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

January 18, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

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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...
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