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Carly's avatar

Why is chicken soup good for a cold?

Asked by Carly (4550points) March 11th, 2011

Is it just soup in general thats good for you, or is it something more than that?

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21 Answers

MissAnthrope's avatar

“Chicken soup—as made by grandma—contains several ingredients that affect the body’s immune system, a team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found.

“Specifically, it has anti-inflammatory properties that could explain why it soothes sore throats and eases the misery of colds and flu, Dr. Stephen Rennard and colleagues said Monday.

“They found that chicken soup and many of its ingredients helped stop the movement of neutrophils—white blood cells that eat up bacteria and cellular debris and which are released in great numbers by viral infections like colds.” (link)

JLeslie's avatar

The warm steam helps clear the sinuses. The food itself is easily digested in the tummy. The fluid helps hydrate. The love it is made with makes us feel comforted.

susanc's avatar

Because I said so.
– Your Mother

laineybug's avatar

Well I, for one, think that along with the fact that it has many things in it that are good for you, you think that chicken soup will make you feel better, so it does. A lot of people think that it will make them feel better, so like a placebo, it actually does.

Coloma's avatar

What @JLeslie said. :-)

Soup is great, I could live on soup, bread and cheese.
Okay, maybe some olives and cheesecake too.

seazen_'s avatar

It’s a holistic approach that is required to understand that: a healthy mind, healthy body… chicken soup is first and foremost good for the soul – thus it is good for everything that helps the immune system, i.e. – it is good to ward off, or even treat (the common) cold.

Jewish Penicillin.

ETpro's avatar

Aside from the placebo effect, it tastes good and soothes a raw, irritated throat.

gailcalled's avatar

Chicken soup is not a placebo. It is considered good for a cold because it is.

During a recent very unpleasant five-day bout of stomach flu, I could eat only chicken noodle soup and drink only Canada Dry ginger ale.

ETpro's avatar

@gailcalled Personal experience is not useful in determining whether something is a placebo or not. Placebos do seem to work. That’s the whole point of the placebo effect and why it takes large, double-blind studies to find out whether something is working only by the placebo effect, or by some actual therapeutic effect.

But I looked up chicken soup in relation to colds, and here it says that the soup has anti-inflammatory and mucus-thinning effects. So while there is no cure for the common cold yet, the old standby, chicken soup, is the next best thing. And as your bout with stomach flu indicates, it is also very easy on the tummy and gives you some nourishment and vitally important fluids when nothing else wants to stay down.

seazen_'s avatar

@ETpro is batting a thousand. Like I said: Jewish Penicillin, sans irony.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband makes me matzah ball soup when I am sick. Mmmmm yummy.

seazen_'s avatar

@JLeslie Recipe, or it never happened.

ETpro's avatar

@seazen_ Thanks for the kind words, and double thanks for asking @JLeslie for that Jewish penicillin recipe, :-)

seazen_'s avatar

Oh, it’s coming. Les – ask a question about everyone’s chicken soup recipe – i’m q’d out.

We could have a chicken soup war of the recipes battle of the bulge.

JLeslie's avatar

@seazen_ When he makes it for me he just buys the Manischewitz in a box. But I have my grandmas matzah ball recipe buried with her passover candy recipe among my many recipe papers in a box. I have not made it from scratch in a few years. I do a basic chicken soup chicken, water, celery, carrots, onion, salt, and a cube of Knorr chicken boullion. I think the matzah balls are ½ cup matzah meal, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons fat (I used to skim it off of the soup) and a little salt. But, my memory might be wrong. Mix it together, and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes. Then form into balls and drop into boiling soup.

A girlfriend of mine told me once that she separates the eggs and whips up the egg whites before combining the ingredients. She says it makes the balls fluffier. Haven’t tried it yet. Someone else once told me you can add a pinch of baking powder to make them fluffier? Never tried that either.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, and I like dill in the chicken broth.

seazen_'s avatar

I used to skim it off of the soup

That’s what my Bubs would do like all night long – skimming the fat off…

kitkat25's avatar

I don’t know why it works but I do know that it works great when you have a cold or the flu. I know when I have a cold or the flu chicken soup is about the only thing I want. I will make a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup and eat it for days until I feel better.

gailcalled's avatar

@ETpro : Sorry that I forgot to mention all the reputable scientific research directed at chicken soup, made only, however, with free-range Jewish chicken, organic onions, carrots, celery and turnips (and preferably with a little mezzuzah nailed to the door of the coop).

I thought that it was part of the common law and that the palliative qualities were accepted by all.

Mt grandma understood the uses of a placebo. She told my then 7-year-old brother that if he buried a piece of raw bacon in the back yard under a full moon, the warts on his hand would disappear. They did. The adults and I, (the older sister) knew it was granny magic.

laineybug's avatar

Well like I said before, I think that It helps because it has all the good things you’ve said, and the placebo effect.

seazen_'s avatar

@gailcalled Free range Jewish chicken? What, like Woody Allen style?

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