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Sue's Blog

Wednesday, 01/02/13 - Why is Chicken soup good for the soul and the body?

Just made a big pot of homemade chicken soup today!  How good does that sound?  Well someone around here sure needs it.

We all know that a steaming bowl of chicken soup will soothe a sore throat, open a stuffy nose and provide warmth to our soul.     Winter is here, cold weather and so is the dreaded cold and flu season and this year seems to be particularly bad even for some of us dye hard fighters who never get sick like my husband!   

So the drill usually goes for so many people…stock up on cough and cold medicine, decongestants, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc. All of our festive holiday planning, singing, eating, drinking, and being merry can come to an abrupt halt if we are unfortunate enough to be attacked by any one of the thousands of nasty viruses out there. Sneezing and snotty kids, hacking shoppers, grocery store carts and the added stress of preparing for the holidays can weaken even the most armor clad immune system.   Fear not, just add a few more items to that shopping cart and be ready to tackle cold weather and the cold season

It just feels good to eat a big bowl of homemade chicken soup when we have a cold or we’re coming down with something.   The steam from the broth, the hot liquid, and the yummy vegetables make us feel instantly all cozy and better. Totally comfort food right?  But why do we feel better when we eat chicken soup? The answer to this question is both sensible and scientific.

From our senses we know the steam from the hot soup opens up stuffy nasal passages and the hot broth is soothing to a sore throat. The nourishment from the chicken, and vegetables provides us with energy and is easy to digest. The heat from the soup raises our internal body temperature slightly, warming us to the core and gives us that cozy comfort feeling like we’re doing something really good for ourselves.

Here’s the scientific part of the soup for the soul.   When cooked, the chicken releases the amino acid cysteine which helps to loosen mucous in the lungs and nasal passages making it easier for us to cough it out and to blow our nose.  My husband has been doing a lot of that lately.

Carrots contain beta carotene (this is a provitamin that can be converted to vitamin A), calcium, potassium, and vitamins B and C. Carrots also have antiseptic properties.

Garlic fights viruses and bacteria.

Onions contain the flavonoid quercetin, which has antioxidant and antihistamine properties. They also contain properties that help fight infections. Quercetin does not break down in the soup; instead its healing properties are transferred to the broth.

Celery is rich in vitamin C and has been shown to reduce inflammation and help prevent free radical damage. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and is necessary for preventing and fighting colds.

Here’s my favorite way to make Chicken Soup.  Since I’m gluten free I don’t put noodles in our soup but you’re welcome to do so or add in gluten free noodles.  Sometimes I also add in gluten free dumplings!   It’s healthy, delicious and really warms the soul no matter how scientific it gets! 

Stay well!

Sue Seward
Gluten Free Lady

Click Here For Sue's Chicken Soup recipe

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