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3 Healing Food and Beverages for Flu Recovery

Healing foods and beverages can play a central role in flu recovery. Use these step-by-step recipe guides to prepare nourishing remedies when under the weather.

A woman wrapped in a blanket wiping her nose with a tissue while sitting on a sofa next to used tissues.

If you‘ve been down with the flu, you know that sometimes it takes a while to recover. It’s why it’s important to fuel your body with healing food and beverages that bolster your immune system and help fight pathogens.

The good news is, these simple yet nourishing recipes may just be what the doctor ordered. Discover step-by-step methods to prepare these nutritious and tasty remedies whenever you experience the signs of a cold or flu.

Healing Food and Beverage Recipes That Naturally Strengthen the Immune System 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the combination of the exposure to pathogenic factors and internal imbalances will cause a common cold or the flu. As a result, you may experience chills, and develop a cough, fever, muscle aches, and phlegm. Your throat is also likely to feel dry, itchy, or painful.

Chicken soup 

Close-up of a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup next to a plate of dried bread on a wooden table.
Chicken soup’s ability to calm inflammation makes it a popular flu remedy.

Without question, chicken soup is one of the best remedies for the flu. A study shows that it helps calm inflammation holistically and improves your immune system’s response to illness.

Here’s what you need for a mouth-watering pot of homemade chicken soup

  • 1 clove 
  • 1 medium-sized onion 
  • 2 ½ pounds of chicken breasts and thighs with legs (skin and fat removed) 
  • 1 scrubbed small sweet potato 
  • 1 peeled small turnip 
  • 1 peeled medium carrot 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 2 cups of fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh dill 
  • 6 peppercorns 
  • 2 bay leaves 

Press the garlic cloves into the onion and place them in a soup pot. Add the chicken, sweet potato, carrot, turnip, and garlic. Pour in the broth and two cups of water.

Bring to a simmer before adding the dill, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Skim the soup as needed for up to ten minutes.

Cover the pot and let it simmer for approximately 35 minutes, or until the chicken becomes tender. Strain the broth into a separate pot or large bowl. Refrigerate to remove any congealed fat. Take out the clove, onion, garlic, turnip, dill, and bay leaves as well. 

Dice the potato and carrots. Debone the chicken, remove any fat and gristle and cut into bite-sized pieces. Ladle the soup into soup bowls and add generous portions of the vegetables and chicken. Serve immediately.

Bone broth

Close-up of beef bone broth ingredients in a pot on a table.
Bone broths can work as a nasal decongestant and ease a sore throat.

Soothe your soul, unblock a stuffy nose, and relieve a sore throat by slurping on a hot bowl of bone broth. This is because bone broths are abundant in essential nutrients and antioxidants and may help prevent dehydration.

To prepare a bone broth, you will need: 

  • 1 tablespoon of salt 
  • 1 chopped medium onion: Healthy source of antioxidants and prebiotics 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 quarts of water  
  • 2 chopped carrots and celery stalks: A healthy source of vitamins A and K, respectively 
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a squeezed lemon: Helps pull collagen from the bones 
  • 4 pounds of beef, chicken, turkey, or venison bones 

Once you’ve got these ingredients ready, throw them together in a crockpot and cook for more than four hours on high heat.

Herbal teas and decoctions 

Like a bone broth, herbal teas may also help ease throat soreness and clear up a stuffy nose. Specific teas may also be given to sick children above the age of one to suppress nighttime coughing and improve their sleep quality. 

Eu Yan Sang TCM physician Yoong Zi Yi recommends using a decoction made from peppermint (bo he, 薄荷), almonds (xing ren, 杏仁), chrysanthemum flowers (ju hua, 菊花), Eustoma flowers (yang jie geng hua, 洋桔梗花), and mulberry leaves (sang ye, 桑叶) to cool your body and cure a cough.

Excess phlegm, on the other hand, can be removed with a formula made from Eustoma flowers, Poria (fu ling, 茯苓), roasted liquorice (kao gan cao, 烤甘草) and dried tangerine peel (chen pi, 陈皮).

Alternatively, you can indulge in a traditional soup prepared with multiple herbal ingredients to relieve coughs. 

Monk fruit tea

Close-up of dried monk fruits in a closed-lid glass jar and on a table next to a glass of monk fruit tea.
Monk fruit tea boasts cooling properties that can aid flu recovery.

Drinking tea made from raw monk fruit (luo han guo, 罗汉果) can help lower your body temperature, treat a sore throat, and resolve phlegm.

To make it at home, you’ll need to break its hard shell. To do this, rinse the dried fruit under running water thoroughly before using your fingers to press into the shell.

Next, split the flesh into smaller chunks. Add these chunks to a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Monk fruit is cooling in nature. Those with weak body constitutions such as Deficiency in Spleen qi should avoid or limit their intake of monk fruit.

Including healing foods and beverages in your diet can help support flu recovery. Before you choose to add herbal ingredients to your diet, it’s important to seek consultation with a TCM practitioner. It’ll ensure you take a more holistic approach to flu treatment while considering your health history and personal needs.

If you have a proven food or beverage recipe for the flu, don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments section below.

References

  1. NHS inform. Flu. [online] [Accessed 28 February 2023]  
  2. Cleveland Clinic. 2021. What To Eat When You Have the Flu. [online] [Accessed 28 February 2023] 
  3. Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Recipe: Mom’s Chicken Soup. [online] [Accessed 28 February 2023] 
  4. Cleveland Clinic. 2020. Bone Broth: How to Make It — and Why You Should. [online] [Accessed 28 February 2023] 
  5. Doctor Rong. 2022. Monk Fruit: Relieve Sore Throat With This Extra Sweet Ancient Medicine. [online] [Accessed 28 February 2023] 
  6. Nyonya Cooking. Luo Han Guo Tea. [online] [Accessed 28 February 2023] 

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