Eat these foods when you’re sick, according to one nutritionist

Every summer, come Colorado rain or shine, our whole family gets sick. It’s like back-to-school season plays a preemptive joke, reminding us to nurture a healthy immune system year-round. Universe, I see you. But when sickness strikes during the warmer months, what are the best foods to eat when sick? Spoiler alert: A few scoops of mint ice cream may soothe your soul (and temporarily, a sore throat), but fresh citrus slices, a cup of bone broth, or an anti-inflammatory smoothie will do it actually provide the relief you are looking for. With a quick return to backyard barbecues and pool parties in mind, we’re making you feel better ASAP.

Potential causes of a summer cold

While we Often associating colds with the cold winter months, it may come as a surprise that catching a cold during the summer isn’t uncommon. There are several reasons why we are susceptible to colds even in hot weather.

Summer brings people together

Inevitably, holidays, parties and outdoor gatherings increase the likelihood of exposure to germs. If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s wash your hands often (and sanitize your phone!).

Temperature fluctuations

From hours in air conditioning to spending time in hot, stuffy, crowded places (hello, airports and public transit), our immune systems take a beating. In turn, this makes us more vulnerable to viral infections. Rapid changes in weather conditions do this too!

High humidity

Depending on where you live, the humidity comes knocking with the first signs of summer. Unfortunately, high levels of humidity create an ideal environment for viruses to grow and spread.

Seasonal allergies

Additionally, seasonal allergies can weaken the respiratory system, making it easier for cold viruses to catch.

6 things to do as soon as you start feeling sick

Do you feel an illness coming? Time is of the essence. Remember, the sooner you act, the better chance you have of effectively fighting the disease. Not only will this support your body’s natural healing process, but it can minimize the severity of your symptoms. Along with the best foods to eat when you’re sick, here are some essential steps to take as soon as you start feeling sick.

  • Rest and prioritize sleep. Your body needs ample rest to effectively fight off the disease. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. Put an OOO response in your inbox and, as far as you can, relax.
  • Stay hydrated. Proper hydration is vital to support the immune system and maintain overall well-being. Drink plenty of fluids, such as lemon water, herbal teas, and nutritious broths, to keep your body hydrated and help flush out toxins.
  • Incorporate aromatherapy. Essential oils can provide soothing effects and respiratory support. Diffuse oils like eucalyptus, lavender, or peppermint throughout your living space, or add a few drops to a warm bath for relaxation and relief.
  • Consider herbal remedies. Sipping ginger tea can help relieve nausea and aid in digestion. Echinacea or elderberry supplements can boost your immune system.
  • Steam inhalation. Relieve congestion by creating a steam inhalation session. Boil water, pour it into a bowl and add a few drops of essential oils such as eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl, and inhale the steam deeply, allowing it to clear your nasal passages.
  • Practice good hygiene. Prevent the spread of disease by practicing proper hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating or touching your face. And once you’re on the mend, be sure to wash your laundry!
Image by Teal Thomsen

10 foods to eat when you’re sick

This goes without saying, but food is both an important fuel and a powerful medicine. What we eat greatly improves our recovery process! While there is no one magical, universal ingredient for every ailment, there are certain foods that can provide a much-needed boost to your immune system. Below are 10 foods to add to your grocery delivery. (Let someone else do the shopping for you!).

Image by Riley Reed

1. Lemon

Lemons (citrus fruits, in general) are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and helps fight infection. Consuming lemon in the form of freshly squeezed lemon juice or added to a tea can help soothe a sore throat and provide cough relief. The acidic nature of lemon juice can also help loosen mucus and congestion, making breathing easier. Additionally, lemon contains natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help fight disease. Plus, the refreshing, tangy taste of lemon can help stimulate your appetite, making it easier to consume nutritious foods and stay hydrated.

