What’s the Best Soup When You’re Sick With The Flu?

chicken soup in a bowl

Flu season is raging.

This year it’s type A, at least in Arizona where I work full-time in an emergency department.

Whether type A, type B, COVID, or the plain old common cold, homemade chicken soup is good for recovering from sickness.

It’s one of the foods that fight viral infections.

Just like sleep, chicken soup is one of those underrated things that help someone recover from illness quicker.

Unlike some other types of soup that are possible, chicken soup has been studied.

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it’s the best, though some competitors, like tomato soup and butternut squash soup, also have plenty of vitamins that are good for you.

Canned chicken soup vs. Homemade

You don’t have to make chicken soup. You can get a can of the stuff. That’ll help you recover, but the homemade version usually tastes better, and it’s fresher and you can tailor it to the way you like it.

Homemade chicken soup is probably also better for you, and you can avoid dumping so much salt and preservatives in it.

Flu-fighting chicken soup is easy to make.

Take a look at this recipe from the Food Network. If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken, use canned chicken.

You can make it in a big pot that sits on the stove or a crockpot. You can add all kinds of vegetables: kale, parsnips, fresh ginger, or whatever. Adding chicken broth, as they do in the video, adds a lot of flavor, but you can use water, too. Vegetable broth also can work.

Remember, chicken soup is a very forgiving recipe; there are many ways to make it, and it’ll probably turn out okay. The video below shows a straightforward method, though the recipe used in the study was different. There are literally thousands of variations.


For further reading:

These four types of exercise, done gently, that help sleep can also help you clear phlegm and mucus from your sinuses and lungs.


Rennard, B. O., Ertl, R. F., Gossman, G. L., Robbins, R. A., & Rennard, S. I. (2000). Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro(*). Chest, 118(4), 1150. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A71127876/AONE?u=cfsc&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=cfef2531


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.


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