Everyone’s heard the timeless line, “Starve the fever, feed the cold”. Funny thing is, nutritionists at Miami Research Associates beg to differ. And their logic sound. According to their studies on human metabolism, we actually need more calories when we have a fever, because for each degree our temperature rises, our body works at a 7% faster metabolic rate. Moreover, we need the energy to power our immune system to fight against further infection, and to feed the cells involved in the healing process. You simply cannot afford to compromise on your meal plan when you’re sick, but the important thing is to understand what you should be consuming when you feel under the weather.
It’s intuitive that we eat per what kind of sickness we’re suffering from. For instance, if we have a common flu, most doctors would recommend consuming as much fluid as possible, in addition to certain foods that fight phlegm.
Chicken broth, or ‘yakhni’ in our native tongue rings on top of the list for foods you should go for when you have a cold, and that’s for three reasons. First off, the protein cysteine found in chicken thins the mucous found in lungs and nasal pathways. The hot soup relieves any inflammation in the throat and helps keep your nasal passages moist. Hot tea is another must. Like soup, it’s a great way to stay hydrated, and that’s not where the health benefits end. It goes a long way in combating inflammation and infection in the throat, like any hot beverage. But at the same time, black tea has the added benefit of containing anti-microbial factors that ward off pathogens like salmonella. Adding a bit of spice to your tea, or soup will also help clear out the mucous from your nose, it’s a natural decongestant.
Citrus fruits, or really anything that contains Vitamin C is a great weapon against the common cold. A multiplicity of studies have shown that it reduces the length and severity of a cold, although not stopping it completely. At the same time, the flavonoids in citrus fruits speed up the healing process by bolstering your immune response.
Now let’s switch gears and take a look at the foods you want to go for if you have an upset stomach. You want to keep an eye out for bland foods like toast or crackers, simply because they don’t have anything that could irritate your digestive system. Bananas should be your go to food if you have an upset stomach, and that’s because, in addition to being bland and rich in fiber (both plus points), they’re also a great source of potassium. Potassium is often depleted in cases of diarrhea, so this is a great way to get your electrolytes back up to normal levels.
Now let’s look at the foods you want to stay away from. Spicy foods and citrus fruits were on top of the list for the common cold, but if you have a bad stomach, you want to stay clear of both. And that’s, because spices can torment your sore stomach lining, and fruit juices can irritate the same. This will lead to discomfort and that’s something we all want to avoid. You definitely want to stay clear of sweets, or anything high in sugar, really, and that’s because high levels of glucose in your body actually slows down the immune response. Foods rich in fat are also rough on the tummy, because they’re hard to digest, again resulting in discomfort.
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