Feed a cold?

What to eat and drink when you're sick

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Feed a cold? Starve a fever?

Or is it the other way around?

There’s a lot of misinformation about what you should drink and eat when you’re feeling under the weather. We got the real deal from Kelly Layton, a dietitian and nutritionist with Lehigh Valley Health Network.

A cold

Best foods to eat:

Chicken noodle soup is a magical food. It’s a soothing way to get a variety of food groups including protein and vegetables. Home-cooked or low-sodium canned versions are better. Beyond soup, continue eating a generally healthy diet with all food groups included.

Best drinks:

Orange juice. A glass provides 100 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, so that’s all you need. Orange juice also packs 21 grams of sugar so don’t drink more than a glass.

Decaf tea with honey and lemon juice. Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C. The hot tea and thick honey are soothing for sore throats. 1 teaspoon of honey per cup is plenty.

What to avoid:

Alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which can be dehydrating.

Don’t overdo on comfort foods that are loaded with sugar, such as ice cream and ginger ale.

The flu

Best foods to eat:

Chicken soup.

Ice chips, popsicles, Jell-O and broth. They have a high water content, helping to hydrate us, while being easy on the stomach.

Best drinks:

Orange juice. But just one glass.

Decaf tea with honey and lemon juice.

What to avoid:

Alcohol and caffeinated beverages.

Comfort foods that are loaded with sugar.

Stomach virus

Best foods to eat:

Ice chips, popsicles, Jell-O, hard candy and broth. These are good foods to start with after you’ve given your stomach a few hours to rest following vomiting. They are hydrating, provide some calories, have soothing textures and are easy to consume even with nausea.

The “BRAT diet.” When you’re ready for solid foods, try bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. These simple starches settle easy on the stomach and absorb liquid to prevent further vomiting and help if you have other digestive issues. Eat small amounts of these more frequently (five or six times a day instead of three meals).

Best drinks:

Ginger tea. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea, and is a better option than ginger ale.

What to avoid:

Ginger ale. Like any soda, ginger ale packs lots of sugar. It also contains barely any real ginger. Try ginger tea, or a flavored seltzer water if the bubbles soothe your stomach.

Fatty and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages and (sometimes) dairy. They can make some people more likely to vomit or have stomach upset, though this varies from person to person.

Foods with a strong smell.

Old wives’ tale

Starve a fever/feed a cold: Severely restricting food with a cold or fever is never recommended. Running a fever increases your metabolism because your body has to work hard to fend off the infection; that means your calorie needs go up. Depriving yourself of needed protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals impedes the healing process. You’re also risking dehydration since 20 to 30 percent of daily fluids come from food.
By Jennifer Sheehan

The Morning Call