A wise Greek man once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” We’d like to think that if Hippocrates were still around he might appreciate the 44-garlic soup, lemon ginger honey tea, and other dishes that follow. Whether you’re nursing a runny nose, stuffed-up head, upset stomach, or a general case of the blahs, the following immunity recipes offer a natural pathway to relief. While we can’t promise that you’ll forgo the doctor’s office altogether, we can assert that the foods below are warming, comforting, and contain ingredients with healing properties that will ease your symptoms and boost your body’s immune defenses. Plus, they’re packed with delicious flavors you may want to come back to even when you’re not sick.
Soothing Soups and Stews
44-Clove Garlic Soup
Garlic is packed with antioxidants and may give your immune system a boost in warding off a cold. This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetite by Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen. As for the handfuls of garlic contained in this recipe, she summed it up best: “The soup has 44 cloves of garlic in it. 28 are roasted and then peeled, 18 peeled and then simmered, and somehow the outcome is subtle, but not boring.”
Immunity Soup Recipe
This soup’s “monster white pepper broth” is a potent antidote for clogged sinuses and a sore throat, especially when served piping hot. Carrot, celery, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and green onions help stoke the immune system, and sliced watermelon radishes add a gorgeous burst of color to brighten your sick day.
You Will Get Better Soup
This puree of chicken broth, jalepeños, garlic, and herbs is perfect for sipping when you’re so congested your tastebuds are compromised. The spicy kick from the peppers will help clear your nose so you can breathe easier (and discover flavors again!), and the basic blended consistency is ideal if your illness has left you without an appetite.
Take a break from chicken soup with this Asian-inspired recipe. The dashi and miso-based broth will soothe and inflamed throat, and collard greens and tofu nourish your body as it heals. This recipe makes a big batch that can be frozen so you’re prepared the next time a bug gets the best of you.
Matzo Ball Soup
This recipe requires a good amount of hands-on work, so you might want to entreat your Jewish grandmother (or someone willing to play the role) to prepare it for you the next time you’re under the weather. Some studies show that chicken stock has medicinal values for relieving cold symptoms, and this homemade version won’t disappoint.
If the sickness you’re feeling is self-inflicted from one too many drinks, this traditional Mexican stew may offer relief. Touted “the cure for the common hangover,” posole is a stew containing hominy, tomatoes, tomatillos, pork shoulder, and a variety of herbs and spices. This recipe from chef Anthony Lamas in Louisville, Kentucky, is spicy yet customizable for your taste. Prepare a pot the day before a big night for quick comfort when you need it.
Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Stew
If you’re feeling under the weather and cooking is the last thing you want to do, this Crock-Pot stew is a low-maintenance option. Just toss together diced chicken, frozen vegetables, potatoes, and canned cream of chicken soup in a slow cooker, and a few hours later you’ll have a home-cooked meal.
Simple Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken soup is a classic dish for sick days, and some studies show that it has healing properties on par with over-the-counter cough and cold medicine. This basic six-ingredient recipe is a cinch to make even if you don’t consider yourself a cook.
If you feel a cold coming on it’s a good idea to pay extra attention to your diet. This juice blend of carrot, apple, ginger, and lemon is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants to help fortify your body’s defenses before you get sick.
Homemade Dried Fruit and Herbal Tea
If your cupboards aren’t stocked with fancy tea blends, don’t forget that you can make your own. Just steep dried fruit and herbs such as mint, then strain and enjoy a DIY elixir that will help soothe a sore throat.
Fresh Ginger Tea
Ginger has been touted as a natural remedy to ease stomach discomfort. Make your own tea by steeping a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water to soak in the benefits of this aromatic in its purest form.
This potent cocktail of warm whiskey, honey, lemon, and water will help you get to sleep and soothe symptoms of a cold. Drink it instead of Nyquil for nighttime relief of a sore throat and cough.
Lemon Ginger Honey Tea
Reap the soothing effects of lemon and honey with the invigorating zip of ginger in this throat-soothing cocktail. There’s no need for whiskey in this home remedy, just let the antimicrobial effects of honey and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger do its work.
When You’re on the Mend
Best Ever Cinnamon Toast Recipe
The trick to this toast is mixing the butter, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla before spreading on bread and toasting in the oven. The dairy and fat in butter may aggravate an upset stomach, so treat yourself to this classic combination for breakfast when you’re on the road to recovery.
Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Peanut butter, banana, and bread is a no-brainer to prepare, but it’s extra comforting when toasted on a griddle. Banana and toast are easy to digest, and nut butter provides sustenance for your body after days of sickness.
Ginger Chicken Rice Porridge
If you’re recovering from a stomach bug you might want to try this savory porridge. Starchy rice helps soothe the stomach and ginger may help relieve queasiness. Known as congee or jook, depending on the country of origin, this ethnic comfort food is simple to prepare—just the add ingredients to a pot and simmer for an hour on the stove.
Fluffy & Fragrant Rice Pilaf
When you want solid food but can’t stomach a full meal, homemade rice pilaf is the perfect preparation. Rice is one of the easiest foods to digest, and the addition of aromatics make it a little more appetizing after a week of simple eating.
Pasta with Butter and Cheese, for Adults
Cacio e pepe is essentially an elevated version of the butter and pasta with Parmesan you remember from childhood. This classic Italian pasta dish is simple enough for a recovering stomach and still satisfying for the hardier members of the family. But save this for the tail end of your illness as butter and cheese may not sit well in sensitive stomachs.