In the case of chicken soup, those old wives were telling more than a tale. Scientists have confirmed that a hot bowl of chicken soup does indeed soothe the symptoms and speed recovery when it comes to cold and flu. Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center proved that chicken soup has many ingredients that boost your immune system.

The homemade chicken soup used in the laboratory analysis was made with chicken, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems, parsley and Matzo balls (a Jewish dumpling).

A natural anti-inflammatory

The researchers found that many of the ingredients in the chicken soup helped to constrain neutrophils, white blood cells that absorb bacteria and cellular debris. When you catch a cold, neutrophils stimulate mucous production, leading to coughs, sore throat and stuffy nose.

When you have a cold or flu, your body loses fluids. Because chicken soup is mainly liquid, your overall fluid intake increases and your ability to fight infection is strengthened. Also, keeping those mucous membranes lubricated makes you more comfortable and helps you heal faster.

A natural antibiotic and anti-viral

If your recipe includes garlic, you benefit from its natural antibiotic effects as well. Throughout history, garlic has been used to prevent and treat viral and bacterial illnesses. It was even used to ward off the plague. In the 1800s, Louis Pasteur studied garlic’s antibacterial properties. Many modern studies confirm that garlic works to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. A 2003 Wright State University study found that garlic is approximately one percent as potent as penicillin. Other researchers, comparing garlic to prescription antibiotics, found garlic was as effective as a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

What other foods are considered cold-busters? Hot peppers and horseradish can clear the sinuses and help break up mucus in the lungs. Ginger calms the stomach. Honey and lemon soothe sore throat.

Homemade Chicken Soup

  • 1 whole chicken, cut in pieces
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 4 good-sized cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large carrot, cut in quarters
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in quarters
  • Optional: parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

Place the chicken, vegetables and herbs into a large pot, cover with water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes until the meat falls easily from the bones. Scoop out the meat and vegetables with a large slotted spoon. When cooled enough to handle, remove meat from the bone and chop up with the cooked vegetables. Cool the broth, then refrigerate till the fat solidifies at the top. Remove the fat. Reheat the broth, adding the meat and vegetables as well as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta or barley. Heat until everything’s steaming and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Login to Favorite