Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup

We know chicken soup is "good for the soul", but can it really fight off a cold??

 Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup

Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup

A steaming bowl of this flavorful soup can certainly make you feel better and limited research suggests there may be some validity to the medicinal effect of chicken noodle soup when battling a cold.  One study tested homemade chicken soup and commercially available soup against neutrophil activity.  Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that help the body fight infections. Neutrophil numbers and movement increase in response to inflammation, infection and injury. The researchers in this study found that the movement of neutrophils was decreased in the presence of both the homemade and commercial soup, suggesting a possible anti-inflammatory effect. While they could not distinguish the specific component in the soup that could be beneficial, chicken noodle soup is loaded with healthy ingredients for those suffering a cold.

The hot broth can help open airways and relieve nasal congestion. An older study found that sipping hot chicken soup beat out sipping cold water in "increasing nasal mucus velocity" - basically helping clear out a stuffy nose! The protein and zinc in chicken helps strengthen the immune system, vegetables provide anti-inflammatory vitamins such as Vitamin C and the noodles just taste good (and provide energy from carbohydrate)!

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Then there is the "comfort effect" too. Often, when sick, someone is taking care of us and serving us comfort foods such as chicken noodle soup. While that tender loving care can't be measured, it does warm our heart and can simply make us feel better!

 Chop up the celery leaves too - lots of flavor and nutrition there!

Chop up the celery leaves too - lots of flavor and nutrition there!

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken in this soup but you could substitute chicken breast or even rotisserie chicken for convenience. A splash of lemon juice and zest just before serving adds a light citrus note, welcome on these cold, winter days!

 Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup

Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup

 While we weren't sick when we ate this soup, we've stayed healthy since - maybe it can help prevent a cold???


Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery (ribs and leaves)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 (8oz) package egg noodles
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch Oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute’ until vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf and chopped, cooked chicken. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and add egg noodles. Cook for 10 minutes or until noodles are soft. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

6 servings

Related: What You Can Do To Avoid The Flu!

References:

Rennard, BO, et al. Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro. Chest 2000; 118:1150-1157.

Sakethoo, K, et al. Effects of Drinking Hot Water, Cold Water, and Chicken Soup on Nasal Mucus Velocity and Nasal Airflow Resistance. Chest 1978; 74:408-410.