Healing Powers of Chicken Soup

Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake- Health writer

When you suffer from a cold or flu during cold weather months, or you have a bruise on your knee after a fall, your mother, grandmother will prepare a steaming bowl of chicken soup, considered having some sort of “medicine” when you are down: feeds the mind and warms the body.

Researchers say that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory by slowing the movement of certain immune system cells. Soups and broth also help prevent dehydration.

Around the 12th century the doctor healers prescribed “the broth of fowl” for ill patients. Egyptian Jewish physician and philosopher, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimonides wrote about the healing powers and benefits of chicken soup.

The ancient healer wrote, "The meat taken should be that of hens or roosters and their broth should also be taken because this sort of fowl has virtue in rectifying corrupted humors.
"Before the word “soup” was coined the ancients used the word “broth”, which was poured over into a bowl containing bread. That bread was called “sop”. From that word was derived the word used today as soup.

Dr. Stephen Rennard, MD at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, thought his family's chicken soup really did work, but as a scientist, he wanted proof.

"One day we were discussing chicken soup," Rennard explains. "My wife says that grandma says this is good for colds, and I said maybe it has some anti-inflammatory action."

Rennard tested his theory and added his wife's home-made chicken soup to white blood cells, called neutrophils. To his surprise, the soup did slow the neutrophils. In fact, he claims that chemicals in the broth-based elixir clear a stuffy nose by inhibiting inflammation of the cells in the nasal passages.

Today, the doctors believe that any form of steaming soup, including chicken clears the congestion in the lungs and relieves bronchitis.

So, next time when you get chest congestion from a cold, go for a warm chicken soup before venturing to see your doctor for antibiotics.

Chicken flesh has an amino-acid called cysteine, a chemical released when you make a soup. The cysteine acts similar to the drug acetyl cysteine, which is prescribed by doctors to patients with upper respiratory infections. It thins the thick mucus secreted in the bronchi and bronchioles. Hot chicken vapor inhalations too, loosen the mucus, making it easier to cough it out and clear the airways.

Muscle building
Chicken being a good source of protein which provides amino acids needed to build muscles and other tissues. Body builders should take more chicken soups daily for building muscles with work outs. Chicken is an excellent source of niacin and iron.

Abdominal Fat Loss
October 2009 issue of “Nutrition, Metabolism and cardiovascular diseases” describes that consuming a diet high in protein-rich foods, such as chicken soup, can help you lose weight more quickly, especially the abdominal fat.

Carrots being an ingredient found in chicken soup also help prevention of infections by the body converting beta-carotene to vitamin A.

Onions another ingredient contains quercetin, a powerful anti-oxidant and also a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory.
(Some reference to SixWise.com)

Gluten-Free Chicken Soup –Home made (WebMD Recipe from Foodily.com)

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
3-4 split chicken breasts (free-range organic, if possible), rinsed, patted dry
8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 heaping cups thinly shredded cabbage (bagged coleslaw mix is fast and easy)
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut up
1 yellow summer squash, cut up
2 zucchini squash, cut up
6 to 8 baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cut up
1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies -- mild or hot, to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon each of: dried basil, oregano and parsley
Hot red pepper flakes, shake to taste
1 14-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 or more cups chicken broth, as needed
A dash or two of balsamic vinegar to taste

Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil into the bottom of a Crock Pot or slow cooker. Lay the chicken breasts in the bottom; top with half the chopped garlic. Season the mixture with sea salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, bell pepper, yellow and zucchini squashes, potatoes, and green chiles; and toss them with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Season the mixture with sea salt, ground pepper, herbs, and a shake or two of hot red pepper flakes. Toss to coat.

Pour the veggies into the crock in an even layer. Pour on the diced tomatoes. Add the chicken broth and a dash of balsamic vinegar, to taste. The liquid should just about cover the veggies. If you like more of a brothy soup than a stew, add more broth.

Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours, until the chicken is tender and easily breaks apart into pieces with a large spoon (my chicken was very cold when it went into the pot, so adjust your cook time accordingly, if you need to).

Taste test for seasoning adjustments. I added a pinch of brown sugar to mine to balance the tomato-garlic and spice. Stir in any seasoning adjustments and serve. Will makes four hearty servings to soothe your body and soul. This recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, corn-free.
Total Servings: 4

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 301
Carbohydrates: 33.6g
Cholesterol: 72mg
Fat: 4.5g
Saturated Fat: 1.1g
Fiber: 8.1g
Sodium: 441mg
Protein: 32.4g

From www.foodily.com with permission. © 2010 Foodily.com Inc.

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