No matter how many vitamins we take or glasses of water we drink, we will all inevitably become sick at one point or another. And when we do get sick, the last thing we want to do eat something that will only make us feel worse.

Thankfully, it is still possible to eat certain foods to nourish us through our illness. If something is ailing you, there are certain foods you should eat to fuel your recovery. 

Stomach Virus or Food Poisoning

rye, sandwich, wheat, bread, toast
Jocelyn Hsu

While suffering from a short spell of food poisoning, I struggled to find any food that didn't upset my stomach even more. While researching foods I could eat, I discovered the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast), and made those my staple foods for the next few days.

It is recommended to avoid any dairy or fried foods while still sick. You should slowly reintroduce those foods after you've recovered. And yes, you should also avoid alcohol.


jam, oil, tea
Jocelyn Hsu

Though the flu is quite common, essentially any illness that leads to a sore throat can fall under this category. Liquids such as peppermint tea have anesthetic effects, meaning it can gently numb your throat from stinging pain. Other liquid-y foods such as yogurt and creamy soups are easier and less painful to swallow.

Acidic and dry foods should be avoided as they can further irritate the throat. Though dairy may not necessarily irritate your throat, it can increase mucus production, which may strain your throat.

Muscle Soreness

vegetable, banana
Delissa Handoko

While not necessarily an illness, muscle fatigue can be a symptom of sickness, exercise, or even age. The best thing to consume are foods containing magnesium or calcium: foods like yogurt, bananas, avocados, leafy greens, and unrefined grains.

It is especially important to avoid anything that can dehydrate you while your muscles are recovering. Unfortunately, this does include both coffee and alcohol.

Upper Respiratory Infections

soup, broth, chicken, vegetable, meat
Jocelyn Hsu

The common cold, laryngitis, and bronchitis are all examples of an acute upper respiratory infection. The best thing to eat is - you guessed it - chicken noodle soup. Leafy greens and citrus can help boost your immune system, while Omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon and nuts) can reduce nasal inflammation.

Just like with the flu, avoid dairy to avoid producing more mucus. Yogurt, however, can be eaten in small doses to help with your immune system.


apple, pasture, juice, sweet, vegetable
Olivia Mattyasovszky

Constipation occurs when you are not consuming enough daily fiber, which can easily be solved by eating fiber-rich foods. Whole wheat grains, broccoli, apples, and beans are excellent sources of fiber and are easy to incorporate into everyday meals. Accompany these foods with at least six glasses of water per day.

Dairy, iron, and even some medications can worsen constipation. As with every medication, always consult your physician about possible side effects.

Monitoring consumption is key to achieve a balanced diet, which can help maintain a healthy state. However, when we do get sick, it is best to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and eat foods that will not amplify the pain of our symptoms. Here's to a short flu season and quick recoveries through food for all.