A tapped-out immune system and post-infection fatigue aren’t exactly a recipe for a hearty appetite. But in addition to building up your strength, a balanced diet is a key to long-lasting health and an easier recovery. (For people with diabetes, this is especially important, as high blood sugar levels can weaken the immune system.)

  • Wash your hands—and your food: Good hand hygiene is key to preventing infection. Also, wash produce with white vinegar or a produce wash to remove potentially dangerous bacteria.

  • Cook any animal product thoroughly, including beef, chicken, fish, shellfish, and others. This will limit your exposure to Listeria, E. coli (often attributed to urinary tract infections, or UTIs), and other infections that could impact your already compromised system.

  • Treat sensitive stomachs with care. Patients recovering from gastrointestinal infections (including C.Diff and norovirus, which can cause severe diarrhea) should drink lots of fluids in order to prevent dehydration.

    The best foods to eat are soft, plain foods: Bananas have been known to help with diarrhea, as well as other plain foods, such as rice, applesauce, and toast (known as the BRAT DIET.) One note: If you’ve had one of these infections and still have symptoms, do not prepare food for others until you’ve completely well.

  • Drink cranberry juice, which has long been considered great UTI prevention.  In addition, the berry itself—as well as blueberries—have been shown, in some studies, to keep bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract.

  • Heap on Vitamin C–rich fruits and veggies, including citrus or broccoli — to complement your berries. This powerhouse nutrient not only heals wounds and promotes growth, according to some sources, it may also make urine more acidic, discouraging the growth of bacteria.

  • Try probiotics, which are found in plain Greek yogurt, some cheese, and other fermented foods (including sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso). They’ve been said to promote the build-up of “good” bacteria in the body.

  • Give caffeine and alcohol a rest. They are known to irritate the bladder, and the alcohol might interfere with antibiotics you’re taking. Opt for water—the single best way to flush bacteria from your urinary tract—or a cranberry cocktail instead!