Cold, Flu, and Cough: 13 Foods to Eat When Fighting the Flu

Reviewed on 7/10/2020


Popsicles and ice pops are good foods to eat with the flu.

Fight dehydration and a sore throat by sucking on ice pops. Getting adequate fluids is important to thin mucus and decrease congestion. Steer clear of Popsicles made with sugar. Choose ice pops made with 100% fruit juice. You can make your own ice pops using juice and fresh fruit.

Turkey Sandwich

Lean protein like turkey is one of the best foods to eat with the flu.

Your immune system needs adequate protein to function properly. It is not uncommon to lose your appetite when you feel sick, but you do need good nutrition to get healthy. Reach for a turkey sandwich to supply the protein building blocks your immune system needs to fight off the flu. You can top it with cranberry sauce to add some tangy flavor.

Vegetable Juice

Add vegetable juice to your collection of flu diet recipes.

Antioxidants are helpful compounds in fruits and vegetables that boost the immune system and aid in recovery from illness like the flu. You may not feel like eating solid foods when you are sick. You can get the same health promoting antioxidants in a glass of vegetable juice. Choose a low-sodium version to cut down on the consumption of excess salt. If veggie juice isn't your thing, you can also get antioxidants from a glass of 100% fruit juice.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup may be one of the best foods to eat with the flu.

Your grandmother was right. Chicken soup is a good food to eat when you have the flu. Compounds in chicken soup seem to work well together to boost immunity. Sipping hot chicken soup enhances the function of hair-like structures in nasal passages that guard against bacteria and viruses.


Garlic has compounds that boost the immune system to fight colds and flus.

While you're making chicken soup, throw some garlic into it. Garlic adds a spicy flavor to foods, but it's also rich in compounds that boost immunity to stave off colds and flus. More studies are needed to confirm the findings.


Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe aches and pains when you have the flu.

Many people know that ginger is a proven home remedy for nausea and stomachaches, but it reduces inflammation, too. You can slice up fresh ginger and steep it as a tea or add freshly grated ginger or ginger powder to foods. One of the simplest way to take ginger is to drink ginger ale.

Hot Tea

Antioxidants in tea are anti-inflammatory and if you add honey, tea soothes a sore throat, too.

There are a variety of teas available. Green, oolong, or black, so take your pick! Antioxidant-rich tea soothes achiness. Sipping hot fluids thins mucus and breathing in the steam helps clear your nasal passages. Add a bit of honey to tea to help relief a sore throat. If caffeinated teas are too activating when you're trying to rest, reach for herbal tea or decaf teas instead.


Bananas are a good food option if you are suffering from an upset stomach with the flu.

The BRAT diet is recommended for people who are suffering from nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Bananas may help settle your stomach. Eat them mashed, whole, or sliced if that's easier.


Part of the BRAT diet, toast is a good thing to eat if you’re trying to settle your stomach.

Plain toast is part of the BRAT diet that's recommended for people who are suffering from gastrointestinal issues. Crackers work as well. You can eat them along with chicken soup. Bland foods like toast are easier to eat when your stomach won't tolerate much.

Meal Replacement Drinks

Meal replacement beverages can help you get needed nutrition when you don’t have an appetite.

Meal replacement drinks can ensure you get some nutrients and calories when you lack an appetite. Choose lactose-free versions that have little to no sugar and at least 6 grams of protein per serving. If you do have an appetite, it’s always best to eat a whole, balanced meal.


Citrus fruits like oranges are your best bet to boost your levels of vitamin C.

Foods high in vitamin C like oranges give your immune system a boost and may help you get better faster. Women need 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day and men need 90 milligrams daily. Be careful with Seville oranges or sour oranges if you take medication to lower high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, or to treat anxiety. Oranges may interfere with these medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns.

Pumpkin Seeds

Eat some zinc-rich pumpkin seeds to enhance the function of your immune system.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, a mineral your body needs to boost the function of white blood cells. White blood cells are necessary to fight off pathogens like the flu virus. Eat them by the handful or sprinkle them on salads to add some nice crunch.


Carrots supply your body with a dose of immune-boosting beta-carotene.

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that boosts immune function. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is paramount for immunity. Carrots are one of the best sources of beta-carotene along with other orange fruits and vegetables including sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, butternut squash, and mango.

Cold, Flu, and Cough: 13 Foods to Eat When Fighting the Flu

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