Soothing Recipes for Colds

Medically Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on August 15, 2021
4 min read

We still have a lot to learn about the healing powers of food. But this much we know: Chicken soup can help clear your stuffy nose, and ginger seems to settle an upset stomach.

That's not all. Dark greens such as spinach are loaded with vitamins A and C. And salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Quite simply, a well-nourished immune system, your body's defense against germs, is better able to ward off infections.

So eat healthy this cold season and throughout the year. Enjoy these recipes from the kitchen of Charlotte Mathis, MD.

1 chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces (remove skin, leave bone in)

8 cups of chicken broth (homemade is preferable, but unsalted, low-fat boxed or canned is fine**)

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

8 ounces dried wide egg noodles or 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Pat chicken parts dry. Season pieces with salt and pepper. Brown chicken parts in a heavy Dutch oven with 1 teaspoon of canola oil over medium-high heat for about 6-8 minutes, turning once.

Add chicken broth to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover partially and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large bowl. Cool chicken and broth slightly. Discard bones from chicken. Cut or pull apart chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and reserve.

Spoon fat off top of chicken broth. Return broth to simmer. Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme. Simmer until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. (You can prepare 1 day ahead, but be sure to store broth and meat separately in the fridge.)

Stir in noodles, parsley, and reserved chicken. Simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. If you use rice, simmer until the rice is done. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish it with parsley if you want.

** You can make canned soup taste more like homemade if you simmer it for about 45 minutes with a couple of celery stalks, carrots, half a chopped onion, a bit of garlic, some peppercorns, and a bay leaf. Strain before using.

1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
6 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
lemon wedges for garnish if desired

In a saucepan, simmer ginger, cinnamon, and water 20 minutes, or more for stronger tea. Add honey or sugar and strain tea through a sieve.

It's great for a sore throat.

4 lemons
several slices of ginger root
honey to taste

Juice several lemons, then scrub the peel well. Slice it thinly, and add to the juice.

Cover all with plenty of boiling water, put a lid on it, and steep until cool.

For added benefit, add several slices of ginger root before covering with water.

Strain off the liquid, add honey and additional water to taste. Drink hot.

NOTE: Never give honey to any child less than 12 months old. It can cause botulismfood poisoning in this age group.

1 bag of fresh spinach or mixed salad greens
2 fennel bulbs (cleaned, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced thinly crosswise)

For the dressing:
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey (see note below)
1/4 cup canola oil

Blend the first seven dressing ingredients in a food processor. With machine running, gradually add oil and process until well blended. (You can prepare this 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let it stand 30 minutes at room temperature before you use it.)

Toss fennel and greens with dressing. Enjoy!

NOTE: Never give honey to any child less than 12 months old. It can cause botulism food poisoning in this age group.

4 salmon fillets with skin on
salt, pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as chives, rosemary, or thyme

For the salsa:
1 fennel bulb finely diced, plus 1 tablespoon minced fennel leaves
1/2 cup finely diced oranges
10 green olives pitted and minced
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. While it's heating, make the salsa.

In a medium bowl, stir together the fennel bulb and leaves, the diced orange, the olives, the juices, and salt and pepper to taste.

Then, place salmon skin-side down on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Brush fish with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and press the herbs into the flesh. Set aside.

When the oven is hot, "slow-roast" the salmon for 17 minutes. For safety, make sure that the fish reaches a temperature of 145 F. If you don't have a thermometer, make sure it flakes with a fork. Serve salmon with salsa on the side.