Editor’s Note: Ever wonder why chicken soup is the #1 most prescribed cold and flu folk remedy? Read today’s guest post by Leah Martins!
Before chicken soup was for the soul, it was used by mothers everywhere as the best course to treat physical maladies of all types (although it’s best known to remedy the common cold). But what is it about chicken soup that makes it such a health-booster?
If it was snake oil, it would have gone out of fashion long ago, but it continues to be used generation after generation by concerned and conscientious caregivers. Every child has fond memories of being bundled in a mountain of blankets to sleep away the latest cold, with a steady diet of soup and crackers arriving periodically on a tray.
Is it just an old wives tale, or does chicken soup really have some magical healing properties to sooth and subjugate an array of ailments?
Well, it’s no magic potion in this day and age, but it may as well be. Chicken soup has several properties that make it useful in the treatment of certain illnesses:
- Cleansing. “Plenty of fluids” is often advised when you’re ill. A body full of attacking allergens (like a virus) and battling antibodies needs to be flushed in order to get healthy. To that effect, the abundant broth in chicken soup performs aptly.
- Disinfecting. Chicken soup is generally fairly salty (with lower-sodium versions), so that when it goes down your throat it acts in much the same way as gargling warm salt water. In other words, it removes bacteria in the throat, mouth, and tonsils.
- Clears sinuses. Much like other warm liquids (for example, tea), it can help to clear the sinuses with steam.
- Strengthening. The lean protein in chicken and nutrients from added vegetables work to bolster your strength when your body is feeling drained of energy.
These self-explanatory health benefits alone should convince anyone to suck down some chicken soup when they get the sniffles!
More Reasons Why Chicken Soup is Healthy
Studies have also shown that chicken soup affects you on a much deeper level.
For starters, it has been shown to inhibit the production of neutrophils, white blood cells that eat bacteria and cause inflammation and mucus production (i.e. stuffy nose, sore throat, phlegm, etc.). This is important because while neutrophils kill pathogens, their antimicrobial products damage host tissues.
Theoretically, chicken soup can also be used in this capacity in cases of asthma, emphysema, and even accidents where swelling occurs, to ease inflammation of targeted areas!
Further, each ingredient in chicken soup has its own special healing properties:
- Chicken, while filling, is good for more than just a meal. It contains cysteine, an amino acid that is thought to help thin mucus in the lungs, making it easier to expel.
- Carrots (which contain beta-carotene) and celery (which contains vitamin C), both of which help to bolster the immune system and fight infection.
- Onions in your chicken soup provide the benefit of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and act as an anti-histamine.
Besides all of the physical benefits of ingesting chicken soup, there is an added psychological reason to take it. For many people, it is either administered by a caring relative or it brings with it fond and comforting memories of home.
Either scenario will allow a patient to relax and let the soup do its work to treat the symptoms. And really, we all know the best remedy is a good attitude and plenty of rest.
About the Author
Leah Martins is a writer for the popular self defense website Hertao, where you can find great tips and advice from the pros.
Depending on your ingredients (check this post for a chicken soup recipe), like additional veggies and herbs and spices, it would increase the already prominent health factor of this home remedy! What do you put in your homemade chicken soup?