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Feeling Under the Weather? Here Are The Best Foods + Natural Remedies To Support Recovery

Feeling Under the Weather? Here Are The Best Foods + Natural Remedies To Support Recovery

Feb 9, 2024 | Natural Remedies

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use or have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own.

A Season of Contagious Illness

Here in the United States, we are experiencing a particularly intense winter season this year — whether it is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or influenza — many are struggling with illness after travel and family gatherings. If this describes you or a loved one, take heart! In this post we will explore my top recommendations for supporting immunity and feeling better quickly — along with tips for avoiding contagious illness altogether.

flight of bone broths

What Should You Eat?

We have all heard the old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” — but is it true? Fun fact: the saying came about in 1574 when John Withals penned, “fasting is a great remedy of fever”. It was based on the observation that eating helped to generate heat in the body during a “cold”, while avoiding food could cool down a fever.1 While some swear by the power of fasting for quickly overcoming illness, a more moderate approach may be a better fit for you.

What’s more, fighting illness takes energy so consuming healthful, supportive foods can be helpful. Food also helps your body to stay warm, although you can always opt for extra layers of clothing — or bundle down under blankets. A fever is especially energy intensive, so you will want to account for that with your food choices — even though your appetite may be less than ideal.

First and foremost, it is crucial to stay hydrated; soups are one of the best ways to achieve this as they are rich in important electrolytes and nutrients. There is a reason chicken soup is legendary for when you are ill. Not only does it hydrate and replenish electrolytes, but it also supplies protein to support your strength and energy. Additionally, chicken contains N-acetyl-cysteine, an amino acid that is antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It also helps to dissolve mucus.2 Make sure to add plenty of garlic to your soup for its antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-boosting properties.4,5

Additionally, puréed butternut, carrot, broccoli, or spinach soups are excellent options as they are easily digestible and supply fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients.

I also recommend sipping on bone broth throughout the day. It too will help to replace electrolytes with the added perk of enhancing digestive and gut health, which you may be struggling with when you are sick. Dissolving collagen powder into hot ginger or another herbal tea is an excellent option to boost protein intake, calories, and gut health. Both are a good choice if your appetite is lacking as well.

smoothie with blueberries

Smoothies are also an outstanding option. Easily digestible, you can improve their nutritional value by adding immune-boosting foods such as cantaloupe, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, aronia berries, blackberries, and bananas. These foods supply important anti-inflammatory antioxidants, vitamins A and C, along with much-needed potassium and zinc.6

If you are suffering from nausea or digestive complaints, fresh ginger tea with a small amount of honey is soothing for an upset stomach.3 It also helps to calm coughs. For a bacteria and virus blasting tea, steep fresh, chopped thyme in boiling water for 20 minutes, covered. Strain and gently warm before drinking. Sweeten to taste with honey, stevia, or monk fruit. I use a 1:3 thyme to water ratio.

Nicoles Apothecary Travel Pack

Herbal Remedies to the Rescue!

If you would like to avoid illness altogether — or quickly move through a bug, there is no better option than my Travel Pack. I personally never leave home without it!

It contains immune-boosting Elderberry tincture, antimicrobial Usnea spray, and a tin of our antiviral and antibacterial All-Purpose (First Aid) Salve, which can be used on the inside of the nose as a preventative from ‘bugs” getting in and taking hold.


  • Antiviral
  • Colds
  • Influenza
  • Known to be safe for children
  • Severe respiratory illness
  • Shortens the duration of colds and the flu
  • Elderberry is a safe option for treating viral respiratory illness and does not overstimulate the immune system or create a ‘cytokine storm’.
  • A study published in the medical journal Autoimmunity Reviews believes that “the use of elderberry supplements should be considered at an early course of the [severe respiratory] disease”.


  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory


  • Herbal antibiotic
  • Antiviral
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antifungal
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Strep throat
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Tuberculosis


“We began using Nicole’s Eastern Blend, Travel Pack, Mushroom FOURtress, and Balanced Gut. Wow, what a difference from last year! We have not been sick one time, even though everyone else around us has been impacted by strep throat, influenza A, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and more. We are believers — these products work! Thank you Nicole for your dedication to natural health and sharing it with the world!” – C.Wright

Whether you have caught a bug or would like to avoid getting sick, my Travel Pack can help! Visit my apothecary today to learn more about this essential bundle and many other powerful plant-based medicines that can keep you and your family healthy and happy in 2024 and beyond.

Nicole Apelian

Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post

Nicoles Apothecary Balanced Gut Tincture

Balanced Gut Blend Tincture

Nicoles Apothecary Eastern Blend Defense Tincture

Eastern Blend Defense Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Mushroom FOURTress Bundle

Mushroom FOURtress Bundle

Nicole's Apothecary Travel Pack bundle

Travel Pack

  1. “Fact or Fiction? Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever” by Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, January 3. 2014. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-feed-a-cold/ 
  2. Tenório, M. C. D. S., Graciliano, N. G., Moura, F. A., Oliveira, A. C. M., & Goulart, M. O. F. (2021). N-Acetylcysteine (NAC): Impacts on Human Health. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(6), 967. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10060967
  3. Lete, I., & Allué, J. (2016). The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integrative medicine insights, 11, 11–17. https://doi.org/10.4137/IMI.S36273
  4. Nakamoto, M., Kunimura, K., Suzuki, J. I., & Kodera, Y. (2020). Antimicrobial properties of hydrophobic compounds in garlic: Allicin, vinyldithiin, ajoene and diallyl polysulfides. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 19(2), 1550–1553. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2019.8388
  5. Ansary, J., Forbes-Hernández, T. Y., Gil, E., Cianciosi, D., Zhang, J., Elexpuru-Zabaleta, M., Simal-Gandara, J., Giampieri, F., & Battino, M. (2020). Potential Health Benefit of Garlic Based on Human Intervention Studies: A Brief Overview. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(7), 619. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9070619
  6. Petruskevicius A, Viskelis J, Urbonaviciene D, Viskelis P. Anthocyanin Accumulation in Berry Fruits and Their Antimicrobial and Antiviral Properties: An Overview. Horticulturae. 2023; 9(2):288. https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9020288

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