What to Eat For a Cold or Flu

You’re probably going to suffer at least one cold or flu this season. The key to feeling better faster is not how much you eat, but what you eat. The right mix of nutrients helps your body fight off flu germs so you can get back on your feet. Here’s what to eat for a cold or flu.

What to Eat For a Cold or Flu

What to Eat For a Cold

Cold symptoms like coughing, mucus production, and fatigue are reactions to the inflammation your body is producing in response to the germs. Combat this inflammation with the right foods and you can feel better more quickly. What do you eat for a cold?


Eating eggs gives you a big boost of zinc. Zinc is a powerful nutrient for fighting colds. It can shorten the duration of a cold and make you feel better faster.


The humble mushroom is actually a great ally in boosting your immune system. The nutrients in mushrooms actually make white blood cells work better. White blood cells are the front line defense in the immune system and it helps to make them as strong as possible.


The probiotics in yogurt are powerful for reducing inflammation in the body. Choose a fat-free plan yogurt and add some honey for extra sweetness.


Tea is rich in antioxidants and you need plenty of antioxidants when you are sick with a cold. Antioxidants can help shorten the length of a cold. And a hot drink also helps to ease sneezing and a sore throat.

Vitamin C Fruits and Vegetables

Getting plenty of vitamin C helps your cold pass quicker. You can find vitamin C in many vegetables and fruit, not just citrus fruit, including strawberries, red pepper, and broccoli. Citrus fruit will not cure a cold or flu but it can help you recover more quickly. Try a hummus dip with veggies to give you added protein that will also help your body function better.

Sweet Potato

The sweet potato is rich in vitamin A, essential for the production of white blood cells. Vitamin A also helps to keep your mucous membranes healthier.

What to Eat For a Cold or Flu

Chicken Soup

The traditional remedy of chicken soup or chicken broth is just the way to combat a cold. It can help to cut down congestion and calm your throat and cough. The heat and the liquid also help to combat dehydration and prevent sore throats.

Hot Water and Lemon

Drink hot water with some lemon and a tablespoon of honey to ease your sore throat and stop coughing. Drink this before you go to bed for maximum benefits.

What to Eat For the Flu

You need to keep hydrated when you have the flu, and it is difficult to get the right hydration and nutrients when you may be feeling too tired or nauseous. Try these foods for the optimum balance of good nutrients when you have the flu.


Make a warming porridge with traditional oats or instant oatmeal. Oats are full of a special fiber that helps heal your body and boost your immune system.


Add bananas to the oats for optimum benefits. Bananas contain plenty of potassium which is often lost from the body when you are sick.

Coconut Water

This is a very hydrating drink that can help you restock your electrolyte levels, and increase hydration after vomiting. Add some lime juice to the coconut water for extra vitamin C.


This common vegetable is actually highly effective for fighting flu symptoms. It contains compounds that help to increase glutathione in the body. Glutathione is an antioxidant that improves the immune system function.


This is a fermented milk beverage and it is full of beneficial probiotics. It helps soothe your stomach while giving you a vital input of these healthy bacteria.

Chamomile or Ginger Tea

These herbal teas help to quell nausea and beat inflammation in the body. Drinking plenty of ginger or chamomile tea is a great way to stay hydrated while also giving your body additional benefits.

Crackers and Toast

Try crackers and toast if you cannot stomach eating anything. Choose an unsalted version. These are easy to digest and a good starting point when you are beginning to recover from illness.

What NOT to Eat For Cold and Flu

On the other hand, there are certain foods that can make you feel worse when you have a cold or flu. These include high sugar foods, which decrease the effectiveness of the immune system and cause fatigue. It is also a good idea to avoid fatty foods since they are very difficult to digest and can upset your stomach further. Similarly, spicy foods irritate your throat and cause stomach problems. Stick to knowing what to eat for a cold or flu and you will feel better much more quickly.

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