top of page

What to Eat & Drink When You Have the Flu

Battling the flu can be rough, and if you're reading this, you're probably not feeling your best. But we're here to help you through it. Some of the most important aspects of flu recovery are proper nutrition and hydration. So let's dive into what you should eat and drink to support your body when you have the flu.

Hydration is key.

When you have the flu, your body loses fluids due to fever, sweating and mucus. Replenishing those fluids is crucial to help your body fight off the flu virus and prevent dehydration. So here is what you should drink when you have the flu:

  • Water: The simplest and most effective way to stay hydrated is drinking water. Try to sip small amounts throughout the day, even if you don't feel like drinking much.

  • Electrolyte solutions: Products like Pedialyte or sports drinks (like Gatorade) can help replenish lost electrolytes, which are vital for maintaining fluid balance and muscle function.

  • Herbal tea: Non-caffeinated teas, such as chamomile or ginger tea, can be soothing and provide some hydration. Add a bit of honey for its throat-soothing and mild antibacterial properties.

  • Broths and soups: Clear broths or soups are excellent for hydration and can also provide necessary nutrients. Chicken soup is a classic for a reason - it's easy to digest and can help clear nasal congestion.

Choose nutrient-rich foods.

When you're battling the flu, eating may be the last thing on your mind. But fueling your body with nutritious foods can help support your immune system and help your recovery. The key is to eat foods that are gentle on your stomach but still provide essential nutrients, such as:

  • BRAT diet: This stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. These foods are bland, easy to digest and can help if you're dealing with nausea or diarrhea. Bananas provide potassium, which can be depleted due to dehydration, and rice, applesauce and toast are simple sources of energy that are still gentle on your stomach.

  • Boiled or steamed vegetables: Softened vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach are gentle on the stomach and rich in essential nutrients.

  • Whole grains: Choose whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal or whole wheat toast to provide sustained energy and fiber.

Avoid caffeine and sugar.

Certain foods and drinks can make your flu symptoms worse or be harder on your stomach. Here’s what to avoid when you're feeling sick:

  • Fatty or fried foods: These can be heavy on the stomach and may exacerbate nausea or indigestion.

  • Sugary foods and drinks: While tempting, sugary snacks and drinks can suppress immune function and worsen inflammation.

  • Alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your body even more, which will affect your body's ability to fight off the virus. Stay away from coffee, black tea, soda and alcohol until you're fully recovered.

  • Dairy products: While yogurt can be beneficial (if your stomach can handle it), other dairy products like milk and cheese can increase mucus production and might be harder to digest for some people.

Listen to your body.

Lastly, remember to listen to your body. If you're not feeling up to eating a full meal, that's okay. Focus on staying hydrated and consuming small, nutrient-rich snacks throughout the day. Don't hesitate to contact your primary care provider if you have any concerns or if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Remember, the flu won't last forever, and with proper rest and nourishment, you'll be back on your feet in no time. Take care of yourself, and we wish you a speedy recovery!


About Odessa Medical Enterprises

We are the office of Dr. Khavar Dar, MD and Janette Ornelas, FNP-C, providing pulmonary, critical care and primary care to patients in Odessa, TX. At Odessa Medical Enterprises, we believe that compassion is crucial for effective treatment. Together, we consider it our mission to serve our community and beyond with the utmost care.


bottom of page