I have been quite unwell these past few days. I share not to seek sympathy, but to provide context. Even the most disciplined have been known to get off kilter when unwell. My regular undisciplined self manifested itself much like the ghosts of girlfriends past (no my girlfriends were not undisciplined, I was). I craved salt and carbohydrates like they were tickets to the winter ball. Before long my drug infused brain, laced with salt and sugar, was curious to find out what you should eat when you are unwell.
Our digestive tract contains almost 70% of our immunity system. From the saliva in your mouth to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach just your digestive system is enough to ward most threats. If it still escapes, what you eat makes a difference to your ability to deal with illness. Easier said than done as among the first thing that illness tends to steal is your taste. In the mean time, your disease is creating havoc within your body and causing inflammatory responses and an increased metabolic rate. This consumes vital nutrients and therefore if you are deficient, it makes you worse.
Probiotics, especially those that come from yogurt, kefir and pickle help your body restore good bacteria and this helps you fight your invaders. Fluids, plenty of it, is easily one of the best things that you can have if you are unwell. Depending on what made you sick in the first place, supplementing it with electrolytes or salt, sugar and lemon can be restorative. By the way, eating is not necessarily default as legends abound in the medical field of starving your fever and feeding your cold. This is believed to be true because a lot of energy is consumed in digesting food and your body is better placed fighting the invasion. If you do eat, it is wise to consume vitamins and minerals even if as supplements. Garlic, green tea and honey and turmeric are wonderful for most common ailments. In general carbohydrate rich foods should be avoided as they add to the inflammation in your body. However, do not be surprised if that is what your body craves as it is far easier to digest and less work for your body.
What I learnt on this journey with my research partners, the ghosts, was that grandma was right after all. Plenty of rest, fluids, vitamins and sleep can take care of most ailments at least from a dietary perspective.