Fact or Fiction: Can Chicken Noodle Soup Really Relieve Cold Symptoms?

Cold and Flu Remedy

From a young age, we have all learned that chicken noodle soup is the meal of choice when we are feeling under the weather. The steamy broth, delicious noodles, and hearty veggies make chicken noodle soup one of the best, comfortin, “sick” foods to remedy a cold. While eating the soup is easy on our stomachs during sickness, there may also be proof that chicken noodle soup actually does have medical (not magical) healing ability. So, was grandma just trying to get us to eat our vegetables, or is this delightful concoction backed by science as a remedy for our colds?

This old wives’ tale about chicken soup has been researched extensively with the intention to determine whether or not a bowl of soup can relieve cold symptoms.  One study published on PubMed “suggests that chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity. A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.” The constant runny nose during a cold may be relieved by the soup’s ability to lessen the inflammation that our body undergoes during a cold. According to the study Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro, while chicken soup does help ease inflammation, this meal “may have a number of beneficial effects for an individual with a cold … [such as] improving hydration and nutritional status and accelerating mucosal clearance.” Surgeon, author, and famed celebrity-doctor, Dr. Mehmet Oz breaks down the study and explains that “The researchers found that chicken soup appears to inhibit neutrophil chemotaxis, of the movement of certain immune cells to mucous membrane surfaces. The migration of these cells to surface cells in the airways may be partially responsible for mucous production. The scientists concluded that chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory properties that help dampen cold symptoms.” Who knew that this comfort food actually does more than just make us feel cozy and comforted!

Chicken Noodle Soup Health Benefits

Chicken noodle soup contains a high amount of electrolytes, which is an added benefit for our bodies when we are under the weather. Doctors always tell their patients to make sure to stay hydrated whether sick or not, and Dr. Oz explains that chicken soup is the perfect meal to ease symptoms and to also keep us hydrated, “chicken soup is packed with electrolytes that may help people drink and retain even more fluids than water or commercial electrolyte drinks.” So take the advice from your grandmother and eat an extra portion of soup, it just may be the remedy your body is asking for.  Not a fan of chicken noodle? Other soups could help fill you right up and soothe your potentially sore throat, as well.

Verdict: Fact. Grandma was right; chicken soup has been proven to help relieve cold symptoms. Dr. Oz states “The soup’s salt, steam, and heat can also help thin mucus, making it easier to expel, and soothe irritated passageways in your nose and throat.” Be sure to consult your doctor if you aren’t feeling well, but also consider making some chicken noodle soup to alleviate your cold symptoms.


What’s for dinner when you have a cold?

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  1. I remember when I had food poisoning, my mother threw chicken broth in a pot with some diced up chicken and some frozen kale and bell peppers. It worked like a CHARM! And to this day, that is utter comfort food to me, however, I only eat it if I am flat out, cannot move, sick!


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