Chicken Soup: Comfort for Colds??>

Supermarket Buying Guide: Soups

Chicken Soup: Comfort for Colds?

by Edward R. Blonz, Ph.D.  

There’s nothing like chicken soup for a bad cold. Its hot vapors may clear the nasal passages, and any fluid is helpful for cold symptoms. Having a caring relative make the soup might enhance the effect. It’s only common sense. But some scientists have sought a more precise explanation.

In a classic study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, researchers made a traditional Jewish-style chicken soup using chicken, carrots, onions, sweet potato, turnips and other vegetables.

In the lab they combined samples of the soup with human blood cells and found that the soup inhibited the ability of certain white blood cells to participate in the body’s inflammatory response. They theorized that this anti-inflammatory effect could reduce symptoms such as irritated airways and mucus production, and suggested that the chicken and vegetables somehow work together.

But if it’s too much trouble, and Grandma isn’t around, you’ll be glad to know that many commercial soups were found to have a similar effect.

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