Share diet and nutrition tips in the Stories format.

A Complete List of Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You Feel Sick

Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You Feel Sick
Changes in the weather, disrupted schedule, unhealthy habits, stress, or simply wear and tear of the body, often cause people to fall sick. During these difficult times, you are required to take some rest, medication, and adopt correct eating habits. Food can help you recover faster by boosting your immunity level.
Shruti Bhat
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
ketchup history
In the 1800s, ketchup was used as a medicine to treat diarrhea, jaundice, and indigestion, and were also sold as tomato pills. But it turned out the ketchup pills were fraudulent, and instead of curing any ailment, they turned out to be laxatives.
When you're feeling under the weather, food is often the last thing on your mind. However, eating the right foods can actually help you recover faster by boosting your immunity.
Food that provides the body with important nutrients and helps your immunity to kick back into action, are the right kinds of food that you need to have when you are sick. Studies and research has shown that there are certain foods that you need consume for a quick recovery. Similarly, there are certain kinds of foods that you need to avoid because they hamper the recovery process.
If You Have Diarrhea
The probable causes of diarrhea are stomach flu, bacterial infection, heat, or food that was not acceptable to your digestive system. Whatever, be the cause, salts, dehydration, and loss of important minerals from the body need to be avoided.
Best Foods for Diarrhea
best foods for diarrhea
  • Lemonade
  • BRAT diet: Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast
  • Oatmeal
  • Coconut water
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Saltine crackers
  • Baked chicken or turkey (without skin)
  • Probiotics
  • Water
  • Juices
Worst Foods for Diarrhea
worst foods for diarrhea
  • Alcohol
  • Sugarless candy/gum
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Beans
  • Milk
  • Caffeine
If You Are Constipated
Constipation can occur due to inadequate water and fiber intake, disruption in diet or routine, inadequate exercise, excess intake of dairy and dairy products, stress, etc.
Best Foods for Constipation
best foods for constipation
  • Fermented foods like pickle, sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Whole grain breads
  • Beans and broccoli
  • Flaxseed and nuts
  • Pears and apples
  • Oatmeal
  • 6 - 8 glasses of water
  • Probiotics
Worst Foods for Constipation
worst foods for constipation
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy and dairy products
  • Iron supplements
  • Sugar
If You Have a Stuffy Nose
Sinus congestion or nasal congestion is one of the symptoms of cold. Steamy showers, moisturize the mucous membranes and speed up the cilia movement, which further helps in washing away the mucus out of the sinuses.
Best Foods for a Stuffy Nose
best foods for a stuffy nose
  • Ginger
  • Apple cider and lemon in water
  • Soups and broths
  • Honey
  • Golden milk*
  • Elderberry, yarrow root, peppermint, or ginger tea

* To make golden milk, in a saucepan add a teaspoon of dried turmeric powder, dried ginger, a dash of black pepper, and some honey to taste, to 2 cups of coconut milk. Bring this mixture to a simmer and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before serving it warm.
Worst Foods for a Stuffy Nose
worst foods for a stuffy nose
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products
  • Starchy and greasy food
If You Are Nauseous
Nausea or queasiness is experienced as a result of travel or motion sickness. It is also a side effect of chemotherapy, or it can be a symptom of flu and even pregnancy. Though food is the last thing on your mind when nauseous, it can actually reduce the uneasiness by calming the stomach acids.
Best Foods for Nausea
best foods for nausea
  • Saltine crackers
  • Ginger, peppermint, or lemon tea
  • Lemon slice
  • Peppermint oil or leaves
  • Sliver of ginger
Worst Foods for Nausea
worst foods for nausea
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Greasy food
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
If You Have Aches and Pains
Muscle aches and pains can be a symptom of fever, fatigue, overexertion, etc. However, foods containing magnesium or calcium can help repair the aching muscles and provide some relief.
Best Foods for Aches and Pains
best foods for aches and pains
  • Homemade bone broth
  • Seaweed and green leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Nuts, and seeds
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Canned salmon
  • Yogurt
  • Orange juice
Worst Foods for Aches and Pains
worst foods for aches and pains
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
If You Have an Earache
Earaches can be caused due to fluid buildup, infection, throat infection, blockage, or injury. It can also be a symptom of cold. Certain foods can help clear off the congestion, providing some relief from the ear pain.
Best Foods for an Earache
best foods for an earache
  • Spicy hot chicken soup
  • Homemade bone broth soup
  • Salmon
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
Worst Foods for an Earache
worst foods for an earache
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products- except yogurt
  • Processed and packaged food
If You Have A Headache
Contrary to popular belief, coffee or caffeine does not help cure a headache. In fact, it often aggravates the pain as it dehydrates your body. In fact, headaches are often triggered by dehydration and deficiency of magnesium and vitamin B2.
Best Foods for a Headache
best foods for a harache
  • Water
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Flax seed
  • Buckwheat
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
Worst Foods for a Headache
worst foods for a headache
  • Alcohol
  • MSG
  • Caffeine
  • Sweeteners
  • Aged cheeses
  • Chocolate
  • Red wine
  • Processed meats
  • Dried fruits
If You Have A Rash
Itchy rashes are often a symptom of an allergic reaction. Consult a doctor and identify the root cause of it. To alleviate the symptoms, and prevent further aggravation, here are the foods to have and avoid.
Best Foods for a Rash
best foods for a rash
  • Salmon, anchovies, and sardines (Omega-3)
  • Walnut
  • Flax seed oils
  • Krill oil
Worst Foods for a Rash
worst foods for a rash
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Berries
If You Have A Sore Throat
A sore throat can be caused due to a viral infection, cold, and flu. Likely symptoms include pain, itchiness, and irritation of the throat. It can also be caused due to swollen glands, white patches on tonsils, and hoarseness. Following are some foods that are sure to provide some relief.
Best Foods for a Sore Throat
best foods for a sore throat
  • Peppermint tea
  • Manuka honey
  • Mashed potatoes or cauliflower
  • Creamy foods
  • Broths
  • Yogurt
  • Cream soup
  • Custard
  • Lemon and honey tea
  • Green tea
Worst Foods for a Sore Throat
worst foods for a sore throat
  • Alcohol
  • Starchy and greasy food
  • Granola
  • Nuts
  • Grape or orange juice
  • Lemonade
  • Hard solids
Irrespective of your sickness, fried, greasy, spicy foods, sodas, energy drinks, and alcohol need to be avoided as they will aggravate the illness. It is best to consult a medical professional if the symptoms do not subside. Avoid experimenting with over-the-counter medication and alternative medication from untrained practitioners. Remember, prevention is always better than the cure.