Flu2Cold and flu infections usually get better within a couple of weeks without treatment. However, continuing to eat healthy foods while the symptoms of a cold or flu resolve is important for ensuring you recover as quickly as possible. Some foods and drinks can also help relieve symptoms.

You may not feel like eating as much as you usually do if you have a common cold, and influenza infection may cause you to lose your appetite. So eating enough nutritious food can be challenging. Knowing about foods and drinks which help relieve symptoms while they give your body the energy and nutrients it needs to fight the cold or flu can make it easier.

What to drink when you have cold or flu

Water is the best fluid to drink when you have a cold or flu as it helps lubricate the mucous membranes of the throat. Hot drinks are also a good choice as the hot steam they produce can relieve congestion. Other fluids which are good options during cold and flu infection include:

Food and drink for cold and flu image Juice;
Ginger ale;
Herbal tea;
Honey and lemon tea – mix lemon and honey with a cup of hot water;
Ginger tea.

Milk and dairy

Many people believe that milk and dairy products increase congestion and should be avoided when you have a cold or flu; however, this is not the case. There is no need to stop eating or drinking dairy.

Eating enough healthy foods is an important component of managing cold and flu symptoms. Although your appetite will probably be reduced if you have a cold or flu, your body actually needs more energy and nutrients to help it fight the infection. Your body’s energy requirement will be highest if you have a fever. For example, in adults the amount of energy the body uses is estimated to increase by 13% for every 1oC increase in body temperature. Because your body is using more energy but you are probably not eating as much, you may lose weight temporarily during periods of cold and flu infection.

You do not need to follow a special diet or eat particular foods when you have cold and flu, but you should:

Eat nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables;
Consume foods which boost the immune system;
Eat foods which may help relieve cold and flu symptoms like congestion; and
Consume soft foods which are easier to swallow with a sore throat.

Food and drink for cold and flu

A healthy immune system not only helps prevent cold and flu infections, it also helps prevent serious complications and ensures rapid recovery when they do occur. Foods which have been shown to boost the immune system include:

Salmon and tuna;
Flaxseeds and walnuts;
Olive, canola and walnut oil.

Foods with vitamin C

Vitamin C rich foods also help boost the immune system. They include:

Oranges and grapefruits;
Paw paw;

Vitamin E foods

Vitamin E rich foods also play an important role in supporting the immune system. They include:

Leafy greens such as spinach, brussel sprouts and collards;
Almonds and sunflower seeds;
Whole grains.

Selenium rich foods

Selenium is an important immune-related micro nutrient. Selenium rich foods include:

Brazil nuts.

Food variety

Eating a colorful variety of food is a good way to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. For example, you should include different colored fruits and vegetables (red, yellow, orange, green, purple) in your diet.

Chicken soup

Although eating chicken soup was once thought to be merely an old wives’ tale, it has been scientifically shown to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. It reduces inflammation, which in turn helps clear mucus and reduces congestion. In addition, the hot steam from chicken soup can help relieve congestion and this may be its chief advantage for relieving the symptoms of cold and flu. Chicken soup recipe for a warming chicken and vegetable soup recipe, see Chicken and Vegetable Soup.

Spicy foods

Spicy foods may help relieve blocked sinuses. They include foods containing horseradish and hot peppers.


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