Best and Worst Foods To Eat When You are Sick

A diet for sick people is a very special diet. The body of the sick person needs more calories to function normally. When you are down with a disease, say fever, many say that you should eat less. This is not correct as when you are sick, your body needs more energy to support the immune system, otherwise your body's healing ability will be affected. Eating less means reducing calorie intake, which can prolong the duration of illness.

The sick diet should include lots of fluid intake and a balanced selection of foods, taking into account the patient's specific dietary needs to give your extra energy and nutrients to stay energetic. The diet should be light and digestive and should include best food to eat. You should eat smaller portions frequently to add energy to the body to help speed up the recovery process.

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Soups are very helpful to patients during convalescence as they are easy to digest. Soup is rich in vitamins, minerals and contains fiber and is an ideal dish for not only sick people but also for all. The nutritional value of soup can be increased by a combination of different foods like mixed vegetables and palak (spinach) and mung dal.

Another very nutritious foods for sick people are dalia, patolia, and mung khichri in India. These are very light and digestive, and gives energy and provides fibers and other nutrients to the patient.

The following table gives a list of foods that a sick person can eat during his sickness or during convalescence.

Best foods

Bananas, rice, oatmeal, boiled potatoes, baked chicken and toast.

Drink Hot Tea

Drinking hot tea (green or black) with or without lemon in fever, cold or flu can help the body to fight bacteria and infections due to anti-bacterial and antioxidants in tea.

Drink Soup

Drinking hot soups including onion or garlic can relaxe your chest when you are congested. Avoid adding creams to the soup as it may not be good when you have mucus, phlegm and cough. Soup will fight infection and inflammation and clear nose and throat.


If you are down with a sore throat, eat a spoonful of honey, which can help kill the bacteria in your throat.

Eat Citrus Fruits

All citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, grapefruits, etc contain vitamin C and flavonoids, which are very good for improving immune system and help recovery fast, reducing the length symptoms of cold and fever. Cut a lime into half, warm it slightly and put some salt and black pepper on it, then squeeze the juice in your mouth.

Include Ginger in your diet

Ginger is a miracle herb, which is very effective at preventing or curing cold, flu, upset stomach, constipation, nausea, vomiting, bloating, etc. Add some ginger in your tea, veggies, rice pulao, etc. Drink some ginger tea with honey added to it.

Eat Chili Peppers

Eating spicy foods are effective natural decongestants, they can relieve the symptoms of congestion.

Eat Bananas

When your are sick your body depletes vital minerals by vomiting or diarrhea or sweating. Eating potassium rich bananas will replenish the lost electrolytes.

The following table gives a general lsit of foods that are good to eat when you are sick.

Dalia (Daliya)
Khichari (Khichadi)
Corn Ghat/Puddings
Millet flour syrup
Rice flour syrup
Vegetable soup
Tomato soup
Rice soup
Soaked black raisins (Munakka kishmish)
Syrup of tuver (toor, arhar) dal or moong.
Yogurt (Curd) with roasted cumin
Chappatis or rotis (very thin) without any butter or ghee.
Idli, Upma

Vegetables like Loki (Bottle gourd), Torii, methi (fenugreek)
Bottle gourd kheer
Boiled water
Masala chai, Tea, Green tea
Masala milk
Milk & banana
Honey water
Shinkji or Lemon in water
Lemon juice with glucose
Makhana syrup
Milk, sugar & fennel seed juice
Dry ginger & jaggery syrup

Fresh citrus fruits
Dates milk
Sizzled buttermilk

Foods To Avoid :Worst foods

Cabbages, beans, onions, apples and broccoli produce gas in stomach.

Dairy products, alcohol and caffeine are not good for diarrhea.

When you are sick, stay away from desserts and sweets. Too much sugar intake can suppress the immune system.

Spicy and Acidic Foods

Stay away from fatty foods, fried foods as these foods may be more difficult to digest.


  1. Clinthorne JF, Beli E, Duriancik DM, NK cell maturation and function in C57BL/6 mice are altered by caloric restriction, Journal of Immunology, 2012, Dec. 190:1550-6606.
  2. Ciraj AM, Sulaim J, Mamatha B., Antibacterial activity of black tea (Camelia sinensis) extract against Salmonella serotypes causing enteric fever, Indian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2002, Mar. 55(7):0019-5359.
  3. Douglas RM, Hemila H, D'Souza R, Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2004, Oct. 1469-493X.
  4. Middleton E, Effect of plant flavonoids on immune and inflammatory cell function, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1998, Dec. 439:0065-2598
  5. Palatty PL, et al, Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: a review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2013, Dec.,53,1549-7852.

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