Flu season is at its peak right now. And many of us are laid up in beds toughing it out through sneezing, sore throat, cough, chills, body aches, headaches, and fatigue. While fighting back with medications, some more traditional treatments during this year’s flu season may help along the way.
The best way to fight a cold is to feed a cold, right? Well that old saying has a lot of truth behind it. We now know for certain that broth based soups help in treating cold and flu symptoms, but researchers don’t yet know specifically how.
What they do know is that broth based soups have both anti-inflammatory effects, and they help stimulate the movement of mucus in the upper respiratory system. Aside from that, drinking any hot liquid, to include soup, helps to loosen congestion and get things moving.
And, while all types of soup are popular during winter months, if you do have a bad cold or the flu, avoid cream based soups. A little cream is fine, but any recipe that includes milk, cream, or cheese may not be the best. Dairy can be an irritant, heightening some cold and flu symptoms like phlegm thickness.
Full of vitamins and nutrients, broth based soups may be the only way to get some food down during a flu or bad cold. So what are the best soups to drink this winter to treat flu or help keep it away? While no soup will single handedly keep you from getting sick, broth based soups will help keep you at your peak to fight against cold and flu. Here are our favorites:
Chicken Noodle Soup
This broth based classic provides the most benefit when it is freshly made, from scratch. Now you can cheat a little and buy the broth, but make sure to use fresh, non-pre-cooked vegetables in your soup so that you can benefit from the vitamins and minerals. Please no canned chicken soup full of soggy noodles and tiny chunks of chicken-like meat. That won’t do you any good.
Chicken Marsala Soup
This chicken and mushroom broth based soup is a great alternative to chicken noodle because of the health benefits the mushrooms provide. Mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, niacin, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin C, and iron. They’re also protein packed to give your body an energy boost needed to fight against cold or flu
Chicken Pot Pie Soup
A delicious twist on chicken noodle and pot pie, chicken pot pie is a tummy filler packed full of much needed calories to keep a cold at bay. Plus, there’s nothing like pot pie for a comfort food during a cold weather! (While this soup is broth based, it has some dairy too. If you already have flu or cold symptoms, go with a strictly broth based soup.)
Pot Roast Soup
If you’re sick of eating chicken, beef broth will serve you just as well. Pot Roast Soup has so many wonderful qualities. It has the vegetables you need to stay healthy, the magic broth with its mysterious cold fighting benefits, and the calorie and protein intake from the potatoes and beef you’ll need to get through flu season.
Italian Wedding Soup
An absolutely wonderful alternative to the classic chicken noodle soup, Italian Wedding soup is made of small meatballs, nutrient rich spinach, orzo pasta for energy, carrots, and herbs. Most importantly, this is another broth based soup, which means besides feeding your body with powerful nutrients from the meat and vegetables, you will also receive the cold combating benefits of the broth.
Vegetarian Garlic Soup
We haven’t forgotten about all you vegetarians who need a good cold fighting soup too. Enter the vegetable garlic soup. Like the others listed, this soup is packed full of nutrient rich vegetables like carrot, mushroom, and kale. And it’s made with turmeric, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Anyone suffering through an achy body in the midst of fighting a bad cold or flu will take any help they can get to reduce inflammation. Another main ingredient, garlic, is believed to boost the immune system, which is a huge help when your immune system is firing on less than all cylinders.
Hot and Sour Soup
Need to keep the mucus moving? Try this spicy broth based soup for a change. Hot and sour soup is loaded with nutritious ingredients such as chicken stock, green onions, tofu, bamboo, ginger, and chinese fungi. And, its chilis will ensure that your nose starts running and mucus starts moving while you’re eating it.
Ginger, a key ingredient in hot and sour soup, is a natural way to treat nausea, a common symptom of the flu. It also has anti-inflammatory properties helpful for anyone suffering from flu aches and pains.
Coconut Chicken Thai Soup
Like the Hot and Sour soup, Coconut Chicken Thai soup will provide much needed spiciness to keep your sinuses stimulated, and mucus flowing. Similar to chicken noodle, this broth based soup is a great tool to use along with your medicinal arsenal while fighting a cold. This soup is full of ginger, garlic, onion, mushrooms, chicken broth, red chiles, chicken, and coconut.
Besides the health benefits you’re getting from the ginger, garlic, mushroom, and broth; coconut is rich in antiviral properties, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and electrolytes.
While soup is not the magical solution to prevent flu or cold, consuming it on a regular basis during those cold winter months when flu season is at its peak, will go one step further in helping your immune system be as prepared as it can.
Still, some of us will come down with at least one cold during this time, and some of us may get the flu. When this happens, a broth based soup will provide comfort, boost the immune system, and get the mucus flowing.
Whatever soup you choose to eat, make sure its similar to the ones listed here: made from a bone based broth, full of vegetables, herbs, and spices good for the immune system. And most importantly pick a soup that’s comforting to the soul.