Nobody likes battling the winter cold that’s going around the office or neighborhood, but it happens to all of us. Even if you’re diligent about being healthy, sometimes you find yourself sick, with nothing but Netflix and sweatpants for comfort. Well, Netflix, sweatpants, and soup, of course!
We’re big believers in the power of warm soup on sick days, so whether you’re feeling just a little under the weather or battling an extra nasty cold, take a look at the best soups to eat when you or a loved one is feeling unwell.
Why Is Soup Good for Colds?
Why is it that when we get a cold, the only thing that sounds good is a warm bowl of soup? There’s actually a scientific reason behind this. A study conducted by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha found that individuals who ate chicken noodle soup when sick had a higher count of the white blood cells needed to fight infections. Rennard theorized that increasing these infection-fighting cells helps to reduce upper respiratory symptoms that are common with colds.
Another study found that those who drank hot liquids when sick had a higher movement of nasal mucus. And that soup also improves the function of cilia, the tiny hairlike projections within the nose that prevent contagions from entering the body.
A huge reason that soup is good for colds is that most contain hot broth rich in vitamins, nutrient-rich veggies, and provides a light meal without taxing the body.
Here’s our list of soups that put their feel-good magic to work!
1. Chicken Noodle Soup
Let’s start with a classic! Not only does chicken noodle soup taste great, it’s one of the best soups for a cold. Hot broth can help relieve a sore throat and stimulate nasal clearance. Plus, it contains vitamin-rich veggies that help boost your immune system and noodles to help you feel full and satisfied.
2. Asian-Inspired Zoodle Flu Buster Soup
Flavorful and full of texture, this zoodle flu buster soup gets its unique taste from the anise seed, cumin, and five-spice powder added to the soup’s base. Each of these spices is high in antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system. This soup also contains zucchini and yellow squash, and both contain B-vitamins that boost energy and antioxidants to reduce inflammation.
3. Harvest Vegetable Soup
Hearty vegetable soups are made with a variety of heart-healthy veggies and a whole garden’s worth of herbs. This is a great soup for colds as it helps to fight the fatigue that accompanies illness.
4. Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy and delicious, this is the perfect soup to eat while curled up in bed and recuperating with plenty of fluids, Netflix, and a cozy blanket. But butternut squash also has a secret identity as a superfood—it contains cucurbitacins, an anti-inflammatory compound that helps viruses and bacteria. Plus, butternut squash contains a high amount of vitamin C to give your immune system an extra boost.
5. Tomato Basil Soup
Another good soup for a cold is creamy tomato basil. In addition to being a great comfort food on a rainy day, this soup is packed with numerous antioxidants, plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals that, in addition to boosting immunity, promote healthy skin and vision, improve bone health, and may even reduce the risk of heart disease.
6. Coconut Curry Soup
This recipe from Damn Delicious takes less than half an hour to make and has just enough spice to help clear the sinuses. Plus, it’s full of garlic and ginger, two ingredients known to help with just about everything—from upset stomachs to lingering coughs.
7. Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder
Next on our list of best soups for colds is creamy corn and potato chowder. Potatoes contain several proteins and vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K, all of which are great for boosting your immune system. And chowder is just cozy: how you ought to feel during recovery.
8. Poblano Chicken Chowder
Poblano peppers are loaded with vitamin C which is vital to immune function. A hearty poblano chicken chowder is a perfect soup for colds as it provides just enough kick to help clear your sinuses.
9. Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Chicken and wild rice may be the best soup for a cold as each ingredient provides a number of health benefits. Chicken and rice are a great source of protein, onions are known to have antiviral properties, carrots support antibody production, and research has shown that garlic may reduce the severity of cold symptoms.
10. Healing Green Tea and Chickpea Soup
We love this recipe from Top with Cinnamon. It’s filled with carbs, so you’ll get an energy boost, and it’s full of immune-boosting veggies such as carrots, kale, and celery. For some extra cold-fighting, garlic tortilla triangles are perfect for dipping.
11. Golden Turmeric Noodle Miso Soup
When you’re under the weather, there’s a lot of toxins floating around your body, and a turmeric miso soup is a great way to flush them out. This soup from Love and Lemons is packed with a ton of vegetables, including scallions, celery, carrots, and bok choy, giving your body the extra vitamins and minerals needed to get rid of toxins. It also contains rice and zucchini noodles to help you feel more full and tofu for protein.
12. Cleansing Detox Soup
This cleansing detox soup is filled with all the good stuff you need to overcome a cold. It features immune-boosting ingredients like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and fresh lemon juice. The detoxifying vegetables like celery, kale, broccoli, and carrots help to cleanse your body and help you feel more whole.
Enjoy a Healing Bowl of Soup From Spoonful of Comfort
Whether you’re worried about your college student far from home or a friend trying to survive the flu season with a house full of sick kids, Spoonful of Comfort provides a variety of delicious and nutritious handcrafted soups for colds that promote healing.
We might not make it through the winter without taking a sick day (or two), but we can make it through the days we aren’t feeling our best with a warm bowl of soup, our favorite Netflix show, and a comfy, cozy blanket.