When you’re feeling under the weather, there’s nothing better than a warm bowl of chicken soup. But why is it so popular with people feeling sick? Well, as it turns out, this classic comfort food has been used for generations to help ease symptoms of illnesses such as the cold or flu.
Not only does chicken soup provide essential hydration and electrolytes to aid in recovery, but its unique mix of components also provides immune-boosting benefits that may even reduce healing times! In this post, we take a closer look at these components and find out “why chicken soup when sick“- plus some tasty recipes to get you back on your feet sooner.
Table of Contents
Why Chicken Soup When Sick?
Chicken soup has long been a popular remedy for sickness, and its popularity can be attributed to several factors. Here are some reasons why chicken soup is a popular remedy for sickness:
1. Comforting: Chicken soup is often associated with comfort and warmth, and can provide a sense of emotional comfort during times of illness. The warm broth and familiar taste can be soothing and calming.
2. Easy to Digest: Chicken soup is a light and easy-to-digest food, making it a good option for those who are feeling nauseous or have a reduced appetite.
3. Hydrating: Chicken soup contains a high amount of liquid, which can help keep the body hydrated and prevent dehydration, especially during illnesses such as colds and flu.
4. Nutritious: Chicken soup contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including protein, vitamins A and C, and potassium, which can help boost the immune system and promote overall health.
5. Anti-inflammatory: Chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory compounds such as cysteine, which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms of illness.
History: Ancient Remedy
Chicken soup has been used as a remedy for illness for centuries, and its history and cultural significance can be traced back to different parts of the world. Here are some examples:
1. Ancient Times: Chicken soup has been used as a remedy for illness since ancient times. In traditional Chinese medicine, chicken soup was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat a variety of ailments.
2. Europe: In Europe, chicken soup was often used as a remedy for colds and flu during the Middle Ages. It was also a popular remedy during the Renaissance and was often recommended by doctors.
3. Jewish Culture: Chicken soup has a special cultural significance in Jewish culture, where it is known as “Jewish penicillin.” It is often served as a remedy for colds and flu and is a traditional food served during the Jewish holiday of Passover.
4. American Culture: In America, chicken soup became a popular remedy during the 20th century, especially during the flu epidemic of 1918. It was often recommended by doctors and was seen as a comforting and nutritious food during times of illness.
Overall, the history and cultural significance of chicken soup as a remedy for illness can be traced back to different parts of the world and different time periods. Its popularity as a remedy can be attributed to its comforting and soothing properties, as well as its nutritional and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Nutrition Benefits: Vitamins & Minerals
Chicken soup is a nutritious food that can provide a variety of vitamins and minerals that are important for overall health. Here are some of the key vitamins and minerals found in chicken soup:
- Protein: Chicken soup is a good source of protein, which is important for building and repairing muscle tissue, as well as supporting the immune system.
- Vitamin A: Chicken soup contains vitamin A, which is important for healthy vision, skin, and immune function.
- Vitamin C: Chicken soup is a good source of vitamin C, which helps support the immune system and can also help with the absorption of iron.
- Vitamin K: Chicken soup contains vitamin K, which is important for healthy blood clotting and bone health.
- Iron: Chicken soup contains iron, which is important for healthy red blood cells and oxygen transport throughout the body.
- Zinc: Chicken soup contains zinc, which is important for immune function and wound healing.
- Potassium: Chicken soup is a good source of potassium, which is important for healthy blood pressure and heart function.
Science Behind Soup: Hydration & Antioxidants
In addition to its nutritional benefits, chicken soup also offers some specific health benefits due to its hydration and antioxidant properties.
- Hydration: Chicken soup is a high-liquid food, which makes it a great source of hydration. This is especially important when you are sick and need to replace fluids that have been lost due to fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Proper hydration can help keep mucus membranes moist, which can help alleviate congestion and coughing.
- Antioxidants: Chicken soup contains several antioxidant compounds, such as carnosine and anserine, which are found in chicken meat. These compounds can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Additionally, the vegetables typically included in chicken soup, such as carrots and celery, are high in antioxidants like vitamins A and C.
- Anti-inflammatory: Chicken soup contains several anti-inflammatory compounds, such as cysteine, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. This can be especially helpful for reducing inflammation in the respiratory system, which can help alleviate symptoms of colds and flu.
- Electrolytes: Chicken soup also contains electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are important for maintaining proper fluid balance and nerve function in the body. This is especially important when you are sick and have lost fluids due to fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Overall, the hydration and antioxidant properties of chicken soup can provide specific health benefits that make it a great choice for those who are sick or looking to boost their overall health. By combining chicken, vegetables, and broth, chicken soup can be a healthy and nourishing addition to any diet.
Immune System Booster: Zinc & Selenium
Chicken soup can also be an immune system booster due to its content of zinc and selenium, two important minerals that play a role in immune function.
- Zinc: Chicken soup contains zinc, which is an essential mineral that is important for immune function. Zinc helps activate immune cells, such as T cells and B cells, and is important for the production of antibodies. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and support overall immune health.
- Selenium: Chicken is a good source of selenium, which is an essential mineral that plays a role in immune function. Selenium helps activate immune cells and is important for the production of cytokines, which are proteins that help regulate the immune system. Selenium also has antioxidant properties, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Both zinc and selenium are important for a healthy immune system, and chicken soup can be a good source of these minerals. Other foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beef, and beans, while foods that are high in selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, and eggs.
