Have some tea or soup: Healing foods to eat if you want to recover from a cold or the flu
01/29/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Have some tea or soup: Healing foods to eat if you want to recover from a cold or the flu

There’s nothing as annoying as a cold, especially when you have a long, busy day ahead of you. If you’re worried about getting the sniffles, try some of the healing foods detailed below to keep colds and the flu at bay when the weather gets a little cold.

Follow a balanced diet and eat nutritious foods

Don’t wait until you’re feeling under the weather before following a healthy diet. According to Samantha Voor, a registered dietitian and founder of Fresh Plates, you can make your body healthier and stronger by eating fresh and nutritious foods daily.

To prevent colds, it’s best to consume foods rich in antioxidants like vitamin C that will help strengthen your immune health. Start by eating more of the following superfoods:

  • Bell peppers
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chili peppers
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Leafy greens (e.g., Brussels sprouts, kale)
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate seeds

If you’re not well enough to cook a meal, try to make a healthy smoothie instead. You can easily boost your antioxidant intake and immunity with a healthy smoothie if you think you’re about to catch a cold.

Keep things simple and blend a smoothie with foods rich in vitamin C like raw spinach, strawberries, ginger and lemon. The protein in this green smoothie will also help you recover from your cold.

Alternatively, you can snack on blackberries and raspberries. These superfruits contain anthocyanins that can boost immune function. Berries also “have natural antimicrobial properties.”

Eat superfoods rich in protein and zinc

You need zinc for immune system function, which can be a problem if you’re following a plant-based diet. To address this, snack on pumpkin seeds. A 1/3 cup serving of raw pumpkin seeds contains about a third of a woman’s daily requirement for zinc. Hemp hearts are also a good source of zinc and protein that’s also essential for immune function.

Pumpkin seed smoothie

Whip up something healthy by combining pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds to make a tasty pumpkin seed smoothie!

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 1/2 cup of canned coconut milk (regular or light)
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds
  • 3-4 cubes of ice
  • Whipped cream and cinnamon (optional toppings)


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a high powered blender. Process until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and top with whipped cream and cinnamon, if you want.

Cook some eggs

Like hemp seeds, eggs are another superfood full of protein and zinc. While eggs aren’t considered an immune-boosting food, they’re full of protein that you need to fight a cold of the flu.

Look for fresh, free-range eggs from pasture-raised hens and serve eggs for a healthy breakfast.

Eat lots of antimicrobial foods

Boost your overall health by introducing “good” bacteria and eating fermented foods. At the same time, get rid of “bad” bacteria and viruses with healing foods.

You can easily do this by making garlic miso soup. Miso is fermented and it has immune-supporting microbes while the garlic, which supports your immune system, has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Garlic miso soup

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 cups of kale, destemmed and chopped (You can also use rainbow chard or any other dark leafy green.)
  • 1-2 cups of spaghetti squash, cooked (Optional)
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of chickpea miso or organic soy miso
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • Green onions, chopped (Optional)
  • Seaweed of choice (Optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and peel the outer skin from the garlic head. Leave the cloves intact in their casings. Peel gently and make sure no garlic cloves get separated from the head.
  2. Slice the top part of the garlic head off and leave the cloves exposed. All of the cloves must have a small portion exposed to roast properly. Check around the edges and slice off extra clove tips as needed.
  3. Place the bulbs cut side up on a piece of parchment paper or tin foil then drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each bulb.
  4. Close the parchment paper or tin foil by folding up the edges and squeezing them together at the top and folding over. Alternatively, you can bring up the sides and fold them over while pinching and folding the ends. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Squeeze the garlic bulbs into a large pot, then break it down a bit with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the ginger, water and seaweed then turn the heat to medium-low.
  6. While the garlic is cooking, whisk the miso paste, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and ground turmeric together in a medium bowl until you have a sauce. Add one tablespoon of water at a time if you need to thin out the miso.
  7. Add the miso paste into the pot then stir to incorporate. Add the greens and let them wilt until they’re deep dark green or for around five to 10 minutes.
  8. Don’t let the soup come to a boil. The excess heat will harm the beneficial bacteria in the garlic and miso.
  9. Add the spaghetti squash noodles and green onion, then stir well to combine. Serve immediately.
  10. You can refrigerate leftovers in a glass jar with a lid for or up to four days. Reheat the soup over low heat until warmed through.

Have a bowl of chicken soup

There’s a reason you were always given chicken soup when your mom heard you sniffling or if you have a fever. Studies have confirmed that homemade chicken noodle soup offers health benefits. One study revealed that chicken soup can help prevent infection and inflammation.

According to the findings, the benefits weren’t because of just one ingredient. Instead, chicken noodle soup is beneficial because of the synergistic effect of all of the ingredients.

A separate study showed that chicken soup can be used as a natural remedy for clearing nasal passages compared to other hot and cold liquids. When making homemade chicken noodle soup for your family, use more vegetables like carrots and celery to boost the antioxidant and vitamin and mineral content of the soup.

Drink a mug of ginger tea and honey

Fresh ginger contains sesquiterpene, a phytochemical that protects against rhinoviruses one of the most common causes of a cold. Additionally, ginger can help reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha, IL-1, and IL-8.

Use a microplane or finely chop ginger to make fresh ginger tea. Give the tea a superfood boost by adding honey, which is a natural immune booster.

Studies have also shown that honey help “increase T- and B-cell lymphocytes, antibodies, and white blood cells during a healthy immune response.” Use raw Manuka honey for best results.

Ginger tea with honey

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • A 2-inch piece of fresh ginger (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) of water
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 1 large lemon


  1. Use a spoon to scrape the skin off the ginger. Slice and use the back of the spoon to lightly beat the ginger and release some of the juices.
  2. Add the ginger and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan. Turn off the stove and let the tea steep for 5 minutes. Steep longer if you want a stronger tea then stir in honey.
  3. Pour the tea into two mugs and garnish with a slice of lemon before serving.

If a loved one comes down with a cold or the flu, give them a mug of ginger tea with honey or serve miso soup to help them recover.







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