Chicken Soup For Your Health

There has been a lot of talk about chicken soup for this and chicken soup for that. It's based on the idea that chicken soup has some special significance for health improvement. It seems that mothers through the ages and across all cultures have offered some form of chicken broth when their families get ill – sort of a cure all. So, I decided to look into just how good chicken soup really is.

Homemade is Best

I'm talking about the real thing – not just some canned version (although canned will do in a pinch). It turns out that there are important minerals and vitamins in the bones and carcass that cooks out into the stock. These minerals help build strength and health so vital during convalescence.

And it is just not that hard to throw together homemade stock. We are talking about a rich stock made of a chicken bones and carcass. Add to that chopped onion, several stocks of celery, carrots, some cloves of garlic, parsley and good old salt to taste (sea salt is my preference). Adding these vegetables just makes the stock richer, more nutritious.

Something else I learned is to add a tablespoon of lime juice or apple cider vinegar adds an interesting touch as well as helping to extract more of the minerals from the bones and vegetables. Hey, any way to get calcium is good, right?

Skim out the Dregs

When they are sick, I have been known to offer my kids to drink just the broth part of chicken soup when they are not feeling well. It has all the goodness of the vegetables and a touch of fat and protein. I will not make them eat the roughage especially when they are feeling "icky" – just the broth.

By the time you have cooked down the soup stock, the vegetables have all but turned to mush anyway. I read that this is where most of the nutrition is anyway. One nutritionist said to think about it this way: we pour boiling water over tea or coffee, filter out the dregs and drink what's left, right? Now I would not just toss the chicken and veggies – I offer them to the healthy folks.

"Good Medicine"

  • The liquid warms an achy throat.
  • The calcium from the bones helps to relax the body as it heals
  • The sulfur in the comments and garlic help kill germs
  • The saltiness coats the scratchiness and discourages viral infection.
  • Assorted minerals and vitamins in a tasty form act as a natural tonic
  • Sipping the broth fills an empty stomach which might otherwise reject something heavier. There will be time enough for the roughage.
  • The simple chicken broth helps to loosen phlegm and lighten a cough

Bet you did not know that humble soup made of chicken and vegetables could do so much! Come to think of it, I do not think anything helped me get better better than chicken soup – just 'cause mom made it.

Thanks, Mom, for giving me chicken soup.