Soup is a comfort food for many people. Soup is soothing and may remind you of the food that Grandma fed you when you were sick as a child. Soup may be good for you when you have a fever or other illness, but it depends on the type of soup. In some cases, certain soups may make your symptoms worse.
Benefits of Broth
Broth-based soups may be especially good when you have a fever because they can help keep you hydrated. Sipping warm broth or eating chicken soup is one way to get the fluids you need, particularly if you also have diarrhea or are at risk for dehydration. Warm broth or soup can keep your throat moist and alleviate soreness if your fever is caused by a throat infection or the common cold.
Many grandmas swear by the healing properties of chicken soup, and MedlinePlus agrees with them. Not only does it reduce throat inflammation, but also the steam can ease nasal congestion. Chicken soup made from chicken bones contains important minerals and vitamins, especially when vegetables such as carrots, garlic and onions are added. Although chicken soup has not been proven to cure the common cold or any other illness, sipping the substance won't hurt, and you will still reap the benefit of hydration to offset the dehydrating effects of your fever.
If your fever is caused by a stomach virus and you are experiencing the associated vomiting and diarrhea, stay away from milk-based soups, such as cream of broccoli, cream of mushroom or clam chowder. Dairy products can exacerbate diarrhea, and these soups are no exception. Instead, stick to a bland diet of crackers, bananas, rice, toast, applesauce and clear liquids until the worst of the illness has passed. Eat broth-based soups, but avoid dairy foods for a few days.
If you have a high fever and no appetite, or if you experience a very sore throat, an unexplained rash or persistent vomiting along with your fever, it is best to consult a doctor. Soups that are spicy or tomato-based might make a sore throat worse; so if your fever is accompanied by a scratchy throat, avoid these potential irritants.