Fever - What Food to Eat and What Food Not to Eat?
Fever is a common condition that occurs when your body temperature rises above 98.9°F. Fever is usually a sign of an infection or inflammation in your body, and it helps your immune system fight off the germs. However, fever can also make you feel uncomfortable, weak, and dehydrated. Therefore, it is important to take care of your diet when you have a fever.
What Food to Eat When You Have a Fever?
When you have a fever, your body needs more calories, fluids, and nutrients to function properly and recover faster. Here are some of the foods that you should eat when you have a fever:
Fluid-rich foods: Drink plenty of water, hot tea, fresh fruit juice, or coconut water to stay hydrated and flush out the toxins from your body. Fluids also help thin out the mucus and ease congestion. You can also have soups, broths, or stews that are warm and soothing for your throat and stomach. Avoid caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugary drinks as they can dehydrate you and worsen your symptoms.
Fresh fruits: Fruits like apples, oranges, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, and grapes are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that boost your immune system and fight off the infection. They also provide natural sugars that give you energy and prevent low blood sugar levels. Avoid fruits with heavy sugar or fruits canned in syrup as they can suppress your immune system and increase inflammation.
Protein-rich foods: Protein is essential for building and repairing your tissues and cells. It also helps produce antibodies that fight off the infection. You can have eggs, chicken, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, or cottage cheese as sources of protein. Avoid red meat, processed meat, or fried foods as they can increase inflammation and slow down your recovery.
Whole grains: Whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa, or barley provide complex carbohydrates that give you energy and fiber that aids digestion. They also contain B vitamins that support your nervous system and immune system. Avoid refined grains like white bread, white rice, or pasta as they can spike your blood sugar levels and cause inflammation.
Spices and herbs: Spices and herbs like ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, basil, or mint have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help reduce fever and infection. They also add flavor and aroma to your food and stimulate your appetite. You can add them to your soups, teas, or dishes to enhance their taste and benefits.
What Food Not to Eat When You Have a Fever?
When you have a fever, some foods can worsen your symptoms and delay your recovery. Here are some of the foods that you should avoid when you have a fever:
Fried and junk food: Fried and junk food like chips, fries, burgers, pizza, or pastries are high in fat, salt, and calories that can increase inflammation and stress your digestive system. They also lack nutrients that your body needs to heal and recover.
Spicy food: Spicy food like chili peppers, hot sauce, or curry can irritate your throat and stomach and cause acid reflux or heartburn. They can also raise your body temperature and make you sweat more.
Dairy products: Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, or ice cream can increase mucus production and congestion in your respiratory tract. They can also cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea in some people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy.
Allergenic foods: Allergenic foods like nuts, eggs, shellfish, soy, or wheat can trigger allergic reactions in some people who are allergic or intolerant to them. These reactions can range from mild symptoms like rash or itching to severe symptoms like difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, avoid these foods when you have a fever.
Fever is a common condition that requires proper care and attention. Your diet plays a vital role in helping you recover faster and feel better. When you have a fever, eat fluid-rich foods, fresh fruits, protein-rich foods, whole grains, and spices and herbs to boost your immune system, stay hydrated, and get energy. Avoid fried and junk food, spicy food, dairy products, and allergenic foods to prevent inflammation, congestion, and digestive problems.
Remember to consult your doctor if your fever lasts more than three days, is higher than 102°F, or is accompanied by other serious symptoms like severe headache, stiff neck, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or confusion. Your doctor may prescribe you medication or other treatments to lower your fever and treat the underlying cause.
Fever is a natural response of your body to fight off an infection or inflammation. By following a healthy and balanced diet, you can support your body’s healing process and recover faster. Stay well and take care.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456