You’ve had a sore throat for days and can’t seem to shake that chill. Now that you’ve got a serious cold, you need serious immunity action. Not even a bowl of Grandma’s chicken soup can save you. More-vigorous nutrients are in order: immunity enhancers with the power to help your body fight infection.

Soup, of course, is the perfect healing food. It’s easy to digest, supplies nourishment in a light package (who wants a heavy meal when they’re feeling run down?), and like tea and water, helps flush out your system. But even more importantly, the ingredients in soup don’t lose their nutrients – the broth catches everything.

To turn standard healthy soup into “power soup,” we consulted four nutritional healing experts and asked them what they consider the most essential immunity enhancing foods. Based on our findings, we developed six recipes that not only taste good going down, but that give you a whopping dose of virus-attacking nutritional medicine.

For starters, detoxify your system and support your healthy cells with a jolt of antioxidants. Our ultimate Antioxidant Carrot Ginger Soup contains more than 700 percent of your daily vitamin A, and well over 100 percent of vitamin C. Or slurp down a big bowl of our Very Garlicky Bean Bisque; it has the virus-attacking power of eight cloves of garlic in each serving. Or, if you’re feeling congested, the kick of cayenne in our Fever-Breaking Spicy Pepper Broth will clear you right up.

Before the recipes, a few kitchen notes to help you get the most out of your soup. First, cooking weakens the effect of some immunity-boosting ingredients. Therefore, add leafy greens, herb extracts, and raw garlic and ginger when the soup is almost done. Also, serve soups as soon as they are ready and help yourself to a generous portion – least two cups – to maximize their healing powers. While soups generally taste fine after refrigeration or freezing, the passage of time leads to some deterioration in their immunity-boosting properties.

FEVER-BREAKING SPICY PEPPER BROTH WITH COUSCOUS

Makes about 8 cups

This cayenne-seasoned soup will have you breathing clearly in no time. It’s resplendent with garlic, vitamin C (rich tomatoes and peppers), and the warming spices of cumin and cinnamon. Quick-cooking couscous thickens the broth with almost no effort.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • Salt
  1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onion, peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon and saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add stock, tomatoes, and cayenne and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in couscous and simmer until couscous is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

PER 2-CUP SERVING: 242 calories, 6g protein, 8g fat, 40g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 66mg sodium, 127% vitamin A, 336% vitamin C, 8% calcium, 16% iron

THE ULTIMATE ANTIOXIDANT CARROT GINGER SOUP

Makes about 8 cups

This easy to digest, bright orange soup supplies several days’ worth of antioxidants like vitamins A and C. It is effective and delicious hot or cold. You will need about 3 oranges to obtain enough zest and juice for this recipe.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onions and 1 tablespoon each of garlic and ginger and saute until golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add stock and carrots and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
  3. Pour soup through fine mesh strainer into bowl and transfer solids to blender or food processor. Add 1 cup of liquid and puree until smooth. Return to pot along with remaining liquid. Place over low heat.
  4. Add orange zest and juice and reserved tablespoon of both garlic and ginger. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat until hot. Serve immediately.

PER 2-CUP SERVING: 319 calories, 6g protein, 11g fat, 53g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 120mg sodium, 720% vitamin A, 145% vitamin C, 13% calcium, 13% iron

VERY GARLICKY BEAN BISQUE WITH BRAZIL NUT PESTO CROSTINI

Makes about 8 cups

Gentle simmering softens the bite – but not the punch – of the 32 (that’s right, 32) cloves of garlic in this bisque. I’ve found a quick technique for peeling the garlic: use the side of a large chefs knife to lightly crush each clove and loosen the skin. Using this technique I can peel a couple heads of garlic in a matter of minutes. The pesto includes selenium-rich Brazil nuts, two more raw garlic cloves, and avocado, which makes the sauce creamy without the addition of cheese. (Toss the 1/2 cup leftover pesto with 1/2 pound of hot pasta for a delicious last-minute meal.)

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 34 garlic cloves, peeled (about 2 1/2 heads)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 cups cooked white beans
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped Brazil nuts (about 24)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 thin slices French bread, Toasted
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onion and 32 garlic cloves and saute for 10 minutes.
  2. Add stock and beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.
  3. Place remaining 2 garlic cloves in food processor or blender. Add basil, avocado, Brazil nuts, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and lemon juice and pulse until chunky smooth. Add a pinch of salt and several grindings of pepper and pulse again. Transfer to small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Pour soup through fine mesh strainer into bowl and transfer solids to blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup of liquid and puree until smooth. Return to pot along with remaining liquid and place over low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat until hot. To serve, spread each toast with 1 tablespoon pesto. Ladle soup into bowls and float two crostini in each bowl. Serve immediately.

PER 2-CUP SERVING: 479 calories, 12g protein, 22g fat, 62g carbohydrates, 6.5g fiber, 366mg sodium, 125% vitamin A, 46% Vitamin C, 18% calcium, 25% iron

THROAT-SOOTHING SHIITAKE MISO SOUP WITH GINSENG AND LICORICE

Makes about 8 cups

Licorice extract soothes scratchy throats. Because it is fairly sweet I’ve combined it with the strong flavor of miso. Both the licorice and ginseng extracts should be added just before serving. Fresh cilantro not only adds flavor, but also aids digestion.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1/2 cup sake or dry sherly
  • 7 cups water
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
  • 6 tablespoons red or brown miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Siberian ginseng fluid extract
  • 2 teaspoons licorice root fluid extract
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add leeks and 1 tablespoon each of garlic and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add sake and let bubble for 2 minutes. Add water and shiitake mushrooms and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in miso, soy sauce, ginseng and licorice extracts, and reserved tablespoon of both garlic and ginger. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

PER 2-CUP SERVING: 207 calories, 6g protein, 7g fat, 25g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 1106mg sodium, 14% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 12% iron

SUPER GREEN SOUP WITH ASTRAGALUS

Makes about 8 cups

This soup contains the nutrients (antioxidants and folic acid) of six green vegetables. The alliums, such as leeks and scallions, have antibiotic properties. And astragalus extract, which bolsters virus-fighting white blood cells, loses its bitter edge when added to the broth.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions (about 5)
  • 1/2 cup diced fennel
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced broccoli florets
  • 2 cups thawed frozen peas
  • 4 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons astragalus fluid extract
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add leek, scallions, fennel, and garlic and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add stock, cabbage, and broccoli and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in peas, Swiss chard, parsley, and astragalus and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

PER 2-CUP SERVING: 242 calories, 8g protein, 7g fat, 38g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 278mg sodium, 155% vitamin A, 147% vitamin C, 14% calcium, 26% iron

ALL-AROUND NOURISHING LENTIL SOUP WITH KALE

Makes about 8 cups

This hearty soup is full of antioxidants (carrots and kale), folic acid (lentils and kale), and lots of anti-viral compounds (garlic and onions). Bay leaf, which adds flavor to the soup, also helps combat gas.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thick
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar as needed
  1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add stock, lentils, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale and cook for 20 minutes, or until kale and lentils are tender. Remove thyme branches and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and season with dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

PER 2-CUP SERVING: 280 calories, 13g protein, 4g fat, 51g carbohydrates, 13g fiber, 346mg sodium, 222% vitamin A, 158% vitamin C, 19% calcium, 40% iron