Chicken Soup Good for the Cold
In case you haven’t noticed, cold and flu season is here in Southern California again and the CDC is reporting an increasing number of cases. So what can you do? First, if you haven’t had a flu shot, get one. It’s not too late, the flu season can last into May. We get ours every year at the beginning of flu season, in October. It’s cheap compared to the cost of missed work hours and usually keeps the flu at bay. Second, if you start to have symptoms, go see the doctor right away. Your doctor can prescribe Tamiflu (which will help) but you have to start taking it within the first couple of days you have symptoms. Because the virus mutated this year the shots aren’t always effective, so Bev and I both got the flu despite the flu shots. They did help lessen the symptoms though: she was affected only 4 days (without the aid of Tamiflu) and I was only out only one day (thanks to quickly starting Tamiflu as soon as I had symptoms).
Anything else one can do for the flu or a cold? Yes! Both the Mayo Clinic
recommend chicken soup. There’s actually now published data in medical journals to back up grandma’s claims. Researchers have found that chicken soup contains a number of substances that could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections by reducing inflammation. No wonder it has been called “Jewish penicillin.” Chicken soup is a traditional food in Ashkenazic Jewish culture and has always been considered good for whatever ails you.
So how does chicken soup help relieve cold and flu symptoms? According to the Mayo Clinic, “First, it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils — immune system cells that participate in the body’s inflammatory response. Second, it temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus, possibly helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining.”
So let me share with you my hearty chicken soup that has helped our family for years.
4 cups water
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 medium carrots, cut in to 1/3 inch slices
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/3 inch slices
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Bring water and broth to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover. Let the chicken stand for about 15-20 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. After the chicken has set, transfer it to a plate to cool and reserve the broth.
While the chicken is cooking, saute the onion in a large soup pot over moderate heat til translucent but not browned, about 6 minutes. Then add garlic and continue to cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add carrots, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook covered until softened about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add broth and simmer covered for about 10 more minutes until the vegetables are tender.
While vegetables are cooking, cut the chicken into 1/2 cubes. When vegetables are done, add the chicken and parsley and simmer for 3 minutes.