When a person is down with flu, food is usually the last thing on his or her mind, since lack of appetite is actually one of common flu symptoms. However, food is very important and it greatly defines a way in which the body will function and how healthy it will be. This is even more true during illnesses. Food is a fuel for the body, used to perform all the functions that are required for healing. The body needs to be allowed to heal, through rest and proper nutrition. It is clear now that diet plays a very important role in the process of recovering from illnesses.
Certain foods have the ability to boost the immune system, which leads to speedier recovery, while others have adverse effects and actually make the flu symptoms worse.
Foods to eat during flu
During the first few days of the disease, most people hardly eat anything at all. But as the virus grows weaker and the symptoms start subsiding, it is important to eat foods that will aid the recuperation from the flu. Warm broth is one such food. It is nutritious, mild, makes it easier to breathe and relieves the pressure from the sinuses. Chicken or vegetable soup and warm tea have the same effect.
The body needs a lot of vitamins at this point so it is recommended to eat plenty of salads made from fresh vegetables, preferably cabbage, peppers and tomatoes, as well as sliced fresh fruit and freshly squeezed juices. Berries are packed with vitamins, and so are citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges and tangerines. All the food should be mild, not heavily seasoned. Juices should not be sweetened. Fish is also recommended, especially if baked or broiled. When it comes to meats, it is recommended to stick with lean meats and poultry.
Foods to avoid during flu
One of the common mistakes people make during illnesses like flu is to indulge in foods that are not generally perceived as very healthy. Most of such feel-good foods, like chips, pizza, burgers, candy, snacks and similar, are not very nutritious and they are packed with salt, sugar and artificial additives. Because of that, not only they do not promote recovery from flu, but they actually slow down the healing processes and even make some of the symptoms worse.
Foods to avoid during flu include sodas, alcohol, coffee, black tea, sugar, candy, ice cream, deep-fried foods, very salty and very spicy foods. Spicy foods may help with nasal congestion but they also irritate the throat that is already sore. Another group of foods to avoid during flu are dairy products, because they make the mucus in the nose and lungs thicker and harder to expel.