Soup for the Soul: The Science Behind Why Chicken Soup is Beneficial for Cold Relief

Fancied Facts
3 min readFeb 6, 2024
A tasty looking chicken soup bowl | By Fancied Facts

You’ve heard it before, probably from a well-meaning grandmother or perhaps a friend: “Got a cold? Eat chicken soup.” But why is chicken soup good for a cold? Is this just an old wives’ tale, or does science back it up?

Well, to your surprise (or not), scientific research corroborates this claim. In 2000, Dr. Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, conducted a study and found out that chicken soup contains several ingredients that affect the body’s immune response to cold.

The hot broth not only provides hydration, but also helps speed up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nasal lining. So, the next time you’re sniffling, remember science approves of Granny’s remedy!

Image by Christo Anestev from Pixabay

What is in Chicken Soup?

You’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s in chicken soup?” when diving into a comforting bowl of it while nursing a cold. Chicken soup usually contains chicken, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, spices, and water.

But the benefits of chicken soup go beyond the ingredients listed on the back of the can. The ingredients used in chicken soup provide a rich variety of nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for your body. The chicken itself provides protein, essential for immune function, while the vegetables add fiber and further nutrients.

What is in Chicken Soup That’s Good for a Cold?

Now that you know what’s in it, let’s break it down further: what in chicken soup is good for a cold? The answer lies in its specific components and how they interact with your body when you’re feeling under the weather.

The chicken provides protein, which is crucial for maintaining strength during a cold. The hot broth keeps you hydrated and soothes a sore throat. The onions and garlic offer antioxidants known to boost immune function. The steam from the hot soup can also help clear nasal congestion.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Myths and Facts about Chicken Soup and Cold Relief

With many old remedies, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. So, let’s debunk some myths and confirm some facts about why chicken soup is good for you when you’re dealing with a cold.

Myth: Chicken soup cures a cold. Fact: While chicken soup can help alleviate some symptoms of a cold, it’s not a cure. No food or drink can cure a cold; it simply has to run its course.

Fact: Chicken soup provides hydration. Staying hydrated is crucial when you have a cold, and the broth in chicken soup is a great way to get additional fluids.

Myth: Only homemade chicken soup works. Fact: While homemade chicken soup may contain more nutrients and fewer preservatives, store-bought can also help with cold symptoms.

Finally

it turns out that the old-fashioned wisdom about chicken soup being a potent remedy for colds holds water (or should we say broth?). While it won’t outright cure your cold, it can certainly provide relief from symptoms and give your immune system a boost. So, the next time you’re feeling sniffly, why not whip up a pot of chicken soup? You’ll be doing your body a favor, and your soul will surely thank you!

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