Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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Can a plate of chicken soup help us recover? An expert explains what’s happening to our favorite food.

Fever, bone pain and a positive Covid test. I took leave, locked myself in the house and gave food orders to my mother over the phone. The first bag of supplies had chicken soup in it. A dish that is never missing from the menu of a self-respecting patient.

But is there any scientific basis to support this traditional soup of hot chicken broth, vegetables and rice, or is it just a… placebo , with no real benefit? The answer comes from Colby Teeman , Assistant Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of Dayton.

It whets your appetite

Soup is a food with umami taste , the 5th basic taste along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It is perceived by our taste buds thanks to an amino acid, glutamic acid, which we find in many foods, such as meat, poultry, cheese, mushrooms.

“Studies show that taste is an important factor in the healing properties of chicken soup . I see people with upper respiratory diseases who suddenly eat less or not at all. But when you don’t feel like eating, it becomes more difficult to get the nutrients you need to boost your immune system and help your body recover,” says the expert. However, evidence suggests that the umami taste of chicken soup can help increase appetite and improve nutrient digestion.


chicken soup



It can reduce inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to an injury or disease, and white blood cells are important to the inflammatory process. When this reaction occurs in the upper respiratory tract, it leads to common cold and flu symptoms , such as stuffy nose, runny nose, and sneezing.

“In contrast, lower white blood cell activity in the nasal passages may reduce inflammation. “Chicken soup can reduce the number of white blood cells that travel to inflamed tissues by inhibiting the ability of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) to travel to those tissues.”


chicken soup



The secret in its ingredients

Of course, not all chicken soups are equally nutritious. For example, their over-processed versions lack many of the antioxidants found in the mother-of-pearl version. In the second case, the chicken provides the body with protein to fight infections, the vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and the rice is an easily digestible source of carbohydrates , which the body uses for energy.

“Even the warmth of chicken soup can help. Drinking the hot liquid and inhaling the vapors raises the temperature of the nasal and respiratory tracts, loosening the mucus that often accompanies respiratory diseases.”

If you’ve worked up an appetite and want to experiment, you can try the chicken soup with ginger and rice noodles and the chicken soup with ginger and turmeric by our very own Karolina Doritis.

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