Chicken soup has long been touted as a remedy for alleviating cold symptoms, and there is scientific merit to this claim. The umami taste in chicken soup can stimulate appetite, which is crucial when illnesses affect your desire to eat. Moreover, umami may improve nutrient digestion, aiding in recovery.
Meanwhile, chicken provides complete protein to combat infection, and vegetables supply vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The warmth of the soup can help loosen mucus in the respiratory passages, while herbs and spices like pepper and garlic can have similar effects.
Nutrient Composition of Chicken Soup
In a standard 1-cup (240 ml) serving of homemade chicken soup:
1. You’ll typically find between 6-10 grams of protein, mostly coming from the chicken pieces in the soup.
2. Carbohydrates usually range from 10-15 grams. This depends on whether there are ingredients like noodles or rice in the mix.
3. The soup usually carries 2-4 grams of fat, stemming from the chicken and any fats introduced during the cooking process.
4. When it comes to vitamins, chicken soup offers a variety. For instance, a single serving can give you about 20-30% of your daily vitamin A needs.
5. Minerals such as potassium and magnesium also make their way into the soup. From a serving, you might receive 5-10% of your daily potassium needs.
6. The vegetables that often accompany the chicken in the soup are responsible for introducing antioxidants like beta-carotene. The exact amounts, of course, depend on the specific vegetables you include.
7. The soup’s broth can be a source of electrolytes. Sodium and potassium levels, in particular, are influenced by the recipe and any seasonings added.
8. As for collagen, if you’ve ever made broth by simmering chicken bones and connective tissues, you’ll know that it can be a rich source. The exact collagen content, however, can differ based on how the broth is prepared.
How Does Chicken Soup Alleviate Cold?
Hydration: When you have a cold, hydration becomes paramount. Chicken soup offers those essential fluids. This is especially beneficial if you’re grappling with symptoms like fever, that might cause you to sweat more, or if you’re dealing with a constant runny nose.
Warmth: There’s genuine solace in the comforting warmth of chicken soup. Apart from soothing a sore throat, this warmth also aids in raising the temperature within your nasal and respiratory tracts. This change also helps in dissolving thick mucus and alleviates congestion.
Nutrient Density: Homemade soup is a nutritional treasure trove. It’s generously filled with vegetables such as carrots, celery, and onions. These veggies are reservoirs of essential vitamins and minerals that fortify your immune system and overall well-being, arming your body in its battle against the cold.
Amino Acids and Umami: The unique umami flavor in the soup is credited to amino acids like glutamate. This distinct taste can improve your desire to eat, especially when a cold seems to suppress your appetite. An awakened appetite ensures you ingest the necessary nutrients crucial for recovery.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some compelling evidence suggests potential anti-inflammatory benefits of the soup. Cold symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose and bouts of coughing or sneezing often arise from inflammation in the upper respiratory tract.
Mucus Loosening: Sipping on a hot bowl of soup releases warmth, steam, and moisture. These combined effects act upon the thick mucus in your respiratory system, facilitating its removal and thus easing congestion.
Herbs and Spices: The craft of preparing the soup often integrates herbs and spices. Beyond flavor, ingredients like pepper, garlic, and ginger might have roles in dispelling mucus and lending their unique anti-inflammatory benefits to aid in cold relief.
In conclusion, chicken soup offers hydration, warmth, nutrients, and potential anti-inflammatory effects, providing comfort and support for alleviating cold symptoms.