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Soup to Nuts

Karen Kier, Pharmacist on behalf of the ONU HealthWise team

Soup to Nuts was a 1930 feature film starring Ted Healy and The Three Stooges. The movie was born out of the 1920 vaudeville slapstick comedy act titled Ted Healy and His Stooges.  Eventually, Ted Healy left the group and it became known as The Three Stooges. The group filmed between the 1930s and the 1970s with various actors playing The Three Stooges over the years. However, the idiom “soup to nuts” was first used to describe a full course dinner from the first course to the last. Soup to nuts is a good discussion about how to use foods to help in managing mild COVID-19 infections during recovery. Omicron and delta are still circulating within our communities. Omicron often has symptoms that appear more as a head cold with a sore throat and experts have some advice on how foods can provide benefit during recovery.  Medications that treat colds, fever, and sore throats can be used for symptom management for mild COVID-19 infections as well.

So what foods can help?  

Soup! My grandmother and mother were good about making chicken noodle soup when we did not feel well. This was actually a good choice. In 1985, a scientific study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicating a benefit with chicken soup. The soup contains the amino acid cysteine, which has been documented to help with congestion and mucus flow. One caution is to watch how much salt is in the soup. Hidden salt in food products can increase one’s blood pressure. Reading the labels of commercial products, as well as consideration to added salt in homemade soups is the best way to control unnecessary intake. Hydration is critically important when dealing with COVID-19 recovery. Experts recommend you drink plenty of fluids with COVID-19 infections and do not wait until you feel thirsty.  

Another good food is potatoes because of the potassium content and the ability to maintain fluid balance and hydration status. One could even add them to the chicken soup. Other good sources of potassium include bananas, avocadoes and apricots. Sugar-free fruit popsicles can help with sore throats and provide another form of hydration. Coconut water is another good way to hydrate while replenishing electrolytes with low sugar content for hydration and fluid replacement for diarrhea. It is better than some sports drinks because they may be too concentrated with electrolytes or have high sugar loads. Commercial electrolyte products such as Pedialyte® can be helpful. Other foods to consider with high water content include watermelon, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce and strawberries. Another recommendation is to keep away from high sugar food and drinks, as well as limiting some high carbohydrate products.  Nine different studies documented the benefit of whole grains in decreasing inflammation in the body. Whole grains such as popcorn, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oats can be ingested to help with COVID-19 inflammation and fatigue (tired).  Raw whole fruits and vegetables can help cell recovery and provide antioxidants. The best antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables with red, blue, purple, orange, yellow or dark green colors. In 2021, a study published in BMJ Nutrition showed that a plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of developing COVID-19. Since that time, other studies have found similar results. 

COVID-19 infections can suppress the appetite in about 33% of patients resulting in 43% of patients skipping meals and losing weight. For those who have lost their taste or smell, they may have more problems with maintaining their weight and eating regular meals. Many patients talk about a change in texture of food and this inhibits them from eating certain foods. Suggestions include eating soft foods such as applesauce, pudding or smoothies. Fermented proteins such as Greek yogurt with probiotics may help diminish the severity of COVID-19.  Warm tea with added honey can help reduce inflammation, which has been shown to help with colds and sore throats. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon, cod and sardines have properties that decrease inflammation in the body. In December 2020, the Mayo Clinic reported that omega-3 fatty acids can specifically reduce inflammation in COVID-19. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in certain nuts including Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews and pecans.  

It really is soup to nuts!  Bon appetit!

Feel free to call the ONU HealthWise Pharmacy for the science on COVID-19. ONU HealthWise is offering COVID-19 and flu vaccines Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Call the pharmacy for an appointment for other time slots. The ONU HealthWise pharmacy offers Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen and flu shots and high-dose flu vaccines. Pediatric Pfizer vaccines (5 to 11-years) are available by appointment through the state Vaccine Management Solution (VMS) system.

Call 419-772-3784 to get more information.