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How Drinking Chicken Soup Can Protect You From Cold And Flu

How Drinking Chicken Soup Can Protect You From Cold And Flu

Chicken Soup For The Soul may be a good read, but drinking this bowl of steaming hot goodness is a far better way to fight off colds and coughs. What we may brush off as an old wives tale, has found scientific backing from the experts – chicken soup is a good aid that helps fight off cold, coughs and flu. While it’s not a substitute for medicine, it is certainly one home remedy that’s very effective.

So how exactly does this steaming goodness work its magic on cold and flu? Let’s count the ways.

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1. Give You An Antioxidant Dose

Chicken soup can fight off infections for it contains a natural amino acid called cysteine. A form of this amino acid, called N-acetyl cysteine, is a powerful antioxidant and as we all know, antioxidants strengthen immunity.[1] So chicken soup, in effect, is a natural preventative as well as a treatment against the flu.

2. Clear Away The Mucus

In 1978, Marvin Sackner conducted a study which proved that chicken soup was more effective in clearing away mucus,[2] rather than hot or cold water. The study was further followed up by research by Irwin Ziment in 1980; who went on to prove that this happened because chicken soup thinned down the mucus and then reiterated in 2000 by Stephen Rennard who argued that chicken soup reduced mucus in the lung and so aided the white blood cells in fighting off an infection.

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3. Soothes The Respiratory Tract

It’s not just enough to have chicken soup though. If the soup is made spicy enough to bring tears to your eyes and give you a runny nose, it will help the body in clearing out the mucus by coughing it up. Most medicines that target congestion, dry it out, but more often than not, the congestion returns once the medicines are over.

If you clear the congestion from your lungs by slurping up some spicy soup – then you do your lungs a huge favor[3] and they return it by not going into bronchospasms (cough) any more. The steam inhalation is another great help.

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4. Reduce Body Inflammation And Pain

When you make chicken soup, the calcium and chondroitin of the bones leaches into the soup, which basically raises the calcium content of the soup in itself. Calcium and chondroitin have shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body[4]– thus reducing the general body ache associated with flu.

5. Gives You A Protein Boost

Chicken is a great source of protein[5] and since after making the soup, you debone the chicken and return the meat – the protein content remains untouched and in place. Having an easily digestible high-protein meal gets you the long-term energy needed to heal yourself, inside out. A bout of flu often leaves us feeling low on energy – a bowlful of chicken soup can go a long way in combating that.

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The Perfect Bowlful Of Goodness

Different cultures have different versions of this flu-fighting wonder. But for those without a recipe, or a clue, it’s pretty easy to make a hearty chicken soup even if you are culinarily challenged. In a deep-bottomed pan, heat a splash of olive oil and add in a chopped onion and 3 crushed garlic cloves. Once the onions have turned translucent, you may choose to add a chopped carrot and a sliced celery stalk. Once the veggies have softened; add a whole, jointed chicken and enough water to completely submerge the chicken in.

Add in your favorite spices or herbs – thyme, lemongrass, rosemary, basil, cloves or bay leaves are a few good choices. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup boil over once and then simmer it for another 25 minutes. Strain the liquid out into another pot and then add the deboned flesh back into the soup. After another 10 minutes of simmering, check for salt and then garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of rosemary.

Sip your way back to better health!

Featured photo credit: Pinterest via in.pinterest.com

Reference

[1] http://www.drsinatra.com/chicken-soup-for-the-lungsa-natural-cold-flu-treatment/
[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3371839/Why-chicken-soup-really-help-cure-cold-Comforting-broth-clears-congestion-helps-immune-fight-infection.html
[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001018075252.html
[4]  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/16/bone-broth-benefits.aspx
[5] https://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

More Tips on Eating Healthy

Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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