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The Best and Worst Things to Eat When You Have a Cold

If you are sick there are some foods that can help you get better quicker and also some that can slow the recovery process.

When you can have a cold it can often feel really tempting to reach for your favorite comfort foods. Or if you are congested, you might not even feel interested in eating. But when you are sick, your body especially needs essential nutrients to support your health and immune system.

So if you are going to eat, what are the best and what are the worst foods to eat?

1. Some of the best foods to eat when you have a cold are hot broths or soups. The heat helps to loosen up your nasal pathways, which will reduce congestion.

2. Vitamin C rich foods are also another great thing to eat if you are sick. Adequate intake of vitamin C may help to shorten the amount of time you are sick. Try to add vitamin C rich foods like red bell peppers, papayas, oranges, broccoli, tomato juice, lemons, limes, grapefruit or red cabbage to your meal to increase your vitamin C intake!

3. Foods high in phytochemicals are also good to include in your meals when you are sick. Phytochemicals are substances that plants use to protect themselves from viruses, bacteria, and pests. These chemicals may help bolster your cells defenses with their antioxidant properties. Phytochemicals are found in fruits and vegetables like blueberries, cherries, cabbage, apricots, sweet potatoes, and kale.

4. Drink more water! This can be in the form of soothing ginger tea or hydrating fresh fruit smoothies, but water intake needs to be a key part of your plan. Enough water will help you stay well hydrated and help your body to regulate your temperature.

Food to Avoid

1. Eating too much sugar is something to avoid when you are ill. Sugar can impair your immune system, which you need working at full strength when you are sick!

2. Alcohol can also inhibit your immune system and should be avoided or consumed in small amounts when you have a cold.

3. Some people feel that if they consume dairy while they are sick, they experience extra mucus production. However, research is out on if dairy actually creates more mucus but if you think it does for you, it might be something to avoid!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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