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Soul-food for the sick

Soul-food for the sick

I am sick. Down and out. Man-down. What is that smell? No. Take it away! Ok, just one bite… Bad idea! Move! Move! Incoming!

Yes, we have all been there. Albeit some flu or a cold that ails us, food seems to often turn into the enemy when it is supposed to be a friend. To make matters worse, most medications require you to eat something first.

But fear not!

Mopani is here. We come bearing advice! That’s sort of our thing, you know?

Here are our top tips of what to eat, when to eat and what to avoid when you are sick


If you are not feeling great, don’t force yourself to eat full meal portions. Eat what you can. Then eat again in an hour or two. Keep the portions small and frequent. That will give your body the chance to constantly take in nutrients. Should you get nauseated, it won’t be for an entire meal all at once.

Light and bland


Now is probably not the time to dig into a rich, heavy meal. A piece of bland toast will fill a gap, enough to take hunger aches away, but not overwhelming enough to induce vomiting. Salty crackers are a good idea to get in some sodium to fight the loss of electrolytes.

If you are up to it, a chicken, beef or veggie broth or soup can sooth a sore throat and replenish fluids, packed with vitamins and minerals to boost your body.

Don’t over-complicate things. Yes, cheese is delicious, but right now you can probably not even taste it, and it may be too rich for your tummy. It therefore does not need to cover your cauliflower.

The ingredients list

We need to see greens here. Broccoli, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals. Eating it once a week is not enough – you need this in your daily intake, especially when you are sick.

Garlic is not just a flavourful, mouth-watering ingredient, it is said to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, with benefits to the blood circulatory system.

Fresh fruit of any kind is a definite plus. It is often refreshing, and not heavy on the tummy. Most fruit contain vitamin c, fibre and antioxidants to clear up the lymphatic system.

Water – yes, this is as boring as it gets, but an intake in water can help a lot. More than 90% of our blood is water. More than 70% of our bodies are water. If you get dehydrated, your blood thickens and your heart and veins have to work harder. Your mucus membranes may dry up a bit too – which means that instead of being able to blow your nose and get the phlegm out of your chest, you will have sticky, thick heavy congestion and struggle with a tight cough. Read more on the effects of dehydration here

Oats with raw honey is recommended, it is also bland enough not to cause an upset tummy. The oats are packed with antioxidants and fibre, the raw honey has soothing properties to your throat. It also contains many vitamins and can help to boost your immune system.


Tea is often a go-to drink. Raw honey and lemon can be added, but avoid milk and sugar. There are many teas available; anything from peppermint to rooibos. Teas are known for their antioxidants, and are another way to stay hydrated and warm and toasty.

Electrolyte sports drinks can be heaven-sent in a pinch. That aching, burning sensation on the skin and within the body is often the symptoms of electrolyte loss. Something like Rehidrat, Bioplus, or Berocca can do wonders. And a small sachet is enough to make all the difference. It will also help you feel less like a total sloth.

Chicken is a nice bland, less fatty protein that will probably not offend your senses. Keep spices and oils to a minimum, to make sure it is not too rich. If animal proteins are not your thing, opt for some beans, legumes or nuts. If you would like to know more about the differences between animal and plant proteins, read more here

How to compromise and what to avoid


Some of the ingredients on the aforementioned list might be a tad bit… inedible to some. Luckily, we have advice to make this easier.

Chances are, there was an eye-roll or two at the green veggies bit. We know, getting a sick, fussy child to eat a vegetable is next to impossible. Mopani Marketing Manager, Alison Blair, has the perfect solution for this.

Feeding her son a healthy balanced diet is important, even when he is NOT sick. She achieved this with a simple trick.

“I make him banana smoothies, and I blend the greens in with it. I make sure to put the smoothie into a coloured container with a lid. He drinks it without ever seeing the colour. He has no idea what I put in there!”

This method can also be effective on adults who have the profound ability to pout at their plates.

Garlic is also not for everyone. Some hate the taste, or love the taste and hate the smell after. This can easily be worked around with parsley! You can eat a fresh sprig of parsley after having garlic. If you don’t like eating it at all, try the garlic and parsley supplement.

Drinking enough water is a challenge to some – as not all are satisfied with it tasting like… nothing? Spruce up your water and teas with fresh lemon and peppermint. You can add all sorts of fruit to your water, for added flavour and nutrients. Up the ante and make some fruity ice lollies to soothe that throat.

Try to avoid dairy as it is associated with increased mucus levels. It is also often too rich and may upset your stomach when you are sick.

Bonus round care

Mopani Pharmacy Operations Manager, Dragana, spoke about how three basic nutrients can make all the difference. Vitamin B and C, with omega 3 makes up the majority of your body and brain’s most prominent needs. If you can, supplement this, along with zinc. Zinc facilitates the absorption of vitamin C and has wound healing properties. This means that it will help sooth your raw throat and nose from all the coughing and wiping.

Read more on her top tips, here: Live the difference with these vitamins & minerals

If you get stuck with symptoms getting worse, speak to our Wellness or Homegrown Babies Sisters for advice, or visit your doctor.

We can deliver your medication and other Mopani online shopping, nationwide! Contact us for info: mopani.co.za | crossing@mopani.co.za | Tel: 013 755 5500 | WhatsApp: 066-192-1703