a healthier gut while improving immune function. It is also rich in important nutrients of calcium, potassium, and protein. 

11. Avocados

What to Eat When Sick: 12 Foods That Can Help You Recover

The only fruit to contain fat yet that fat it contains provides a substance called oleic acid, helping to reduce inflammation which plays a role in immune function. Its healthy monounsaturated fat is the same type found in olive oil and avocados are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

12. Berries

Best Foods to Eat When Sick

All fruit can be beneficial when sick – each is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, supporting your body and immune system. But berries rise to the top and should be by your bedside when not feeling well. The reason? Berries contain a compound called anthocyanins, known for having anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-boosting effects. Anthocyanins also provide the vibrant red, blue and purple colors of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and blackberries. 

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Several studies have found that fruit extracts high in anthocyanins can inhibit common viruses and bacteria from attaching to cells. They also stimulate the body’s immune response meaning you are likely to have a speedier recovery.

Be sure to add some berries to a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt or blend frozen berries into a cold smoothing to soothe a sore throat.