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.
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. 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, 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.
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 and they return it by not going into bronchospasms (cough) any more. The steam inhalation is another great help.
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– thus reducing the general body ache associated with flu.
5. Gives You A Protein Boost
Chicken is a great source of protein 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.
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!
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