Should someone stick to a diet when he or she becomes sick? That depends on what type of diet they are following and what exactly is making him or her sick. Illnesses and diseases may be chronic or acute. A chronic illness is a medical condition that is long lasting and/or recurring.
An acute illness or disease is a medical condition that is short lived and may go away, but will return. Examples of chronic diseases include asthma, cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, and osteoporosis. These chronic medical conditions may benefit from treatment, but will be long-term and recurring. Examples of acute illnesses include colds, sinusitis, sore throat, fever, stomach pain, and certain infections. These acute conditions are treated and cured.
Diet and Chronic Conditions
People who are chronically sick should always follow a healthy diet and try to maintain an appropriate weight for their height. Food is fuel for your body. A chronic illness, such as diabetes or high cholesterol may become worse by eating a diet high in saturated fat and sugar or improve by consuming most of your fat from unsaturated sources and avoiding sugar. The following are examples of chronic diseases and things to include or avoid in your daily diet.
- Osteoporosis: eat a diet high in calcium and vitamin D
- High blood pressure: watch sodium consumption
- Diabetes: eat mini-meals throughout the day and include a protein source with carbohydrates
- High cholesterol: follow a diet high in fiber and low in saturated fat
Diet and Acute Conditions
People who suffer from an acute sickness should focus on healthy foods and avoid a stringent diet. Although you may crave comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese or ice cream, you should avoid foods without much nutritional value. Food helps support your immune system, which is why it so important to eat healthy meals and snacks when you are sick. The following are examples of acute illnesses and things to include or avoid in your diet.
- Nausea/vomiting: eat bland foods without much spice or seasoning
- Sore throat: consume hot liquids, such as soup, tea, or coffee
- Sinusitis: avoid high sugar foods and add extra spice to meals
- Fever: drink plenty of water and 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice
People should eat a healthy diet every day, whether they are sick or not; however, that is not always the case. When you are sick, it is more important than ever to eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Food is the gasoline that your body runs on. When something breaks down in your body or you get an infection, your immune system is working overtime to repair whatever is sick. A healthy diet provides the fuel that your immune system needs to do its job and keep you running smoothly.