Eating can be such a tall order when you’re down with the sickness. Sometimes all you want to do is throwing up whatever you ram in your mouth.

Diseases, especially the chronic ones, can undermine your appetite. People with cancer, for example, do not feel hungry all the time. Those who are clinically depressed may see even one teaspoon as very hard work.

It is normal to refuse food when coping with illness. Caregivers should know better than to tell off a sick person for not finishing that plate.

But not eating anything may aggravate your condition. The body needs nutrients notwithstanding the state of your appetite.

To regain your appetite, you would have to steer clear of the symptoms that make you less hungry. The doctor can help you treat symptoms by way of special medications. These symptoms over with, you’re on track to take back your appetite.

Life-threatening or mild, any medical condition should not completely impede your nutritional needs. To wit, tips and ways on how to eat when sick:


One non-negotiable for the body is getting its supply of protein. It holds true even if you’re sick.

Protein, the building blocks of cells, boosts the body’s healing factor. Not only that but it also curbs the loss of muscles and stabilizes body fluid levels.

There are infinite ways to get protein into your body. Its most universal provenances include pork, beef, chicken, lamb, fish, eggs and cheese.

There are nearly as many choices of protein for vegetarians. Vegans can get their protein from beans, nuts and many other plants. Soy products like tofu also contain much protein. However, you would need to eat a bigger amount of vegetarian food to match the protein content of a smaller amount of animal food.

Still, if you cannot get protein from any food at all, the doctor may prescribe protein supplements, which are easily available as powdered drinks and such.


When you become sick, calorie-counting makes no difference anymore. As your body depletes your calories to make up for decreased appetite, you may actually need to eat more, screw the scales.

A sick body needs more calories than ever because it is functioning harder to combat the condition. Then you lose weight, because your appetite just won’t cooperate—only that you can’t jump for joy this time.

Improve your caloric intake by eating more protein. Even dietitians would tell calorie-deprived patients to eat cheeseburgers just so they can compensate for their weight loss.

Yet there are diseases that have weight gain for their symptom. In view of this, high-calorie diets are only recommended for patients with diseases that cause weight loss. Do not begin ramping up your calorie intake without the doctor’s advice.


Fiber is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Its most immediate benefit is that it wards off constipation and maintains your regular bowel movement. If you eat them long enough, you would become less prone to diabetes, cancer and other diseases. If you’re already struck with a disease, you also need fiber too, more than usual even.

Fiber can easily be derived from whole grains, vegetables and fruits. There are also many fiber supplements out in the market.

But patients tend to eat the wrong kind of food while in convalescence. They may eat toasted bread, for example, which has lower fiber content than whole wheat bread.

Not all patients would need fiber nonetheless. There are conditions wherein patients get bloated after eating fiber. Diarrhea also tends to worsen in patients who take fibrous food. Tell your doctor about your concerns with fiber.

Vitamins and minerals

No one can survive without minerals and vitamins. Even if you eat protein faithfully or munch on fiber-rich food like there’s no tomorrow, the body simply would not function well without minerals (like potassium and calcium) and vitamins (like A, C, D and E).

In fact, there are diseases caused by a lack of certain vitamins and minerals. If you habitually munch on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, then you have not much to worry about.

Supplements can never substitute the vitamins and minerals you get from natural whole food. Granted, supplements pack more vitamins and minerals in a smaller amount than whole foods. But whole food still has so many unknown nutrients in them; supplements just could not measure up.

Furthermore, supplements may be contraindicated against your medication.  Among others, folic acid supplements may get in the way of cancer and arthritis treatments such as methotrexate. Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids are even known to be lethal, when combined with Plavix, Coumadin and other blood thinners.

Though seemingly innocuous, multivitamins may be unsafe too. Experts say the dosage for multivitamins have increased over the decades. Many drug companies have manufactured multivitamins that stray beyond the daily recommended dose.

Therefore, the doctor would serve as your arbiter in taking particular vitamin and mineral supplements. You must never self-medicate, especially if you have a medical condition. The same goes for alternative medications.

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