Coronavirus (COVID-19): Important information from Sharp
Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Verify your medical group

Refer to your insurance card or call your insurance provider to determine your medical group.

You can also search for your primary care doctor to find the medical group you and your doctor belong to.

FollowMyHealth®
Driving Directions
Cart
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

What do dietitians eat when they are sick?

Oct. 22, 2020

What do dietitians eat when they are sick?

The sniffles, sneezes and coughs that provide the soundtrack of the sick season are unavoidable. Even health care professionals get sick too. When they do, they use the health properties of certain foods to nourish the body and support recovery.

Nicole Herrmann, MS, RD, CLEC, clinical nutrition manager at Sharp Coronado Hospital

When sick, it is always important to continue to consume healthy and nutrient-dense foods with plenty of fluids to maintain strength and hydration.

Fluids
When sick, it is very important to ensure you don’t become dehydrated, as your body needs fluids to function properly, especially when fighting off illness. A great way to do this is drinking hot teas, warm water with lemon, or 100% fruit juices with no added sugar. If you have a sore throat or need something warm and comforting, try drinking warmed-up juices. Soups are also a great way to maintain adequate fluids and provide sustenance when sick; be mindful of the sodium content in store-bought soups. The recommendation by the American Heart Association is that healthy adults should try not to exceed more than 2300mg sodium per day.

Maintain a healthy diet
It can be tough to maintain a normal dietary intake when you are sick, but it’s important to focus on foods that are nutrient-dense. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is especially important if you have symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Nutrient-dense means the food items are packed full of protein, complex carbohydrates (not sugar), healthy fats (poly/monounsaturated fats), whole grains, vitamins and minerals. Avoid “empty calorie” foods, such as chips, soda and sweets as they have little nutritional value.

If food consumption during illness is challenging, eating soft, bland foods and liquids might be best to start with. Items to try include eggs, cottage cheese (1% or skim milk), chicken noodle soup, plain yogurt, toast and cooked vegetables.

Melissa Hughes, RDN, certified wellness and health coach and program manager for the Sharp Rees-Stealy Center for Health Management

Prioritizing nutrient-dense foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats) is a great way to make sure that the body has the nutrients it needs to stay healthy all year long. However, when I feel like I am fighting something, I focus on increasing my intake of foods that have immune-boosting power:

Citrus fruits
Because your body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods you eat every day. The vitamin C content of fruits and vegetables may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. It's best to eat them as soon as possible after shopping, and also consider steaming or microwaving vegetables for short periods of time to limit nutrient loss. In addition to citrus fruits, vitamin C is also found in tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kiwi.

Lean meat
Zinc is needed for the growth and function of immune cells so increasing your zinc intake will help to strengthen your immune system. Sources of zinc include lean meat, fish, oysters, poultry, eggs, whole grains, spinach, beans, seeds and nuts.

Leafy greens
Carotenoids are the pigments in plants that are responsible for bright-colored fruits and vegetables. They act as antioxidants and help to improve immune response. They can be found in red, orange and green fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, carrots, cooked tomatoes, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, winter squash, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges and watermelon.

Other tips for getting and staying well

Stay hydrated
With a respiratory illness, drinking clear liquids is important to help thin mucus secretions. Stay away from beverages with caffeine, which provide less hydration. Be sure to up what you normally drink if you are sneezing, having a productive cough or blowing your nose frequently.

Sleep
One often-overlooked key to staying healthy is getting enough sleep. Aim for eight hours per night. To get close to eight hours, use these tips support a healthy sleep routine.

Hand washing
Hand washing on a regular basis — and especially before preparing or eating food — is necessary to keep you healthy.

This story was updated in October of 2020.

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us

1-800-827-4277

For medical or psychiatric emergencies, call 911 immediately.


Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth
Optional


Find other numbers

View our phone directory

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process hospital price estimates if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

To learn more, call us at 858-499-5901.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.