This is what makes chicken soup so healthy

Even grandma knew what really helps with colds. Instead of swallowing piles of medicine, she recommended effective – and delicious – medicine from the pot: Chicken soup has long been considered THE home remedy for runny noses and sore throats.

But is that just a superstition, or does hot broth really help with cold symptoms? And if so, why ? We clarify the facts.

Does chicken soup help with a cold?

Sip some chicken soup and the cold is gone? Well, it’s not that simple after all. Nevertheless, it has long been proven as a natural home remedy – for good reason: a laboratory study from Nebraska was able to show that chicken soup actually contains substances that can reduce cold symptoms. Although this has only been proven in the test tube, the effect of the home remedy may still seem more plausible.

The positive effect of the soup was mainly attributed to the blocking effect on the so-called “neutrophil granulocytes”. These special white blood cells are one of the most important immune cells in the body’s defense system to successfully fight off invaders. However, they can also cause inflammatory reactions themselves, in which they cause the mucous membranes to swell, for example. Chicken soup blocks this reaction and makes classic cold symptoms go away faster.

Especially with viral infections, like a mild cold, it’s worth giving natural home remedies like chicken soup a try. Less chemicals and soothing relief for sore throat.

What ingredients make chicken broth so healthy?

In addition to its aforementioned impact on neutrophils (the most common type of white blood cells), homemade chicken soup also contains various amino acids, such as cysteine, which are released when the chicken is cooked and migrate into the soup. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effect, cysteine ​​reduces swelling of the mucous membranes and can thus relieve symptoms, especially in diseases of the upper respiratory tract, as studies also suggest.

Also on board: zinc and histidine, a real anti-inflammatory duo. Both substances are also found in chicken meat, with histidine promoting the absorption of zinc in the body. The mineral zinc is involved in many metabolic processes throughout the body. It is considered a multi-talent, without which your immune system, for example, would not function properly. But it has many other effects, here are all at a glance.

Since not only chicken but also healthy vegetables are found in the fortifying broth, it also contains vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances. An optimal blend to quickly boost a weakened immune system.

But it’s not just the ingredients that make chicken soup such an all-rounder among home cold remedies. The smell and temperature of the heating broth alone can have a healing effect. The steam also moistens the mucous membranes, which means that the secretion in the throat and nose can drain better. In addition, the soup contributes to the daily fluid intake.

Recipe: This is how you cook chicken soup for a cold yourself

Making chicken broth isn’t complicated. For it to deliver what it promises, however, it would have to do itself. The main ingredient is of course chicken soup – preferably organic. Chicken drumsticks or chicken breast are only emergency substitutes, as they do not offer the same result in the pan in terms of taste and nutrients.

With soup greens, the amounts of different types of vegetables can be varied or supplemented with parsley root or parsnip, for example. To give the chicken soup an extra touch of spice, a generous piece of ginger should not be missing. Ginger is the all-rounder against almost any disease and provides extra potency. Everything else then takes care of itself. The finished broth can also be frozen wonderfully, so it is worth preparing a large pot.

Basic recipe for homemade chicken soup (1 large pot)

  • 1 organic soup chicken (about 2.2 – 2.5 kg)
  • 1 bunch of soup greens (2 carrots, 200 g celeriac, 1 leek)
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 onion
  • 5cm of ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper


1. Thoroughly rinse the soup chicken inside and out and – if still attached – remove the precipice gland at the top of the back. If this sebaceous gland, which the chicken uses to grease its feathers, is also cooked, the soup becomes cloudy and can quickly taste rancid.
2. Peel the carrots and celeriac and cut them into large pieces. Clean the leek well and cut it into thick slices. Cut the onion in half. Clean and slice the ginger.
3. Put all the prepared ingredients plus half the parsley in a saucepan and pour 5 liters of cold water over it. Everything must be covered with water. Raise the heat and wait until the water is hot without boiling. Then add salt, pepper and bay leaves.
4. Simmer the broth uncovered for about 2 hours. From time to time, skim off the rising turbidity (foam) using a sieve. This creates a nice clear broth at the end.
5. After the cooking time, pass the soup through a sieve so that only the broth remains. Remove the meat from the bone, cut it into bite-size pieces and return it to the broth. Vegetables have given up all of their healthy ingredients, so it’s not worth returning them anymore. Finally, sprinkle with parsley or prepare other soup accompaniments.

Point: If you don’t have enough time to cook yourself, there are good “ready-made products”, such as those from BROX, which are a good alternative in terms of quality. This is what makes the so-called “bone broth” so special.

Soup Sides for Chicken Soup

If you want some soup, you can let off steam. You absolutely must use the chicken for this. To do this, the skin is loosened, the meat is separated from the bones and cartilage and returned to the broth in bites. Vegetables like peas or carrots also go well with it. Rice noodles or soup are good to fill you up and give you energy, and some fresh herbs like parsley or chives for the icing on the cake.

Of course, chicken soup isn’t a miracle cure, but it can actually relieve cold symptoms. Support heat, fluids and nutritious food the immune system from within. If symptoms get worse, talk to your family doctor. You can read here how to differentiate the symptoms of a cold, flu or Covid.

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Franziska Orthey

Franziska Orthey

Kathleen Schmidt-Prange

Kathleen Schmidt-Prange

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