Chicken Noodle Soup for Colds: Does It Work?

It’s an age-old remedy for treating cold viruses. Does chicken soup really help cold symptoms?

When you had a cold as a child did you your mom offering you a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup?  Moms have been using this culinary medicine for years and according to studies there may be some science behind using chicken soup for colds. That cup of homemade chicken noodle soup may do more than open up the sinuses and give you a psychological lift; it may actually alter the activity of cells that fight inflammation.

Is There Scientific Evidence?

In a study published in the medical journal Chest, researchers made an exciting discovery. When they added chicken soup to a Petri dish full of inflammatory cells called neutrophils the ability of these cells to move around and migrate was decreased. Neutrophils are cells that help to fight infection but also cause inflammation which is responsible for some of the uncomfortable symptoms experienced with a cold. That something as simple as mom’s chicken soup has the ability to ease cold symptoms is nothing short of amazing.

Other Benefits

Eating chicken soup for a cold has other advantages as well. The broth helps with hydration – keeping nasal passages moist and thinning down thick nasal secretions that make if difficult to breathe at night. The warm liquid also helps soothe an irritated throat and decreases the frequency of coughing. Chicken soup is also the ultimate comfort food which gives a psychological boost when you’re dealing with a nasty cold.

Homemade or Canned?

Does chicken soup for a cold have to be homemade or be prepared in any special manner to offer benefits? In this neutrophil study, researchers tested both homemade chicken soup and thirteen different chicken soups out of a can – finding that most had anti-inflammatory effects with some canned soups having even more anti-inflammatory activity than homemade chicken noodle soup. Since they both work, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Spice It Up

Want to make chicken noodle soup even more beneficial for colds? Add a little garlic or thyme to your next batch of chicken noodle soup. Garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, while thyme is an age-old remedy for coughs. Whether you make it homemade or serve it out of a can, keep eating it. Chicken soup for colds is good medicine.

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