Feeling Sick? What to Eat to Maintain Strength, Speed Recovery and Meet Your Performance Goals

January 18, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

Did you catch the flu bug this season, or are you feeling under the weather? Just because you feel sick and can't play your sport doesn't mean you can't help your performance. By including the following "super' foods" in your diet, you can stay at your best and  speed up your recovery so you can get back on the field sooner.  (Better yet: avoid illness altogether with advice from the YOU Docs in Be Immune to Getting Sick This Season.)

Foods high in protein

These are important for keeping your body strong and boosting your immune system with high levels of B6 and B12. Examples include eggs, chicken and nuts.

Citrus foods

Vitamin C is essential for athletes because it contains large amounts of antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body and ward off inflammation, infections and viruses. Fruits like oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, strawberries and peppers are the best sources of vitamin C, and their skins are also packed with flavonoids, which increase immune system activation. (See Drink Orange Juice to Strengthen Your Immune System.)

Yogurt

Yogurt is not only high in protein, it also contains probiotics, which studies show help improve immune response and shorten the length of time when you have a cold or the flu.

Cruciferous vegetables

These contain glutathione, which strengthens the immune system to fight infection. Examples include broccoli, collard greens, kale, and cabbage.

Your mom was really on to something every time she served you chicken noodle soup when you were sick as a child. It's actually the best option for you! The most important part is the broth, because the liquid helps keep you hydrated. Plus it's easy to eat when you don't have much of an appetite. Make your own or buy low-sodium chicken broth. The lean protein and vegetables will get you back on your game in no time.

(For tips on how to prevent sickness altogether, check out Foods to Boost Your Immune System.)

 

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 6,029,485
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 32,950,434
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 21,155,429

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,018,397
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 16,121
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,968
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,798
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,533
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,381
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,222
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,214

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Boston Cannons' Keep It Real Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons'

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

YardBarker