When you get a cold, the first thing your grandmother tells you to do is probably to eat some chicken soup. While you may want to brush off Gram’s advice, there’s scientific evidence that chicken soup actually does ease cold symptoms and, in addition to over-the-counter meds and lots of rest, can help cure your cold.
Chicken soup has been used as a cure for the common cold throughout all cultures and parts of the world. While the exact reason is not known, we do know that the broth helps to hydrate the body and increase mucus flow, and the vegetables in chicken soup (usually a combination of celery, carrots, and onions) contain plenty of vitamins.
Chicken soup is one of the easiest soups to make, and it’s definitely one of those things that just tastes better homemade than from a can.
Start out by boiling a whole chicken in water with aromatics like bay leaves and peppercorns. As the chicken cooks, be sure to scrape off and discard any foam that collects at the top. Remove the cooked chicken and shred it, and strain the stock before adding the chicken back to the pot. At this point you can add more vegetables or noodles as you like.
A shortened “cheat” version of chicken soup starts out with store-bought or premade chicken stock. Boil diced chicken and chopped vegetables in the stock. When everything is cooked, add in noodles if you’re in the mood and cook for a few minutes before serving.
Make chicken soup your own by adding whatever you’re in the mood for or whatever you have in the house. Change up the cuisine style with flavorings: add ginger and soy sauce for Asian; cilantro, chiles, and beans for Latin; or oregano and tomatoes for Mediterranean.
Shorten the length of your next cold with some soup and common sense. Be prepared with these simple chicken soup recipes (or other soup if chicken isn’t your thing), get extra rest and hydrate regularly.
Magical Chicken Ginseng Soup
(Credit: Cooking Channel's Korean Food Made Simple)
Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a cure-all; it is thought to improve overall well-being and mental health. Combined with chicken and hot broth, this soup may just cure your cold. Click here to see the recipe.
Lemon Chicken Soup with Dumplings
(Credit: Cooking Light)
Lemon juice brightens up a classic chicken soup recipe and adds in an extra shot of vitamin C. Click here to see the recipe.
Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor of The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.