Influenza, commonly called the flu, can leave you dehydrated and with a loss of appetite. Vomiting and diarrhea deplete your body of electrolytes, minerals essential to optimum metabolic functioning. It is imperative to maintain proper nutrient balance during and after a bout with the flu to restore your body's immune system and provide you with the energy needed to get back to normal daily activities. If you haven't been able to keep much down while suffering from the flu, revving up with vitamins and minerals right after will get you on the right track.
Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day to rehydrate yourself. Dehydration makes absorbing nutrients difficult. Water also lubricates mucus membranes, helping reduce congestion.
Choose juices that are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, such as orange or cranberry juice. Sports drinks also help replenish electrolytes. Refrain from juices and other drinks that contain added sugar, syrups or artificial colors and flavors. These don't provide nutrients, increase mucus production and challenge the digestive tract -- many artificial colors and flavors are not absorbed or digested.
Consume clear broths, soups and teas such as chicken soup, ginger tea or even hot water with honey. Warm liquids are soothing and open congested nasal passages. The nutrients are also more easily absorbed and are less taxing on your digestive system.
Eat fresh fruits like oranges, kiwi, blueberries that are high in vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B. Eat garlic to help increase immune function and assist in removing any residual congestion.
Eat yogurt to help digest foods. Yogurt contains probiotics, helping keep a proper balance of good bacteria levels in your body and digestive tract.
Choose lean and high-fiber foods for meals. Chicken, eggs or fish contain essential amino acids. Avocado or peanut butter has healthy fats needed for cellular function. Whole grains, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and whole-wheat toast provide energy and other vitamins such as zinc and selenium.
Add a vitamin supplement to the largest meal of the day to assist in absorption of the vitamins; get your doctor's approval before taking any supplements. Supplements are not as effective as food sources and are more difficult to digest. If you have an appetite, it is better to get the nutrients from foods.