Best Foods for Recovery


Being sick is the worst, especially in college when there are so many other things students would rather being doing. Although it is common to lose your appetite when you’re sick, good nutrition is actually an essential part of recovery! During illness the body uses nutrients faster than usual to repair the immune system. Sickness, fever, and infections increase your metabolism by about seven percent for each degree the body temperature rises above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore if sick people do not eat enough, they end up using their own body fat and muscles for energy and nutrients. Without proper nutrition, the immune system becomes less effective and less able to fight infections. Here are suggestions for what to eat to get on a speedy road to recovery.

Common cold (runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough and/or mild fatigue):

  • Hydration is incredibly important with a cold. Water is an option, however it is not the only way to hydrate. Tea and broth are both excellent options. Juice with vitamin C will help your immune system, but should be diluted with water to cut down sugar content, which can hinder immunity.
  • A Mediterranean style diet, with small amounts of lean meat, plenty of vegetables and fruit of different types and colors as well as monounsaturated fats, can help the body clean up the chemicals that cause the inflammation
  • Vitamin A has an antioxidant effect, and helps boost your immune system. Vitamin B complex helps with the formation of antibodies (another boost to your immune system), iron prevents anemia and zinc helps with cell formation.

Flu-like symptoms (low-grade fever, achy or cramping muscles, nausea, and headache):

  • Prevent dehydration by drinking 8 to 12 cups of liquid a day. If drinking is difficult, take a teaspoon of liquid every minute or so. Water can be absorbed by the tissues of the mouth without entering the stomach.
  • Avoid dairy products, fatty and greasy foods, fried foods, highly seasoned food, caffeine, and alcohol until you have returned to normal. These can irritate the stomach easily.
  • Try having more frequent meals, or little snacks throughout the day, like a piece of toast, then some milk, and later on a piece of fruit. Chicken soup is also an excellent mini-meal. There are even some tests in recent literature that suggest that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties caused by viral infections.
  • To recover from an upset stomach, start with the Stage 1 foods below and slowly advance to Stage 2.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)Club sodaSports drinks (low-sugar)Tea (without milk or cream)Honey


Hard candy

Fruit juice


Bread, bagels, rolls, tortillasCheeseCerealsCrackers (low fat and low fiber)Cereals (low fat and low fiber)


Fruits and vegetables (without skin)

Lean meats (unseasoned)

Muffins (low fat and low fiber)

Tofu and soy-based products

Pasta, noodles, and rice

Soup (chicken, beef and/or vegetable)

Tomato soup (water-based)


3 thoughts on “Best Foods for Recovery

  1. Good information. Didn’t know the thing about metabolism while sick. Love the hydration tips. I always enjoy your posts.

  2. Having just recovered from the flu, I appreciate the timing of this blog. Everyone said have some chicken soup, but I didn’t realize that it has anti-inflammatory properties. This is encouraging. Also I never knew that water can be absorbed through the mouth and taking a teaspoon each minute or so helps to keep you hydrated and won’t bother your stomach as much. I am wondering if there is a good way to keep your spirits up since after the third miserable day, things looked bleak. Scary news on television did not help much. I wanted to sip some coffee but wasn’t sure that would make things better or worse. Any thoughts on this?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: