BY: NADIA ZAIDI
As I sit here and write this, I’m surrounded by bunches of crumpled tissues, Vick’s, and a cup of chicken soup. I don’t care how many zinc lozenges they tell you to suck on, nothing cures the common cold better than my mom’s chicken soup. I know how bias that reads, but surely we all think our mother’s make the best soup, don’t we? The next best thing: something off your grocery store shelves.
I am admittedly the sick whiner. You know, the person who makes you wish that you had the cold instead of hearing them complain one more time about how sick they are. I know what you’re thinking: grow the heck (that’s putting it mildly) up. But I’m working on it, okay? Sheesh. I will literally try every imaginable concoction to try and eliminate the “germs” in me.
Turmeric (refer to it’s healing powers here), ginger, lemon water, peppermint, honey, cayenne – I mean, the works. The pantry is not off limits now. But regardless of what potion I tend to whip up and begrudgingly swallow, chicken soup wins the battle. Hands down. So here’s why.
It’s a better choice than over the counter syrups and tablets. Need I mention cheaper?
It has all the necessary ingredients that you should be consuming daily. From chicken to garlic and ginger, coupled with various vegetables, this soup packs a good punch.
Researchers have found that soup inhibits the movement of the most common type of white blood cell called neutrophils, which defends against the infection. By stopping the migration of this infection-fighting cell in the body, the chicken soup essentially reduces upper respiratory cold symptoms.
Any hot fluid will reduce the movement of nasal mucus, but chicken broth also improves the protective function of cilia. Cilia are tiny hair-like “projections” in the nose that help reduce contagions from entering the body.
Chicken soup is rich in a compound called carnosine. According to researchers, carnosine is responsible for greatly influencing the body’s immune response.
A well prepared post of chicken stock will also contain gelatin, which is extracted from the collagen present in the chicken. This broth is a source of hydrophilic colloids – a compoint that stimulates digestion.
- CHICKEN: Chicken protein has a great source of cysteine. You may have read this compound at the back of a supplement bottle, or through a google search on the benefits of a particular vegetable. But cysteine is key to clearing mucus, as it is an essential amino acid.
- VEGGIES: A variety of phytochemicals (just know that means something good!) within vegetables contain medicinal properties. Celery, carrots, onions – key veggies that are generally present in most chicken soup recipes are high in these.
- GARLIC: Almost every doctor, website, and your mom will recommend garlic to cure the common cold. The compound most present in garlic is allicin, which is largely responsible for anti-microbial activity. This is activated when garlic is chewed, or if you’re not that adventurous, crushed – and it becomes exposed to the enzyme alliinase.
- GINGER: Oh, good ol’ ginger. Ginger contains a ton of immune-boosting properties. Gingerol, which is present in fresh ginger, contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that reduce the symptoms associated with colds.
So the next time you’re sick, ditch the halls and grab a bag of chicken and make a pot of soup – or just ask mom.