Cozying up with a bowl of chicken soup certainly feels good this time of year, whether you’re on the mend or feeling in top form. If you happen to catch a cold, you’re probably looking for anything that will help ease those aches, soothe your tender throat and clear your sinuses. And while chicken soup is certainly comforting, can it really help make you feel better?Here, we dive into the facts to uncover the truth behind this old (and tasty) kitchen remedy.

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Fact: Chicken soup helps relieve congestion.

Enjoying a bowl of chicken soup can help ease congestion, according to Mayo Clinic. Warm liquids, like the savoury broth in chicken soup, make your nose run (in a good way), working to clear uncomfortable nasal congestion. The more your nose runs, the better, as this means the virus has less contact time with the lining of your nose.

Try this recipe: Tyler Florence’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Fact: Chicken soup can rehydrate you.

Eating and drinking when you have a cold can seem highly unappealing, but staying hydrated is key to a quick recovery. Chicken broth delivers hydration along with a bit of salt so your body retains the liquids more effectively.

Try this recipe: Ina Garten’s Chicken Soup 

Fiction: Chicken soup can boost your immune system.

You can’t truly “boost” you immune system, but you can support it — and chicken soup may help in this area with its rich mineral profile. Your body needs energy (calories) for recovery, and chicken soup brings this in a highly digestible form, especially helpful when you don’t feel like eating. And, the ingredients in chicken soup, like garlic, onion and carrots contain potent immune-supportive compounds.

Try this recipe: Michael Smith’s Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

Fact: Chicken soup has medicinal properties.

Surprisingly, it might. A study published in the journal Chest discussed blood samples of volunteers given chicken soup. These samples showed that the soup lessened the movement of neutrophils, which may be beneficial to the upper respiratory tract (where colds tend to linger). While this is just one study, it may make that soup you’re eating taste just a little better.

Try this recipe: Ricardo Larrivée’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Fact: Chicken soup eases an upset stomach.

A common cold can make your stomach ache, and while inherently flavourful, a classic (not spicy!) chicken soup is mild, cold-friendly food. Homemade versions, made with chicken bones, have the added benefit of gelatin, which can nourish the intestinal tract.

Try this recipe: Chuck Hughes’ Chicken Soup with Ground Chicken Meatballs

Fact: Chicken soup makes you feel better, faster.

While researchers realize there’s a bit of a placebo effect going on, slurping up chicken soup may help to speed up recovery thanks to its rich protein content, a macronutrient needed in larger amount for those who are sick.

Try this recipe: Awesome Chicken Soup for the Lazy Soul

Verdict:

Though it may not “cure” the common cold, research shows promise that the combination of the mineral-rich broth, lean protein and easy-to-digest cooked vegetables helps to make you feel better in an almost magic way.

Even if you’re on the fence about the science, it’s tough to argue about the comfort food factor chicken soup brings in both its aroma and taste. Enjoy one of our many chicken soup recipes and get well soon.