Ahhhh…choo! You awake on a Monday morning with a hearty sneeze. That's quickly followed by a cough. You notice that your throat is a bit sore and you also feel warm. What's going on? It sounds like you could be coming down with a cold or the flu.
When you give your parents the run-down of your symptoms, they check your temperature and discover you've got a fever. That means no school for you! Instead, a full day of bed rest is prescribed.
You'll probably also be given an over-the-counter medicine to help with your symptoms. If you're lucky, there's one more thing you might get, and it's really tasty. What are we talking about? Chicken noodle soup, of course!
Chicken noodle soup is a home remedy that's been prescribed by moms and grandmothers for ages. But does it really help if you have a cold or the flu? After all, it's not like you see cans of chicken noodle soup in the medicine aisle at the store.
Scientists have recently been able to confirm what moms and grandmothers have known all along: chicken noodle soup does help when you have a cold or the flu. In fact, it's helpful in a variety of ways.
Chicken noodle soup usually consists of a set of common ingredients: chicken broth, chicken, noodles, and a few vegetables, such as onions, celery, and carrots. When you combine these ingredients into a hot, hearty soup, it provides several health benefits.
Chicken noodle soup is chock full of carbohydrates that give you energy and protein that supports your immune system. The vegetables and broth contain minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants that help to fight off viruses. The hot broth also keeps your body hydrated while helping to reduce nasal congestion.
For many years, experts believed the effects of chicken noodle soup were all in our heads. As the ultimate "comfort food," chicken noodle soup was thought to make us feel better simply because it was warm, tasty, and satisfying.
Recently, however, scientists have begun to unlock the scientific secrets underlying chicken noodle soup's effectiveness. Colds and the flu are usually caused by viral infections in the upper respiratory tract. The body fights back with inflammation in those areas, which causes white blood cells to move to that area to fight the infection.
Although they can kill bacteria, the white blood cells don't do much to viruses. Unfortunately, they do cause the body to produce more mucous, which leads to many of the symptoms we associate with colds and the flu: nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing.
Through scientific study, researchers have found a compound in chicken noodle soup called carnosine. Research suggests that the carnosine may have an anti-inflammatory effect by preventing or slowing the movement of white blood cells to the upper respiratory tract, thereby reducing or eliminating some of the most common symptoms of colds and the flu.
While chicken noodle soup won't cure the common cold or the flu, it can indeed make you feel better as your body fights the viruses causing the problem. By hydrating your body, alleviating congestion, and providing needed nutrients, chicken noodle soup helps your body fight colds and the flu in several ways.