Healthy Eating: Food for the Soul: Why Chicken Soup is Healthy

For chicken soup, you don’t have to put a whole soup chicken in the pot, frozen chicken thighs do the same. And a look around the world’s cooking pots shows that coconut milk, chili, and sausage also pair well with soup.

It is considered broth for the sick, and satirist Wiglaf Droste even dedicated a poem to its supposed healing powers. However, the chicken soup remedy has not been scientifically confirmed.

In 2000, a study in the United States found evidence of an anti-inflammatory effect of chicken soup for colds. “But it was just a study in a test tube,” says Irmingard Dexheimer, a nutritionist in Mainz. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, there is still plenty to suggest that chicken soup has earned its traditional reputation as a healing soup.

Ingredients strengthen the immune system

For Dexheimer, chicken soup is wonderful food for the soul, which is especially good for colds in the cold season. “Even the smell during preparation evokes a pleasant childhood memory in many people.”

Isabelle Keller, nutritionist at the German Nutrition Society in Bonn, refers to the tradition of chicken soup as an ancient household remedy: “If a chicken was slaughtered back then to give a sick person an extra portion of meat , it was definitely something different than it is today.” Attention and care associated with rest and relaxation have already played a role.

Besides the perceived benefits of chicken soup, there’s no denying that the nutrients in its ingredients boost the immune system: “It starts with chicken meat with its high zinc content and continues with classic vegetables like leeks, celery, carrots. and onions,” says Dexheimer. Vegetables provide vitamin K, beta-carotene and special phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory effects. If you refine the soup with curly parsley at the end, you add an extra serving of vitamin C. “You can also season them with ginger, which increases the anti-cold effect,” says Dexheimer. Plus, sipping chicken broth lubricates dry mucous membranes.

Frozen products are also suitable

A fresh soup chicken doesn’t have to end up in the pot for soothing enjoyment. According to nutrition experts, frozen products are in no way inferior to fresh products. If the cold is already approaching, the preparation must be quick. Dexheimer recommends the following quick variation for this: Briefly boil one or two chicken thighs and refine with frozen vegetables, bay leaf, cloves and herbs. Thyme is suitable for this, as it dissolves mucus in the airways with its essential oils.

While in Germany the classic variant of chicken soup is that a chicken soup is cooked and the broth is supplemented with vegetables, a look at other countries shows a variety of preparation options.

The Thai variant

Hermann Haberberger and his wife Hanne were inspired by many trips around the world. In his soup bar “Souperior” in Würzburg, it is more the exotic chicken soups that his customers like to eat. “First and foremost, Thai Tom Kha Gai soup is the queen of our chicken soups,” says Haberberger.

The important ingredients of the famous Thai soup are chillies, lemongrass and coconut milk. There’s another Asian classic in soup bar, Singapore’s national dish laksa: “Chilli and lemongrass also play a role here, but chicken is combined with prawn tails in this soup,” says Haberberger.

New Orleans crossover version

He himself prefers a crossover variant from New Orleans: “From Creole the kitchen offers gombo, a chicken stew that also includes andouille, a French smoked sausage made from offal, in the original recipe. However, we are replacing it with a normal smoked sausage.”

Another variation of stew is the jerk chicken pot, which Haberbergers know from Jamaican cuisine and now love: sweet potatoes, bananas and pineapple, orange juice and cumin, among other things, accompany the meat of a grilled chicken.

Even grilled chicken can be used

Does it always have to be a soup chicken or is grilled chicken also suitable for the German version of the soup? “Both are possible, but a soup chicken is fattier and the fat carries flavor,” says Haberberger. If you like a heartier supper, you can add noodles, rice, semolina dumplings or custard to the chicken and vegetables.

How is it said so nicely in Wiglaf Droste’s poem? “The soup will taste delicious, transform you from sick to healthy, and give you strength, energy, and momentum to live.”

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