What to eat and drink when you’re not feeling well

Eating and drinking right can help boost immunity or relieve symptoms of cough, fever and more

Whether you suffer from flu, arthritis, menstrual cramps or other health issues, eating and drinking the right things can help you feel better.


Pineapple juice and manuka honey

Pineapple juice contains a mix of enzymes collectively called bromelain, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate respiratory problems caused by asthma, infection and allergies.

The drink also helps to break up and expel thick and stubborn mucus that trigger coughing fits. Plus, by expelling mucus, it reduces the chances of you aggravating your throat by coughing, thus relieving a sore throat.

On the other hand, one teaspoon of manuka honey before each meal helps to coat the throat and has antiseptic properties - the higher the unique manuka factor rating, the greater the level of anti-bacterial activity.

If the cough is making you feel tight-chested and congested, try adding horseradish, cayenne pepper or ginger to meals. As for whooping cough, tea made from fresh thyme can provide relief.



Crush fresh sage or thyme, put into a cup and pour in almost-boiling water, allow to cool and then gargle the infusion. Sage is anti-inflammatory and eases the soreness. You could also consume bee propolis or use an echinacea spray, as both are antiseptic.


Chicken soup

Boasting a host of vitamins and minerals essential for fighting a virus, chicken soup also provides the fluids and electrolytes required to keep you hydrated.

Aside from its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties, a steaming bowl of it also acts as a natural decongestant because it contains an amino acid that breaks apart mucus, and inhibits the cells that cause coughing and a stuffy nose.


Garlic, onions, lemon and ginger herbal tea

Garlic and onions are anti-bacterial and have antiseptic properties. Make a nourishing soup with six onions, a whole garlic, 2.5cm of grated fresh ginger and some cayenne pepper mixed in a vegetable or chicken stock. You could also add lemongrass.

Drink plenty of soothing lemon and ginger herbal tea. Make your own by finely chopping a 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, steep it in boiling water for 15 minutes with a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly chopped spring onions. Strain and sip.


Orange juice

A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every three hours is beneficial to recovering from a fever. It is rich in vitamin C and a great source of energy, enhancing your immunity to fight against the disease.



Migraines are linked to food intolerances, internal toxicity and sometimes, the menstrual cycle. It can also be a sign of liver congestion.

Include turmeric, which contains curcumin and fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in your diet.

They have great anti-inflammatory properties and omega-3 is an anti-coagulant too, naturally thinning the blood and reducing the severity of migraines.


Cherries and seeds

If your joint pain is associated with high uric acid or gout, cherries or cherry juice extract are best to help mobilise uric acid out of the joints so it can be excreted in urine.

You can also eat at least one tablespoon of flaxseeds daily.

You could swap this for sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds - they are rich in essential fats that are vital for healthy joints.

Hazelnuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts are also great options.

An easy way to eat more of them daily is to place two tablespoons of each nut in a blender for a minute then transfer to an airtight jar to store in the fridge. Sprinkle over breakfast cereals, fruit salads or yogurt.


Green vegetables and teas

Consume more green vegetables that are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium, such as spinach and kailan. They can reduce and prevent dysmenorrhea (excessive uterine muscle contractions), in addition to minimising the irritable feelings that usually accompany menstrual cramps.

Dark green vegetables also contain vitamin K, a necessary substance for coagulation to prevent excessive bleeding.

Try to avoid caffeine because it can increase menstrual discomfort.

Instead, opt for ginger tea to ease nausea and bloating. Chamomile tea can also relieve tension and eliminate muscle spasm, reducing anxiety during menstruation.


Fibre and fermented foods

Flaxseeds contain a blend of insoluble and soluble fibres, which bulk the stool, encouraging it to move gently through the bowel. Eat more fermented foods like yogurt, miso and tempeh. They all contain friendly bacteria that can relieve constipation.


Vitamin B-rich foods

Serotonin is a brain chemical that the body produces to help reduce anxiety and improve quality of sleep. It is made from a constituent of protein called tryptophan.

You can include more sources of vitamin B such as fish, chicken, beans, avocados and wheatgerm in your diet to boost the production of serotonin.

Some people find that eating a banana an hour before they go to sleep helps them sleep longer, as bananas are a good source of tryptophan.

It is also a good idea to have lettuce at night as it contains the natural sedative lactucarium, which encourages deeper sleep.

This article was first published in Her World Online (