Additional Benefits: Comforting Warmth
In addition to its nutritional and immune-boosting benefits, chicken soup also provides a comforting warmth that can be beneficial for both physical and mental health.
- Soothing Effect: The warmth of chicken soup can have a soothing effect on the body, especially when one is feeling under the weather. Warm liquids can help alleviate congestion, reduce inflammation, and relieve sore throats.
- Relaxation: Chicken soup can also promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can be especially important during times of illness. The act of sipping on warm soup can be comforting and calming, and can help reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Hydration: The high-liquid content of chicken soup can also help keep the body hydrated, which is important for overall health and well-being. Proper hydration can help prevent dehydration, which can worsen symptoms of illness.
- Comfort Food: Chicken soup is often considered a comfort food, and can provide a sense of emotional comfort during times of illness. The familiar taste and aroma of chicken soup can be comforting and can help boost one’s mood.
Modern Adaptations: Pressure Cookers
In recent years, pressure cookers have become a popular tool for making chicken soup. Pressure cookers are a modern adaptation of the traditional stovetop cooking method, and offer several benefits for making chicken soup.
1. Faster Cooking Time: Pressure cookers can significantly reduce cooking time, allowing you to make chicken soup in a fraction of the time it would take on the stovetop. This is especially helpful if you’re short on time or want to make a batch of soup quickly.
2. Retains Nutritional Value: Pressure cookers can help retain more of the nutritional value of chicken soup by cooking at a high pressure and temperature. This can help preserve the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in the ingredients.
3. Enhances Flavor: Pressure cookers can enhance the flavor of chicken soup by intensifying the flavors of the ingredients. This is because the high pressure and temperature can break down the ingredients more effectively, allowing the flavors to meld together.
4. Easy to Use: Pressure cookers are easy to use and require minimal supervision. Once you add the ingredients and set the pressure, the pressure cooker will do the rest of the work for you, allowing you to focus on other tasks.
Overall, pressure cookers can be a convenient and efficient way to make chicken soup. They offer several benefits, including faster cooking time, retention of nutritional value, enhanced flavor, and ease of use. By adapting the traditional stovetop method to modern technology, pressure cookers can provide a delicious and nutritious bowl of chicken soup in a fraction of the time.
Chicken Soup Recipe
– 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (or 2-3 lbs of chicken parts)
– 8 cups of water or chicken broth
– 2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
– 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
1. In a large pot or pressure cooker, add the chicken and cover with water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
2. Skim off any foam that rises to the top of the pot. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. If using a pressure cooker, seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 10-12 minutes. If using a stovetop pot, simmer for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
4. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred the meat. Discard the bones and skin.
5. Using an immersion blender or transferring the soup to a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can leave the soup chunky if you prefer.
6. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and heat through. Adjust seasoning as needed.
7. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.
Chicken soup is a versatile dish that can be served in a variety of ways. Here are some serving suggestions for chicken soup:
1. Classic Bowl: The classic way to serve chicken soup is in a bowl with a ladle. You can add fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme, for a pop of color and flavor.
2. Bread Bowl: For a heartier meal, you can serve chicken soup in a bread bowl. Simply hollow out a round bread loaf, and fill it with hot chicken soup. The bread bowl will absorb the flavors of the soup and provide a delicious and filling meal.
3. With Crusty Bread: Chicken soup pairs well with crusty bread, such as a baguette or sourdough. You can slice the bread and serve it alongside the soup for a comforting and satisfying meal.
4. With Rice or Noodles: You can serve chicken soup over rice or noodles for a more substantial meal. The rice or noodles will absorb the flavors of the soup and provide a delicious and filling base.
5. With Grilled Cheese Sandwich: For a classic combination, you can serve the chicken soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. The warm, gooey sandwich pairs well with the comforting flavors of the soup.
6. With Salad: For a lighter meal, you can serve the chicken soup with a side salad. A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing balance to the rich and flavorful soup.
Q: Can I freeze chicken soup?
A: Yes, chicken soup can be frozen for later use. Allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Label the containers with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Q: Can I use chicken bouillon instead of chicken broth?
A: Yes, chicken bouillon can be used instead of chicken broth to make chicken soup. Simply dissolve the bouillon cubes or granules in hot water according to package instructions, and use in place of chicken broth.
Q: Can I use boneless chicken breast instead of a whole chicken?
A: Yes, boneless chicken breast can be used in place of a whole chicken to make chicken soup. Use about 2-3 lbs of boneless chicken breast, and adjust cooking time as needed.
Q: How long can I keep chicken soup in the refrigerator?
A: Chicken soup can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Make sure to store the soup in airtight containers or covered with plastic wrap to prevent contamination.
Q: Can I make chicken soup without vegetables?
A: Yes, you can make chicken soup without vegetables, but adding vegetables can provide additional flavor and nutrition. You can adjust the amount and type of vegetables to suit your tastes and preferences.
When it comes down to it, why chicken soup when sick is an age-old question that still remains. Whether the powers of chicken soup are mysterious or scientific, there’s no denying that this dish has been around for centuries and generations have seen their families healed thanks to it. In today’s world where pharmaceuticals are everywhere, there’s something comforting in taking a step back in time and trying out an ancient remedy that has stood the test of time. If you’re feeling under the whether during cold and flu season, why not give chicken soup a try? Who knows—you might just find yourself on the mend very quickly! So if you’re wondering “why chicken soup when sick?” The answer is simple: Give it a shot – you may be pleasantly surprised at the results!