What to Eat When You Have a Cold

June 18, 2019 0 Comments

What to Eat When You Have a Cold

And What NOT to Eat When You Have a Cold

by Nell Jones

Wasn’t it nice to stay home from school and have someone serve you soup in bed when you got sick as a child?  Well those days are over and now you have to cook for yourself and use sick days sparingly.

As always, food intake and diet play a key role in health and can speed up or slow down recovery time of a cold.  Below you will find what meals you should be eating when you are sick with a cold and what meals you should be avoiding.

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup Recipe

Of course, mom’s always right.  One of the best things you can eat when you have a cold is chicken soup.

First of all, it is shown to clear congestion better than other remedies because of the amino acids and antioxidants that break down mucus and exhibit anti-inflammatory characteristics, so immediately you will start to feel better.

Chicken soup is a source of many vitamins, minerals, and proteins from the broth, chicken, and vegetables in the recipe.  The liquids and electrolytes keep you hydrated and help speed up the body’s recovery process.  Lastly, it’s delicious.

Simple Chicken Soup Recipe

What To Do With Leftover Chicken Carcass

Is Chicken Stock the Same as Chicken Broth?


Oranges (Citrus)

Oranges For a Cold

Oranges and other citrus fruits have a lot of antioxidants and are full of vitamin C.  Vitamin C can help us prevent colds as well as fight them because it strengthens the immune system.

Studies show that vitamin C reduces the duration and severity of a cold with even a few grams.  One average size orange has about seventy mg of vitamin C, so a few oranges a day should keep the doctor away (when you’re sick).

Try this Orange Juice (non-alcoholic) cocktail to get better on the go: Honeybell Orange Juice Cocktail Recipe as well as this salad recipe for when you are sick but don’t really want to eat “sick food”: Watercress Orange & Parsnip Salad Recipe.


Leafy Green Vegetables

Sauteed Baby Kale & Artichokes

A common theme to the “sick diet” is foods that are enrich your diet with a lot of vitamins and antioxidants.  Leafy Green Vegetables are no different.

While you may not want to sit at home and munch on kale when you’re sick, these greens will help boost your immune system and fight off your cold. Studies show that they also have a lot of antibacterial properties.

Luckily, there are many ways to prepare leafy greens like kale and spinach that make them more enjoyable to eat.  Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Green Soup Recipe

Sautéed Baby Kale and Artichokes Recipe

Spinach Balls Recipe

Spinach Kale Smoothie Recipe


Grilled cedar planked salmon recipe

Believe it or not, a salmon dish is great to eat when you’re sick because of the nutrients found in the fish oil.  It is not a myth that fish-oil can help almost any small ailment, including the common cold.  We even give it to our aging dog to help with her bones and muscles.

Specifically, this fish oil activates the white blood cells and aids the immune system’s response.  Add some ginger and you have the whole cure.  Even if you are not sick, add a fatty fish like salmon or tuna to your diet to prevent future colds.

These dishes are easy to make, perfect for lunch or dinner, and definitely crowd pleasers.

Pan Fried Salmon with Ginger Glaze Recipe

Grilled Salmon Steak with Lemon & Dill Recipe

Grilled Tuna with Orange and Ginger Marinade

What to Avoid Eating When You Have a Cold

Coffee and Alcohol

While most of us need that caffeine pick-me-up in the morning and top off at night, coffee and alcohol dehydrate the body, which makes it hard to recover from a common cold.

Instead, switch the coffee and alcohol out for some green tea in the morning and ginger tea at night that are filled with antioxidants and can have the same energizing and calming effects for when you need them.


One of the worst parts about being sick is the congestion that comes along with it.  Try to avoid dairy since it is known to increase and thicken mucus in your body and lead to more inflammation.

Luckily there are enough alternatives today that you can still have that dessert, just try an almond or soy milk variation of it.

Chia seed pudding using almond or coconut milk, even with a little cacao, is yummy – or coconut or almond milk ice cream.


While you’re filling your body with cold medicines and nasal sprays, don’t forget that your diet also plays an important role in your recovery.

Try to eat foods that are filled with vitamins and antioxidants and keep you hydrated.

Try not to overeat and avoid eating processed foods since your body is working hard to fight this common cold.

Send this article to your friends and maybe if you’re lucky, they might just bring you chicken soup in bed like the old times.

And if you have more suggestions for what to eat or not eat when you have a cold, please post them below in the comments area.



Last modified on Sun 3 November 2019 5:02 pm

Filed in: Tips

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