Does Chicken Soup help with colds?
If you’re reading this and in Melbourne, you can probably agree with us that it is pretty darn cold these mornings.
And as with every Winter, we brace ourselves for the Cold and Flu season, stocking up on Panadol, tissues and Vicks, preparing a huge batch of chicken broth for when the goings really get you down…
Which leads us to our next question. Is chicken broth really the elixir of health and the cure for everything?
Well, we’re pretty giddy with excitement thinking about researching this, because the idea of health coming in the form of delicious consumables is totally up our alley.
So does chicken soup really have medicinal properties?
In a study by Chest, it's believed that colds create an inflammatory response within your body, and chicken soup can counter this with its anti-inflammatory properties and benefits - ultimately easing the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
The researchers specifically studied the movement of neutrophils (a white blood cell) when combined with soup. While they did find a reduced movement of the neutrophils in the presence of chicken soup - the researchers didn’t further research whether the effects of the movement were a good or bad thing for the body. While it’s clear that chicken soup does ‘something’, it was inconclusive whether it was actually beneficial to reducing symptoms of a cold.
Different liquids and their effects
There was also another study that compared the differences between cold water, hot water and hot soup in the movement of infections.
This was done by inserting tiny particles into 15 healthy participants as if to mimic a cluster of bacteria or viruses. The movement was then tested before and after the insertion of the different liquid types.
It was found that hot soup was the most effective in stimulating the mucociliary transport system. This is a system that helps to move things along in the upper and lower respiratory tract, allowing the body to rid itself of particles and infections. This system, in particular, is important in helping your body to get rid of cold. And whatever can help your airways clear up faster may decrease the risk of infection or help to clear an existing one.
A hearty bowl of nutrients
And finally... The most obvious reason is that chicken soup is just really good for those days when you’re feeling down in the dumps. It's easy to consume, it's full of nutrients, it keeps you nice and warm, while also helping to soothe a throat & to breakdown mucus (gross, but true).
When you’re feeling sick, you might not have the appetite to stomach food, and the worst thing you could possibly be doing is depriving your body of the energy and nutrients it needs to help fight off an infection.
Chicken soup then becomes a great nutrient-dense option, as it also usually comes prepared with a lot of health-packed ingredients such as carrots, celery, onions and more. For example, the vegetables we mentioned are a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as other antioxidants and minerals. Carrots are also high in beta-carotene, which contains anti-inflammatory properties which could help to reduce the symptoms of your infection.
Then the star of the show, chicken. Chicken is full of protein, helping to support the healthy functioning of the immune system. It’s also a great source of Vitamins & Minerals, such as B vitamins, which boosts immunity and helps to regulate digestion. It’s also high in tryptophan, which helps your body to produce serotonin - the feel-good hormone. By enhancing your mood and giving you the ultimate feeling of 'warm and fuzzies' - what more could you possibly ask for in comfort food?
So does it cure a cold? Short answer, no. But will it help you to feel better? We think it does. And that’s why we always crave the warm embrace of hot broths when we’re feeling poorly. Besides that - it tastes damn good, making it the best part of having a cold.