Sore Throat? Fever? Body Aches? Forget Chicken Soup; You Should Try This Healthy Option Instead.

Rose Bak

This spicy Thai soup will help you fight germs and viruses.

Photo by Jezebel Rose on Unsplash

We’ve all heard the old advice: if you’re feeling sick you should have some chicken soup. The magical healing powers of chicken soup for colds, flu, and other viruses have been well-documented.

But what if there was something better?

Next time you’re feeling a little under the weather you might want to try a different soup: tom yum. Tom yum soup, also known as hot and sour soup, is a Thai soup that has just as many — if not more — healing properties as your Grandma’s chicken soup.

Some even call Tom Yum “the miracle soup”.

I believe it. Tom Yum can help you feel better fast, faster than chicken noodle soup. I believe it because I have seen it happen time and again — including a couple of days ago.

Earlier this week I woke up feeling sick. My throat was swollen and scratchy as if I had eaten glass. My joints were aching, my stomach was upset, and I had a slight fever accompanied by chills.

My first thought was, “oh my god, I hope I didn’t catch COVID-19!” (isn’t that everyone’s thought now when they feel sick?). My second thought was, “I have not been around any humans in weeks. How can I be sick with anything?”

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t have time to be sick. Ever. Plus, it’s not very pleasant, so I try to nip any un-wellness in the bud.

So, when I woke up feeling like warmed-over dog doody, I knew just what to do to help myself feel better.

As soon as my favorite Thai restaurant opened for lunch, I placed an order for extra spicy Tom Yum soup. The soup arrived, piping hot, spicy, and full of yummy vegetables.

As I started eating it, I could feel the inflammation in my throat going down. The spicy peppers made me sweat out some toxins. The warm broth and other ingredients made my stomach settle down.

I ate half of the giant container of soup for lunch, and an hour later I was feeling significantly better. I ate the other half for dinner and by nighttime, my throat was fine. My body aches had subsided. My fever was down.

As often happens when I’m feeling under the weather, a nice large dose of hot and sour soup made me feel significantly better. It works great for me.

What is Tom Yum soup?

If you’re not an aficionado of Thai food, you may be unfamiliar with tom yum soup.

Tom Yum, also known as Tom Yam or Tom Yum Goong, is a traditional dish from Thailand which is also popular all across Asia. With regional variations, tom yum is a mainstay on most Asian restaurant menus.

Tom Yum is full of healthy ingredients. It combines both hot and sour ingredients. It can include chicken, shrimp, or tofu, which makes it a great option for vegetarians. It generally includes a myriad of vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, and peppers.

Tom Yum is high in protein, which makes it quite filling, and without adding rice it is low in carbohydrates, which helps prevent any fluctuations in blood sugar.

Don’t be intimidated by the spiciness of this dish. You can easily adjust the spiciness level from mild to medium to spicy. You can also add white rice to the soup to cut down the heat to a manageable level. Most restaurants will include a side order of rice for you to put in the soup.

Why is Tom Yum soup good for you when you’re sick?

Soup in general can be helpful when you’re feeling sick. Inhaling the moist heat and drinking the warm broth can soothe a sore throat and help with the chills while keeping you hydrated. This is particularly helpful if you’ve been throwing up or not feeling well enough to drink water.

The vegetables in Thai soup also are great for the body, providing essential nutrients to support immunity and help your system fight off whatever is ailing you.

Coconut milk makes up the base of the soup, and it is an important ingredient.

This non-dairy Thai food staple is great for those who are lactose intolerant. Coconut milk is rich in antioxidants, which are great for supporting your immune system. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, which will help balance your electrolytes. It also has antiseptic properties and fights infections by killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Some of the most important benefits of hot and sour soup are found in the spices. Tom yum soup has a wide variety of herbs and spices which work synergistically to make you feel better. This includes:

Lemongrass: an herb that is high in vitamins A and B, fights inflammation, and can relieve a cough or upset stomach. It is good for fever, headache, and muscle pains. Lemongrass is also antiseptic, so it can boost immunity and fight infection.

Coriander: Also known as cilantro, coriander is considered to be good for kidneys. The kidneys are one of your main detoxification organs and can help move the germs and other bad things out of your system. Coriander also can improve digestion and relieve bloating and gas, which can be helpful if you are having stomach issues.

Galanga: Similar to ginger, this Thai herb has antibacterial properties and can help fight illness caused by bacteria. It’s particularly helpful for cough and digestive issues.

Peppers: Chili peppers are what give the soup its heat. The peppers can clear up congestion and inflammation and are high in vitamin A.

Garlic: Garlic has similar benefits to an onion, which is also generally found in the soup. Garlic is widely understood to be an antibiotic and has antiviral ingredients. This can be particularly helpful when you aren’t sure if your illness is from germs or bacteria.

Tom Yum is also believed to be an anti-cancer soup. As CNN reported, “a joint study by Thailand’s Kasetsart University and Japan’s Kyoto and Kinki Universities has found that the ingredients in Tom Yum Gung soup are 100 times more effective in inhibiting cancerous tumor growth than other foods.”

Researchers are investigating whether ingredients in regional Asian hot and sour soups are truly effective in fighting cancer.

Where to get tom yum soup

Although tom yum soup is a traditional dish of Thailand you will generally find it in many other Asian restaurants. If you don’t have Thai restaurants in your area, check out your local Chinese restaurant. If you don’t see “tom yum” look for “hot and sour soup”.

There are also about a million recipes for the soup online. It’s extremely easy to make if you or someone in your house likes to cook. You may need to visit your local Asian or International grocery section to get some of the herbs, but it’ll be worth it when you smell that delicious soup simmering on your stove.

Final thoughts

Next time you’re feeling sick, give Tom Yum soup a try. This healthy and healing soup will probably make you feel better quickly and help keep you hydrated and full of nutrients while you recover.

#health #illness #cold #flu #virus #food

Comments / 2

Published by

Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Portland, OR

More from Rose Bak

Comments / 0