Keto Diet

How to Stay on Keto While Sick? Our Expert Answers

Oh great! It appears you caught a common cold while embarking on your new keto lifestyle. Typically, you would make warm tea with honey, but sugar is prohibited on a ketogenic diet. So, what should you do? How do you stay on keto while sick?

When you are sick, you might have some cravings for comfort foods. Unfortunately, most of these foods are not keto-friendly. Still, being sick does not mean that you have to give up on your keto diet. 

You can follow some natural strategies that help you heal faster and stay in ketosis. This article will share some foods you can try out to maintain a ketogenic diet while sick.

What to Eat on Keto When Sick?

The keto diet drives the body into a state of ketosis when the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies. These ketones are an energy source and act as fuel for the body in the absence of glucose.

You might wonder what you should eat while sick and on keto. Your appetite might plunge big time, and food doesn’t taste as good. However, your best bet is to remain on the keto diet.

Everyday meals might be too heavy for you, and you can try preparing soup. You can also add mixed vegetables, some chicken, fruits, and nuts to your soup to make the soup more palatable. 

Your body needs the proper diet to fight infection. There are plenty of low-carb options for you to eat and stay on keto.

A low-carb diet, a calm environment, sugar-free liquids, and adequate rest will help you get back on your feet in no time. This article will discuss some foods to add to your eating plan.

Keto-Friendly Cold and Sore Throat Remedies

Usually, when one gets a sore throat, it is a sign that something worse is brewing. In any case, you do not want to ruin the progress made on your diet. You also want some symptom relief from the flu and sore throat.

Many low-carb home remedies get you up and running in no time.

#1 Bone broth

When you are down with a fever, it is easy to experience dehydration. A warm and comforting drink can combat the illness, especially if the flu has you down with chills. Bone broth is warm and hydrating, and it helps your body absorb water easily.

Bone broth is made through simmering animal bones and their connective tissues. It has recently gained popularity as it is highly nutritious and low in carbohydrates. You can prepare bone broth from the bones of almost any animal.

Bone broth has amino acids such as glycine and arginine that fight inflammation. Arginine is particularly beneficial in fighting chronic inflammation.

Bone broth has low calories but is still effective in satisfying hunger. Research suggests that consumption of bone broth increases the feeling of satiety and helps decrease body fat. This is because the broth is high in protein which helps regulate appetite.

Chicken-broth

#2 Soup

On a sick day, a warm bowl of soup helps battle that nasty flu. Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center study showed that people who consumed chicken noodle soup had a higher white blood cell count for fighting infections.

Another study showed that drinking hot fluids when you feel sick alleviates symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. Soup also improves the function of cilia (hair-like projections in the nose), thus reducing the chance of contagions entering the body.

The main reason soup is good while having a fever is that it contains many nutrients such as vitamins, thus giving the body a rich low-calorie meal.

Some keto-friendly soups are veggie soup, tomato feta soup, keto broccoli soup, keto curried pumpkin soup, and chicken soup.

Tomato-soup

#3 Ginger and lemon tea

People have used ginger as a home remedy to treat various conditions like abdominal pain. Today, the mixture of ginger and lemon tea is common in easing the symptoms of flu or cough.

Ginger has medicinal properties that reduce inflammation, soothe sore throats, and reduce congestion in nasal passages.

A sore throat happens when you have an inflammation in your throat. Ginger has antimicrobial properties that block inflammatory proteins in your body.

Lemon tea helps break mucus and gives pain relief for sore throats. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that boost immunity and ward off infections.

Ginger-lemon-tea

#4 Hot lemon water

There is something about the warmth, aroma, and herbal infusions of hot lemon water while sick. It is instrumental in fighting off infections.

Lemons are rich in vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, magnesium, and potassium, which boost the immune system and fight flu infection.

Drinking lemon water regularly cleanses the system by reducing acidity in your body and eliminating uric acid in your joints. Lemon also has pectin fiber that makes you feel satiated and fight hunger cravings.

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4 Tips How to Stay on Keto When You’re Sick

It is hard to stay on any diet while sick. It is even harder to maintain a keto diet while under the weather. However, you do not have to undo all the progress you have made by giving up on keto when sick. Some strategies help you stay in ketosis and recover faster.

It is best to stick to your diet as ketones are ideal for boosting your immunity. You may have to reduce your food intake temporarily but stick to your original meal plan as much as possible.

Below are some tips you can try out to stay on keto when sick.