Image by Michelle Nash

2. Ginger

Here at Camille Styles, we Love a moment of ginger. Along with its robust flavor, eating ginger when you’re sick can offer multiple health benefits. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help reduce inflammation, soothe an upset stomach, and relieve nausea and vomiting. It also acts as a natural relief for congestion, helping to clear the airways. Last but not least, ginger provides warmth and inner fire, making it a comforting choice for promoting overall well-being.

Image by Ashleigh Amoroso

3. Turmeric

All hail the potent turmeric root. Whether you’re craving sweet or spicy, we’ve got turmeric recipes for everyone. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with immune-boosting effects. This can help reduce symptoms of inflammation and pain. By reducing inflammation, curcumin can relieve symptoms such as pain, swelling and discomfort associated with the disease, promoting a faster healing process. He is truly a miracle worker.

4. Bone broth

There’s a reason chicken soup has been a home remedy for generations. Its comforting warmth, combined with essential nutrients like collagen, make it a perfect choice when you’re sick. Chicken broth contains amino acids that reduce inflammation, relieve congestion and promote respiratory health. The broth keeps you hydrated by providing essential electrolytes, and the added vegetables deliver vital vitamins and minerals.

Image by Michelle Nash

5. Green leafy vegetables

Even when you’re feeling under the weather, don’t skimp on your greens! Spinach, kale, Swiss chard and other leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support immune function and aid recovery. Rich in fiber, they also help maintain healthy digestion, which is essential for nutrient absorption, detoxification and general well-being. When you’re feeling sick, there’s no need to eat greens in salads! Add them to soups, stews or smoothies.

Image by Michelle Nash

6. Foods rich in probiotics

More and more research shows that the gut plays a crucial role in our immune system. What is one of the best ways to support digestive health? Consume foods rich in probiotics. These can help restore the balance of healthy bacteria, particularly after a round of antibiotics. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi are excellent sources of probiotics that promote a healthy gut microbiome, aiding digestion, nutrient absorption and overall immune function.

Image by Michelle Nash

7. Bee propolis

Have you ever heard of bee propolis? Bee propolis is a resin-like substance produced by bees! It has antimicrobial and immune support properties, making it useful when fighting infections. Bee propolis can be found in supplement form (we love this throat spray from Beekeeper’s Naturals) or as a tincture. Otherwise, add a drizzle of local raw honey to your favorite tea or savory recipe.

Image of Suruchi Avasthi

8. Echinacea

A flowering plant with immune-boosting properties, echinacea is often used to reduce the duration and severity of common cold symptoms. It is widely known for its immune-boosting properties, as it can stimulate the production of white blood cells and enhance the activity of immune cells. Tea or echinacea supplements are widely available.

Image of Suruchi Avasthi

9. Miso

Do you like miso soup? Now is the time to drink it! Consuming miso when you’re sick can be beneficial, thanks to its nourishing and immune-supporting properties. If you haven’t tried miso, it’s a fermented soybean paste. Contains natural probiotics, which promote a healthy gut microbiome and support immune function. It is also packed with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can help boost energy and aid in the recovery process. The warm and flavorful nature of miso soup can provide comfort and hydration, making it a soothing choice when you’re feeling sick.

Image by Michelle Nash

10. Camu Camu

Camu camu is a small fruit native to the Amazon forest. And when we talk about vitamin C, this fruit hits the spot. It is known for its extraordinarily high vitamin C content, making it one of nature’s richest sources of this essential nutrient. Camu camu is typically red or purplish in color and has a tart, spicy flavor. You’ll probably eat it in powder form (add it to your favorite tropical smoothie!). Rich in antioxidants, camu camu is worth the shelf space.

The takeaway

Ultimately, any disease is simply an invitation to slow down to give your body the nourishment it needs. I hope you will recover in no time! From incorporating the best foods to eat when you’re sick, to getting the rest you deserve (guilt-free!), you can boost your immune system and improve your overall well-being.

Next time you find yourself under the weather, turn to citrus fruits, chicken broth, ginger, leafy greens and probiotic-rich foods to fuel your body with the healing power of nutrition. Here’s how to stay healthy, balanced, and resilient for the rest of the year.

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