Fevers are part of being sick. Most people have a normal body temperature of 98.6 F (37 C), Except for very young children, you are not medically considered to have a temperature until it reaches 100.4 F (38.0 C). When you get a viral or bacterial infection, your body fights it by raising your body temperature. Your immune system works more efficiently at higher temperatures, and viruses and bacteria are sensitive to temperature. Let your immune system work. If your fever reaches 104F (40C) or a child under three months has a temperature of 100.4, you should seen by a doctor.
Treating A Fever
Doctors recommend fluids when you have a fever. Starving a fever (or is it a cold?) is not proper protocol. Focus on drinking good quality liquids that provide nutrition and eat watery fruits and soups. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as sugar is very hard on your body and may prevent the immune system from working properly. You’ll find some great suggestions on what to eat to ease a fever, plus the number one cure for colds and fevers!
Hot tea has many healthy properties. Since it is hot, the steam acts as a decongestant. Tea is rich in polyphenols, a substance that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. One polyphenol, tannin has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Tea also helps keep you hydrated. Try adding a bit of honey (as long as the drinker is over 1 year old) because honey has potent antibacterial effects and can soothe a sore throat.
Antioxidants are important to keep you healthy. Focus on eating foods rich in antioxidants to help fight off a fever and help you heal. Fruits and vegetables are typically high in antioxidants. Plus, the watery content helps keep you hydrated. Antioxidant rich fruits include grapes, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupes, and sweet potatoes. These are easy to chew and won’t scratch a sore throat. Eating fresh fruit is always better than drinking fruit juice that is high in sugar and low in nutrients.
Ingest Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a traditional infection fighter. Humans are the only mammals that can’t synthesize vitamin C so we need to eat vitamin C rich foods. These include oranges, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi and cantaloupe. Pineapples are good cough suppressants, so you can help two symptoms! citrus fruits contain flavonoid compounds that decrease inflammation and boost immune cell functions. Again, eat the fresh variety over canned or juices. You’ll get less harmful sugars and more healthy nutrients in the real thing.
Eat Healthy Veggies
Veggies contain important nutrients that will enhance your immune system while providing you with needed liquid. For watery veggies, try cucumbers, carrots, corn, pumpkin and squash, tomatoes, spinach and bell peppers. Eating a rainbow of veggies will give you the widest range of nutrients important to fighting off a fever. Eat them raw or steamed for best nutrition. Boiled potatoes, the one exception to the raw/steamed rule, are an excellent source of calories and sit easy on your stomach. Your body needs good quality calories to fight off an infection.
Fight bad bacteria with good bacteria. Your gut contains millions of bacteria that help keep you healthy. Taking antibiotics kills off all bacteria, not just the bad bacteria. Studies find that eating probiotic rich food lowers fevers in children. Eat probiotics with a fever or when taking antibiotics. Yogurt is a very easy way to get probiotics. Look for the “Live & Active Culture” seal of approval. Try Greek yogurt. It’s lower in calories and sugars but higher in protein.
When you are sick, your body needs protein to support your immune system. Choose good quality protein like scrambled eggs, chicken, and quinoa. Plant protein is every bit as healthy as meat protein, so eat what sounds good. If eating is too much, try getting your protein in smoothies. Add fruit for extra antioxidants and nutrition. We still haven’t gotten to the single best fever fighting food! It includes everything you need to support your body’s immune system.
Try Coconut Water
Coconut water is not just for post-workouts! Coconut water can help you stay hydrated while feverish and may be more palatable than water on an upset stomach. Coconut water contains glucose and electrolytes needed for re-hydration and can replace lost nutrients. Like tea, coconut water contains the polyphenol tannin. Tannins calm inflamed stomach lining and have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Coconut water also contains anti-oxidants and minerals to help you feel better.
A broth is a thin, savory soup that may contain chunks of veggies or meat. Broths are very good for rehydrating you. They are an excellent source of calories, vitamins and minerals necessary to support your immune system. Add garlic for extra germ fighting potency. Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal effects. If you can stand spicy food while under the weather, add some capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers.
The single best fever fighting, immune system supporting, feel good food you can eat is chicken soup. Yup. Mom was right. Chicken soup made from broth contains almost everything you need — vitamins, minerals, calories and protein. If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, replace needed electrolytes with chicken soup. Chicken soup contains the amino acid cysteine that breaks apart mucus. It inhibits neutrophils that may cause coughing or stuffy noses. And chicken soup is an anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Fevers are not bad, despite how you may feel. Allow your body to fight off infection using the time-honored technique of raising your body temperature. Make sure you support your body by drinking healthy fluids like chicken soup and tea. Eat antioxidant rich foods like fruits. Take in protein to support your immune system. If your fever exceeds 104F, contact your doctor. Your immune system needs more support from medicine when that happens. If your infant’s temperature exceeds 100.4, contact your doctor. Other than that, let your body do its job.
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