7 Foods That Help With a Fever
There is nothing comfortable about a fever. The combination of shivering and sweating is torture. But what are fevers, exactly? Fevers are a temporary increase in your body temperature, often due to an illness. From the stomach virus to the common cold or flu (including COVID-19), it's a common sign that something unusual is happening in your body. "Fever is a reaction of the immune system used to fight a pathogen," says Heather L. Donahue, holistic nutritionist and owner of Heather's Health Habits.
In the pandemic that we are currently in, one of the most common symptoms of the coronavirus is fever. Practicing social distancing and staying home as much as possible can help prevent catching the virus. And while foods can't cure a virus, there are foods that can help ease symptoms and protect your body from a fever. These seven foods will help your body fight the fever and ease those achy chills. If staying healthy is your priority, you might want to avoid these 100 Worst Foods for Cold and Flu.
The traditional Japanese soup is usually made with savory miso and dashi broth. It's popularly known as a soup that contains tofu, seaweed, and green onions. Miso is a great source of multiple vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. "It also contains live probiotics. Taken as soup, it helps to rehydrate and restore electrolyte losses," says Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, a certified gastroenterologist. Who knew that miso soup was more than just an appetizer? It's both delicious and powerful in helping your body recover.
It's no surprise that berries have a great nutritional profile. Common examples are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Typically high in fiber and vitamin C, these fruits provide plenty of health benefits—just look at their colors. "The beautiful colors from berries are due to plant compounds called anthocyanins that have demonstrated benefits against respiratory viruses and enhance the immune system," says Dr. Bulsiewicz. The consumption of a low calorie cranberry drink can reduce the number of symptoms that a cold or flu can bring.
As our body temperature increases, we burn a lot more calories when we have a fever. It doesn't help that you're barely hungry, and if you have other symptoms, like a sore throat, drinking anything hurts. But when you have a fever, staying hydrated is essential.
Fruits like mangos are highly recommended because of their high water content, the fact that they're a significant source of vitamin C, and because they are easy to digest. "Fruit is hard to digest because of the fiber. And when we have a fever, we normally have stomach issues as well," says nutritionist Heather L. Donahue. Soft fruits like mangos are easy on the digestive system and will provide you the hydration that your body needs.
Chicken soup has been a food staple for many when ill. Apart from the warmth and soothing flavor, there is a reason why many experts recommend it.
"When there is an infection, pyrogens (chemicals in the blood) are released where the immune system has identified a potential pathogen. Pyrogens stimulate the hypothalamus to raise the setpoint for temperature in the body. Muscles begin to shiver to generate heat and warm the body to the new setpoint," says Dr. Leann Poston of Invigor Medical in Kennewick, Washington. This process requires energy and chicken soup will provide you with fluids to help rehydrate the body, and the protein from the chicken will give you that boost of energy that your body needs.
Insoluble Fiber-Rich Foods
Apart from the runny nose, sore throat, and fever, digesting food can be an issue when we are sick. Eating insoluble fiber can help pass stool and "help to regulate the immune system and the inflammation caused by the immune system, better resolving a viral infection," says Dr. Greg Maguire, Ph.D., FRSM, Chief Scientific Officer at Bio Regenerative Sciences and former professor of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
The best kinds of insoluble fiber-rich foods are vegetables like cauliflower. Vegetables provide antioxidants that help fight the viral infection and protect DNA and proteins from the effects of the inflammation caused by the virus. "Fewer damaged proteins and less DNA damage mean that fewer pyrogens will be produced and temperature lowering results," says Dr. Maguire.
We bet we know what you're thinking—how can a spice make a fever better? But believe it or not, thyme is better for you than oranges when it comes to being ill. "It has three times more vitamin C than oranges (gram for gram) and one of the highest vitamin C concentrations of all culinary herbs, certainly within the most popular ones," says Dr. Giuseppe Aragona, a general practitioner for Prescription Doctor. Vitamin C is vital for supporting your immune system, which helps fight viruses and bacteria.
Dark green leafy vegetables like kale are powerful immune boosters. "Kale is a powerful alkalizer of the body and detoxifier of the blood and liver," says celebrity nutritionist and anti-inflammatory expert, Dr. Daryl Gioffre. He adds that kale "will boost immune function, helping your body get rid of the toxins that are driving up the inflammation in your body." He even suggests consuming two green juices daily, as it doesn't require a lot of energy for your digestive system and will give your body the nutrients it needs.
Fever can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances; eating and staying hydrated is a must in order to help reduce it. Choose foods that are high in vitamin C, which will help boost your immune system and give your body the energy it needs to help fight that awful viral infection. You'll be feeling back to normal in no time.