What To Eat When You Have A Cold or Flu

Is it starve a cold, feed a fever or feed a cold, starve a fever?

Actually, it is neither. It’s not how much you eat but rather what you eat. So here is a simple eating plan to help you shake off symptoms, fortify your immune system, and speed up recovery when you are feeling under the weather.


Oatmeal and Banana

Oats are packed with beta glucans, a type of fiber that helps fend off infection and bacteria. They also contains protein — about 5 grams in a 1/2 cup. However, avoid buying artificially flavored oatmeal with lots of added sugar. Instead, add a small amount of honey or fruit to provide even more benefits. Steel cut oats or rolled oats tend to be the healthier options.

Top up with chopped banana slices which adds potassium to help hydrate your cells and are a source of soluble fiber which helps diarrhea.

Omelet with sliced mushrooms and salsa

Eggs contain zinc, an immune system booster. Mushrooms up the effectiveness of disease fighting white blood cells. Spice eases congestion.


Steamed Cauliflower

Don’t let the pale color fool you: Cauliflower is rich in the antioxidant glutathione to help your immune system.

Red Pepper Slices and Broccoli with Hummus

Vitamin C helps clear up colds faster. Strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers and citrus are especially rich in it. Pairing veggies with hummus supplies protein to make more disease fighting antibodies.


Chicken Soup

It calms congestion and reduces mucus. Credit the amino acid cysteine, which is abundant in chicken. And the soup does not have to be homemade. Just make sure you buy organic.

Almond Milk Strawberry Smoothie

Berries deliver vitamin C; almonds are rich in vitamin E and zinc.

Snacks & Drinks


Probiotics reduce inflammation. One study found that the good bacteria shortened cold duration by 2 days and eased symptoms by 34%.


Like yogurt, this fermented milk drink is loaded with probiotics – often much more than yogurt.

Sweet potato with olive oil

Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, another immune boosting nutrient.

Fresh pressed juice

Fresh juices contain antioxidants that boost your immune system. One study found that antioxidants even help fend off flu related pneumonia. If fresh pressed isnt possible, V8 is rich in antioxidants and hydrating electrolytes.

Coconut water

It is hydrating and replenishes electrolytes. Squeeze in lime for extra vitamin C.

Ginger tea with lemon and honey

Hot drinks also ease sneezing, sore throat, chills and fatigue. The ginger helps with fever and soothes tummy troubles if there are any. One study showed honey reduces coughing as effectively as cough medicine. It is best to buy local, organic, unprocessed honey.

-Dr Diana Semjonov, ND

This article is for educational purposes only and does not advocate self-diagnosis. Due to individual variability, consultation with a licensed health professional, such as a naturopathic physician is highly recommended prior to starting a natural treatment plan.

Dr. Diana Semjonov ND

Diana Semjonov is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. If you would like to schedule an appointment or set up a free 15 minute consultation, please book online at www.DrDianaND.com.

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