Consumer Health Blog

Chicken Soup… Not Just For The Soul

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Stuffy head? Fever? Fatigue? Achy?   Even our healthiest patients fall prey to the common cold.   For centuries, mothers around the globe have touted the soothing effects of chicken noodle soup during cold and flu season. Is it just that the warm soup is a comfort food that triggers us to reminisce about the good ole ’days when you were sick… and you stayed in bed… under the careful watch of mom?

Or, is there real stock (no pun intended!) about the healing effects of chicken soup?

“Chicken noodle soup really does make you feel better when you have a cold. The thought is that the annoying cold symptoms of a cough and runny nose are related to your body’s inflammatory immune response to fighting off the invading virus,” says Dr. Stephen Rennard, whose findings were published in the Journal Chest.The study says:

Chicken soup appears to inhibit neutrophil chemotaxis, or the movement of certain immune cells to mucous membrane surfaces. The migration of these cells to surface cells in the airways may be partially responsible for mucous production. The scientists concluded that chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory properties that help dampen cold symptoms.

It also said chicken soup helps you:

  • Stay hydrated, easing irritation in the nasal passageways and throat
  • Drink and retain even more fluids because it is packed with electrolytes
  • Thin and expel mucus, making it easier to expel, via the soup’s salt, steam and heat

They key ingredients:

  • Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene. The body converts this into vitamin A, which helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Onion, garlic and ginger are powerful immune-supportive spices. Onions contain quercetin, a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. The active ingredient allicin in freshly crushed garlic works like a natural antibiotic. The major active ingredients in ginger are terpenes and oleoresin, which have antiseptic, and lymph-cleansing properties and also help improve circulation.
  • REAL chicken broth that’s been made with the bones of a chicken because they contain B vitamins (in the marrow), calcium, magnesium and zinc all of which can assist your immune cells in fighting off colds and flu

Sounds like, as usual, mom was right! Here is one of our favorite chicken soup recipes packed with immunity-boosting antioxidants.

Chicken Soup

  • 1 whole chicken*
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cm fresh ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to cover


Dice the carrots, celery and onion and put in a large soup pot with the chicken. Cover with cold water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken meat falls off of the bones.

Take everything out of the pot. Strain the broth. Pick the meat off of the bones and discard bones. Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken meat, carrots, celery and onion to the pot, stir together and serve.