The Immunity Chronicles: How to Combat Flu Season with Nutrition!

January 16th, 2023

Ever wonder why Chicken Noodle Soup is the universal “cure” to the common cold? Believe it or not, there is science behind how this soup became the remedy and go-to when you’re feeling under the weather.

Protein: One of protein’s roles in the body is to fight infection. Antibodies, which are proteins, attach to foreign viruses and bacteria to protect us from getting sick. Protein also functions as a building block for bone, muscle, skin, and blood. Don’t skimp out on the protein! Try adding chicken or chick peas, or both for a protein packed soup!

Broth: Whether you choose bone broth, vegetable broth, chicken or beef broth, Low sodium broths not only help to keep you hydrated, but may be rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which all play important roles in bone health.

Vegetables: Load up on vegetables like celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and kale! Vegetables are packed with nutrition to help strengthen your immune system, fight infection, speed up the recovery process, and improve overall health. The more variety and quantity in vegetable, the better!

Carbs: Whether you add a noodle or grain like farro or quinoa, carbohydrates are used as energy in the body, may contain fiber depending on your choice.  These carbs will boost energy levels and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Flavor: Wake those taste buds up by boosting flavor with bay leaves, cloves, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt. Turmeric is also a great spice to add as it may provide anti-inflammatory properties.

When it comes to soup, you can’t go wrong. Start with your favorite vegetable variety and choice of protein. Get ahead of flu season by batch cooking your favorite recipe, portion into separate containers, and store in the freezer, your future self will thank you later! The following recipe can be made vegetarian by replacing chicken with an additional can of chickpeas or cannellini beans.


Recipe adapted from


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock, bone broth, or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups baby kale leaves or spinach


In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion, celery and carrots, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, cooking another 3 minutes.

Stir in the chicken stock, bay leaves, turmeric, crushed red pepper, salt and chickpeas; bringing to a boil. Mix in shredded chicken, cover and turn down heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add kale, cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves, serve and enjoy!

Phyllis LoDuca is a registered dietitian and sees patients at Rothman Orthopaedics in Bryn Mawr, Center City, Malvern, and Marlton. For more information, please contact her at

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