I was pretty sick last week with a bad cold. This happen to coincide with a visit from my mom. When I picked her up from the airport and she heard me sneezing and coughing, she said, "well, the first thing I need to do is make you some chicken soup!" and she did. Luckily I already had a plump pasture raised chicken in the freezer and veggies in the fridge. I didn't even get to photograph her making it or the finished product as she tucked me nicely in to bed as only a mother will do and demanded that I rest. It gave me time to think about this inclination we have to make chicken soup when people are sick. Is there proof that this helps, or is it a lovely wives' tale that we follow? So, I did a little research.
For those of you that like to cut to the chase... go buy some chickens as there IS scientific proof that chicken soup helps heal the human body! For those of you that like a little more proof....
There have been actual scientific studies done on people who have been fed chicken soup and then their bodies, blood streams and respiratory systems have been anaylzed. The most widely known study was conducted by Dr. Stephen Rennard and published in Chest in 2000.
Eating the chicken soup reduced white blood cell activity as stated in a different article I read from Le Cordon Blue,
"Specifically, chicken soup helped to stop the activity of neutrophils, white blood cells that attack bacteria and cellular debris caused by viral infections like colds. High amounts of neutrophils often stimulate the production of mucous, which may contribute to stuffy noses and coughs. According to the Mayo Clinic it also “temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus, possibly helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining.”
Other ways that it is helpful include the heat from a hot bowl of soup can unclog stuffed up nostrils.
Eating the chicken is a great way to get protein in to your body. Low protein intake can decrease your immune system response.
Vegetables in the soup contain lots of vitamins and minerals which your body needs to produce more antioxidents to fight off infection and viruses.
Increased fluid intake is very important when you are sick, so drinking the broth increases your hydration.
They've also found chicken soup to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Lastly, because it has traditionally been given to us as children, being given a bowl of hot chicken soup as an adult has soothing emotional and psychological benefits as well.
From my research I can tell you that I ate the soup, it was delicious, and now I am better. Make sure you order and keep a few Tyner Pond Farm pasture raised chickens in your freezer. When you hear those sniffles start, don't run to the pharmacy...make chicken soup!