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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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What Should I Eat When I Have the Flu?

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What’s Good for Nausea?

It's probably best to just not eat if your tummy’s upset or if you have diarrhea. Sip clear drinks to keep your fluids up. You can try chipped ice, juices, sports drinks, ginger ale, clear broths, gelatin, and ice pops.

Start with small amounts, like 4 to 8 ounces at a time for adults and 1 ounce or less at a time for children. Only use clear liquids (clear broth, juice, lemon-lime soda). If you're not sure if it's clear, pour it in a clear glass bowl and try to read something through it. If you can't see the letters, it isn’t clear.

Warm decaf tea with honey can coat and soothe your throat. Warm drinks are better than cold ones for opening congested airways.

Bland foods -- like toast, rice, bananas, and applesauce -- are good. Experts say you can go back to a normal diet within 24 hours if you feel like it.

What About Grandma's Chicken Soup?

It’s a must for cold-like symptoms. One study found that it really can ease flu symptoms in your chest and head.

A well-nourished immune system is better able to fight infections. Once you recover from flu, fill your diet with a variety of food, colorful fruits and vegetables, and legumes. These are high in phytochemicals -- natural compounds in food can boost your health.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on January 31, 2015
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