We’ve all heard the old adage that chicken soup doubles as medicine, but can it really help relieve cold symptoms, especially in fall and as winter approaches?
Fox News Digital reached out to experts to find out if this age-old comfort food has healing powers.
Although it doesn’t actually cure a cold, chicken noodle soup can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu, said Kara Collier, a registered dietitian nutritionist and co-founder of Nutrisense in Chicago.
“The vegetables and seasonings, like garlic and herbs, that go into chicken soup can also provide important minerals, antioxidants and amino acids that help support our body’s immune system,” she said. -she told Fox News Digital.
“In particular, chicken is an excellent source of the amino acid cysteine, which helps thin mucus and manage cold and flu symptoms.”
The broth that serves as the base of chicken soup can also provide fluids and electrolytes that help the body fight infections, Collier noted.
“Your usual hydration strategies may not be appetizing or meet your increased needs when you’re not feeling well, so having something soothing and easy to consume makes a difference,” she said. .
“The warm broth itself can also help open up clogged nasal and throat passages, which helps better manage cold and flu symptoms.”
Plus, chicken soup is an easy way to get important micronutrients, macronutrients, and fluids when you’re sick and may not have an appetite for other foods.
“Chicken soup can be a simple, soothing way to get protein, carbs and vegetables when we are otherwise limited,” Collier said.
Dr. Andrew Petersen, a physician at Forum Health in Utah, noted that chicken broth is full of proteins and peptides that can provide an energy boost for proper immune function.
“Healthy homemade chicken soup usually contains vegetables like carrots, celery and onions,” he told Fox News Digital.
“In a soup, these ingredients are well cooked and therefore easy to digest, which is important when you are sick. »
Between the amino acids and B vitamins found in the broth and the vitamins and minerals found in the vegetables, chicken soup is a good choice for helping someone recover more quickly from a cold or flu. Peterson said.
“It is much more likely to be helpful than a simple carbohydrate meal with excess sugars that would exacerbate the inflammation caused by the viral illness,” he said.
Other foods that help with colds and flu
Beyond chicken soup, Collier cited several other foods that can help relieve cold and flu symptoms:
One thing to consider is that glucose levels tend to be higher when a person is not feeling well, Collier noted.
“When we are sick, our body releases a hormonal cascade that helps boost our immune response,” she said.
“This hormonal change causes us to produce more glucose and be slightly less sensitive to insulin. Although this is important for fighting infections, it often leads to higher than normal glucose values.
In light of this, she recommends being mindful of the amount of carbs and sugary drinks you consume when you’re sick.
“If you can, keep the noodles in your chicken noodle soup balanced by adding plenty of chicken and vegetables, and try to pair your fruits with protein to keep glucose (and energy levels) stable,” Collier said.