#1 Get enough sleep

The quality of sleep you get is paramount to your overall brain function and health. One of the most effective ways to help your body get better is by giving the body adequate sleep.

Sleep helps your immune system to fight off an illness. One of the ways sleep does it is by releasing cytokines, a protein that boosts the immune system during sleep. Therefore, sleep is the body’s defense mechanism to jumpstart your immune system.

The immune system also needs energy for proper functioning. When you are awake, the body uses energy for physical activities like movement, but while asleep, the body can redirect that energy to restore your immune system.

A study from the Sleep Research Society showed that lack of sleep increases the susceptibility to sickness, and enough sleep has substantial and positive health effects.

clock-in-hand

To get adequate sleep, you need to have a routine before bed that promotes sleep. You can take a warm bath, listen to calm music, or read a book. Ensure that your room is quiet and peaceful to give you a conducive sleeping environment.

It will help if you avoid distractions such as electronics in your room.

#2 Stay hydrated

It is essential to stay hydrated when you are sick as your body loses the vital fluids necessary for body function. Staying hydrated does not necessarily mean you have to drink water, but you can also take low-calorie drinks that will keep you refreshed.

When you are properly hydrated, it helps the skin and mucous membranes act as a barrier preventing germs from entering the body. Hydration also eases nasal irritation, coughing, and sneezing.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.

Some tell-tale signs of dehydration are dark yellow urine, headaches, dry lips, and dry eyes. It is not easy to stay hydrated when sick, as fatigue and nausea can make you not want to swallow anything.

#3 Consume more fat

Healthy fats provide an excellent healthy choice for you to give nourishment and enhance your body’s immune function. Some fats are better than others giving you healthy options for recovery while sick.

Some of the best sources of fats on keto are fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Home-made bone broth and chicken soup are other great alternatives for fats. They are also rich in minerals and vitamins.

different-nuts

Fats from food sources such as avocados balance blood sugar and improve heart health. You can also try out nuts. Since nuts have different nutrient compositions, you should try out various nuts for maximum benefits.

Walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pecans are all excellent low-carb and high-fat alternatives for your diet.

#4 Try electrolytes

All fluids are not the same when it comes to alleviating dehydration. There are unique minerals known as electrolytes that help the body function properly by maintaining fluid balance. Some of these electrolytes are potassium, sodium, and chloride.

When a person is sick, they lose electrolytes through sweat, diarrhea, and vomit. These electrolytes are essential in maintaining the body’s pH. The absence of electrolytes in the body causes muscle cramps and perpetual dehydration.

The right balance of glucose and electrolytes ensure your body rehydrates as fast as possible. Some of the best electrolyte sources on keto are chicken broth, avocado, eggplant, and dairy. You should also try out cruciferous vegetables, greens, fish, and low-carb nuts.

Keto-Friendly Comfort Food While Sick

Sometimes, you want to curl up with a soda, cheese, and a Big Mac when sick. However, you do not have to go down this route as there are many filling and satisfying keto comfort foods.

There is no particular definition of comfort foods, but our bodies crave them on sick days. Luckily, there are many comfort foods on a ketogenic diet that you can try out.

Examples of these comfort foods include keto-friendly pizza Margherita, cauliflower mac and cheese, zucchini lasagna, keto pasta, and fried chicken tenders. These foods are keto compliant and satisfy the cravings you might have.

However, your health comes first, and you should consult with your doctor before making any drastic health changes.

A Word From RD

The keto diet helps fight a cold or flu better than a high-carb diet. 

When one is sick and takes up a diet that includes fish, poultry, and green veggies, it activates a subset of T cells in the lungs that produce mucus in the lung cell linings to fight off influenza virus and other bacterial infections.

Sometimes if the body is intolerant to a ketogenic diet, it might go to a state of excessive ketosis.

Some symptoms of extreme ketosis include nausea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms persist, you should see your doctor for medical assistance.

Conclusion

There are different ideas for following ketogenic diets while sick. You can incorporate other foods in your eating plan and find your middle ground to balance diet with appetite.

You do not have to quit a keto diet because you have a fever but rather embrace all the advantages. Feeling unwell can help you experience deeper keto levels as you will learn more about the health benefits of keto.

There are no foods that inherently cure diseases, but the proper diet improves your immune response and relieves you of some symptoms. If symptoms persist, you should seek your doctor’s advice.

Edibel Quintero, MD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
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