What to Eat During Cold & Flu Season

What to Eat During Cold & Flu Season

Publish Date September 8, 2023
Author Kroger Health Team

To keep your body healthy and prepared to fight off germs, it’s always a good idea to pile your plate with nourishing foods! But what should you eat, exactly? Follow these tips and add some new foods to your shopping list during cold and flu season.

The Best Foods to Eat When Sick

Wondering what to eat when you have a cold or the flu? You may have been told to “feed a cold, starve a fever,” but these wives’ tales are nothing more than common misconceptions. If you do end up catching a cold or the flu this season, remember to eat well-balanced meals and snacks, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, protein and dairy, to help get you back on your feet quicker! Consider including a few of the nourishing antioxidant foods and probiotic foods below to support a healthy immune response.

In addition to eating well, it’s also important to drink lots of water. You should aim for at least 2 liters a day, or more if you have a fever. If you want something other than plain water, consider sparkling water or broth. Hydration is important to ensure your immune system can function on all cylinders and ultimately keep your body healthy.

You may not have much of an appetite if you’re feeling crummy, however it’s still important to ensure adequate nutrition and hydration. Nourishing foods provide your immune system with the gas to fill the tank and keep on fighting! If your appetite is low, consider starting with small portions of bland items, such as broth, black tea, or yogurt. Also, try to avoid foods or drinks that may not supplement a healthy immune response, such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or highly processed items.

Here are some tips to help get your nutrition in when you’re feeling under-the-weather.

Tip #1: Go for antioxidants.

Naturally occurring antioxidants help cells function more efficiently during our body’s natural immune response. Enjoy foods high in antioxidants such as:

  • Fruits such as red grapes, blueberries, oranges, pineapple, strawberries
  • Vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, leafy greens, mushrooms, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Legumes, brazil nuts, turmeric, fresh garlic
  • Black and green tea

Tip #2: Opt for probiotic-rich foods.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that support digestive health and the immune system. Eat foods that contain probiotics, including:

  • Yogurt (with live and active cultures)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha

Flu Season Grocery List

Stock your cart with these foods to help support your immune system this flu season.

Other Ways to Support Health This Season

In addition to eating healthy, remember to wash your hands regularly, keep your distance from sick contacts, stay at home when you do not feel well, cover your mouth and nose when you cough, avoid contact with your eyes, mouth or nose, and get your vaccines. Plus, read more about even more ways to support your immune system, like getting adequate sleep and reducing stress.

You may not be able to completely avoid getting sick because there is no guaranteed way to stop viruses. However, by practicing the above recommendations, your body may be in better shape to defend itself from viruses and their potential complications.

If you’re feeling under the weather this flu season, schedule an appointment with one of our expert healthcare providers who can recommend the right food and medicine to help get you on the right track to feeling better! Explore more healthy living tips.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.