The dreaded cold season sneaks up on us when we least expect it, leaving us a sniffling, coughing mess. But as always, soups come to the rescue. Many cultures worldwide promote soups as a cold treatment for various practical and therapeutic reasons. For starters, soups are simple to make and eat, making them an excellent alternative when one’s appetite isn’t so great due to illness. 

Plus, they provide nourishment and hydration, helping to maintain essential energy levels and prevent dehydration, which is crucial for recovery. So whether it’s the ginger and garlic in African soups, the vitamin-rich vegetables in European broths, or the spice-infused concoctions of Middle Eastern cuisines, soups have earned their place as a globally recognized and cherished remedy for cold. So, let’s look at six soups from around the world to get you and your loved ones through a cold outbreak. 

1. Pho – Vietnam

Bowl with Soup on a Wooden Tray
Photo Credit: Starzzz Studios

Pho is not just soup; it’s an art form. As the quintessential Vietnamese noodle soup, Pho is a steaming bowl of fragrant beef or chicken broth infused with ginger, star anise, and cinnamon, served over rice noodles and topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chili. The savory, spicy, sour, and sweet balance makes it a cold-fighting powerhouse. The heat of the broth will clear your sinuses, and the aromatic spices will help reawaken your taste buds. 

2. Tom Yum – Thailand

Tom Yum Soup in White Ceramic Bowl
Photo Credit: Augustinus Martinus Noppé

If you’re craving something a bit more fiery to chase away that pesky cold, look no further than Thailand’s famous Tom Yum soup. This spicy and sour concoction is an actual taste explosion. Featuring succulent shrimp, mushrooms, fragrant lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, Tom Yum will surely lift your spirits. The heat from the chilies will awaken your senses and provide a much-needed boost to your immune system. 

3. Miso Soup – Japan

Miso Soup on Ceramic Bowl
Photo Credit: Makafood

When your body is feeling out of balance, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of miso soup to restore harmony. This Japanese classic is simplicity at its finest, combining dashi (a stock made from fish and seaweed), miso paste, tofu, and seaweed. The probiotics in miso paste are known for their gut-healing properties, while the warm, salty broth will warm you from the inside out. It’s the culinary equivalent of a warm hug on a cold day.

4. Pepper Soup – West Africa

Pepper Soup
Photo Credit: Rajesh Kumar Verna

Originating from West Africa, Pepper soup will warm you up and help ease your cold. It is a spicy soup from various meats, fish, or vegetables seasoned with chiles, ginger, garlic, and other spices. This soup is famous in several West African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone. It contains therapeutic characteristics that can help treat congestion, sore throats, fevers, and inflammation. Pepper soup is also a comfort food that can help you stay warm and enhance your immune system.

5. Caldo Verde – Portugal

Caldo Verde Soup
Photo Credit: Piotr Arnoldes

Portugal’s answer to the common cold is a hearty green soup called Caldo Verde. This rustic concoction is made with simple ingredients: kale, potatoes, onions, garlic, and slices of chorizo sausage. The kale is the star of the show, bringing a hefty dose of vitamins and antioxidants to the table. The result is a soothing, earthy soup with a smoky kick that will make you feel like you’re basking in the Mediterranean sunshine, even when bundled up in blankets.

6. Gazpacho – Spain

Gazpacho Soup
Photo Credit: Bakd&Raw by Karolin Baitinger

Perhaps you’re one of those brave souls who enjoy a cold soup, even in the depths of winter. If so, Spain’s gazpacho should be on your radar. This chilled tomato-based soup, bursting with ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and garlic flavors, is like a refreshing gulp of summer. It contains vitamins and antioxidants to help your body battle that pesky cold. Plus, the coolness will soothe your sore throat and provide a refreshing break from the usual hot soups.