The old adage that you should “feed a cold and starve a fever” is not based on scientific evidence. In fact, you should never starve yourself because you need the nutrients found in healthy foods to recover from illness.
“In general, when you are feeling ill, you should eat whatever healthy foods you think your body can handle,” says Sandra Zakroff, MD, family medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “We do know that eating foods high in antioxidants – such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E – can both reduce your chance for illness and possibly help you recover more quickly.”
Eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure you have enough antioxidants in your diet. Spinach, broccoli and cantaloupe are particularly rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, and peanut butter and sunflower seeds are good sources of vitamin E.
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