It’s not just many grandmas who swear by it: when you have a cold, a good chicken broth will get you back on your feet. But what about the chicken effect? The answer is, well, sobering.
When it comes to the common cold, many people swear by chicken broth as a home remedy. But you can skip the chicken in the soup and put more vegetables in the pot, advises a renowned naturopath.
“Celery and leeks, for example, contain many pungent phytochemicals that have some antiviral and antibacterial effect,” says Andreas Michalsen, professor of clinical naturopathy at Charité and head of the department of internal medicine and naturopathy at the Immanuel Hospital in Berlin.
No evidence of positive effects
Michalsen has been researching naturopathy for a long time and is aware of the countless studies that have been conducted in this area. As for chicken, he could never scientifically find why it should have a positive effect: “Chicken contains protein and fat, both of which are useless for fighting infections. Chicken does not offer antiviral or antibacterial substances, such as those found in various vegetables.
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The broth gives you a “good gut feeling”
So no more chicken broth? Michalsen doesn’t see it so strictly: “Like most soups, chicken broth is easy to digest and gives you a good feeling in your stomach.” Anyone who has a cold and therefore cooks one should only increase the proportion of vegetables a little more.
Also important: don’t sip the soup too hot. “Heat stress is not good for the mucous membranes,” says Michalsen. Soup is best when pleasantly warm, but not overheated.