This week at school, I was greeted with a surprise. It wasn't the whole screaming, hugging, laughing kind of surprise though. It was more along the lines of an aching, shivering while also sweating, and frustrating kind of surprise. I was unexpectedly greeted with the flu as soon as I got back from spring break. This was the last thing I wanted as a coming home present. 

Throughout the week, while I was confined by the limitations of my body and to the four corners of my bed, I did some research. I kept myself occupied by learning about all the ways I could boost my immune system, speed up recovery, and relieve the horrible symptoms I was experiencing. It felt only fitting to write about the specific nutrients and supplements that I feel helped speed up my recovery.

Chicken Noodle Soup

soup, broth, chicken, noodle, vegetable
Kaitlin Wheeler

To my surprise, chicken noodle soup is more than just a nostalgic soup that tastes good when you're sick—it offers a lot more than warmth and comfort during the flu. One of the most common symptoms during the flu is a loss of appetite. So even if you don't feel like eating anything at all, you should probably eat (or drink) this.

Chicken broth offers hydration as well as the stimulation of nasal clearance. Carrots, celery, and onions strengthen the immune system while also speeding up the recovery process. The protein in chicken helps support strong muscles, bones, and skin. During the flu, one often feels extremely weak, so the protein definitely helps with that. Noodles are easy to swallow with a sore throat and can help keep you full.

Elderberry Syrup

Emily Conner

I like all varieties of berries so I've never had a favorite—strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, goji berries, you name it—I like them equally. That was until the internet introduced me to elderberries. Elderberry is a magical berry that can be bought in its most concentrated form—syrup. 

Aside from the sweet taste, elderberry offers some incredible health benefits. They are particularly rich in flavonoids, a natural substance found in some fruits found to keep the immune system strong. These tiny berries also contain antiviral agents—compounds that are so potent they are thought to deactivate viruses by inhibiting certain enzymes. 

You can find elderberry syrup online at or Whole Foods. I sipped a teaspoon or two of elderberry syrup every day while I had the flu and felt it largely contributed to my quick recovery. I am also highly considering implementing it into my diet more regularly now. 

Fluids, Fluids, and Some More Fluids

Alex Tom

Drinking plenty of fluids is one of the most important things you can do when you have the flu. Symptoms of the flu include runny noses and sweating, which often accompany a fever. These are some of the ways your body tries to fight the flu. However, these homeostasis-driven mechanisms also cause your body to lose water. Dehydration could occur if you don't amp up your fluid intake to compensate. 

If you get bored of water, electrolyte-filled drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and coconut water are great options. During the flu, your body loses large amounts of electrolytes in the form of sweat as it tries to break the fever and fight the illness. Electrolytes are required for your cells and organs to function properly. Replenishing your electrolytes will help you feel much healthier throughout your sickness.

Get Your Flu Shot

Growing up, my mom always made me get the flu shot every year. Like every other small child, I hated it. But against my will, I always got the shot, and funny enough I never got the flu. So this year—at college thousands of miles away from my parents—I decided to opt out of getting the flu shot for the first time.

Guess what? I got the flu.

The moral of the story is that the flu shot makes a whole lot of sense. The vaccination injects a minuscule amount of the virus into your body. This causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after you receive the shot. These antibodies protect against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. This year's flu shot offers a 47 percent protection against all circulating strains. 

Although the flu shot is not guaranteed protection, it absolutely helps. If you still end up with the flu by some misfortune, at least you have chicken noodle soup, elderberry, and electrolyte drinks to help you get back on your feet.