Have you ever wondered why eating chicken soup when you had a cold or chest congestion made you feel better? Recent studies have shown that the ‘feeling better‘ response to chicken soup is more than a placebo. Dr. Steven Rennard from the University of Nebraska Medical Center has published a study in the journal Chest in which they conducted a series of tests to examine the health benefits of chicken soup. “Everyone’s heard this from their mother and grandmother in many cultures,” Rennard said. “We found chicken soup might have some anti-inflammatory value.”

After examining blood samples from study volunteers, the researchers found that homemade chicken soup reduced the movement of a type of white blood cells, called neutrophils, which help defend against infection. By inhibiting movement of these cells in the body, chicken soup can help reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms, Rennard theorized. The reduction in movement of neutrophils may reduce activity in the upper respiratory tract that can cause mucous production symptoms associated with a cold,” the University of Nebraska said in a press release. [1]

Based on their research results they have theorized that benefits from a combination of chicken and vegetables have an anti-inflammatory effect. Some of the benefits of chicken soup include:

  1. They help the cilia of the nose and bronchial passages move quickly so they can defend the respiratory system against contagions.
  2. Sometimes just increasing the intake of warm tea or broth, to assure proper hydration of the body, can make a major difference in healing. (You don’t need medical technology to check if you are hydrated – just keep drinking until your urine turns light yellow to clear.)[2]
  3. The salt in broths can help soothe sore throats. If you need to reduce salt, use dried herbs like oregano, parsley and chili pepper flakes to enhance flavor.
  4. The soup’s warm liquid works to open stuffy sinuses.
  5. They’re packed with immune supporting minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silicon and sulphur. Chicken soup delivers these in a form that is easy to absorb.
  6. The onions, garlic and additional vegetables provide a healthy dose of phyto-nutrients, important for a properly functioning immune system, as well as serving as anti-inflammatants.
  7. When your body is busy fighting off infection lots of energy is required. Chicken soup is a great source for easily digested calories.
  8. Digestive system health is especially important when our bodies are sick so they can absorb infection fighting vitamins and minerals. Glucosamine, a main building block of our digestive system is released from bones when they’re cooked. The gelatin that congeals on the surface includes glucosamine and is used to repair connective tissue and reduce inflammation.[3]
  9. Chicken noodle soup boosts vitamin A and selenium consumption. Both support thyroid function. [4]

Chicken soup has been a mainstay for generations for parents who seek to comfort their families.There is value there. Eat up!

References
[1]  http://www.offthegridnews.com/alternative-health/does-chicken-soup-really-heal-colds-and-if-so-whats-the-best-recipe/
[2]  http://www.ent-consult.com/abstract.html
[3]  http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/will-chicken-soup-really-cure-your-cold
[4]  http://www.livestrong.com/article/402053-is-chicken-noodle-soup-healthy-for-you/

Billie Nicholson, Editor
February 2017

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