Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chicken Soup just for flu season?

Probably not.  In previous posts about I have mentioned the immune system and its role in preventing the flu and other illnesses.  One of the recommendations was to eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals.  There are many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer that occur less frequently in people who eat vegetables frequently.  But many kids don’t want to eat their veggies.  And fresh vegetables are frequently expensive, especially the organic ones.  (The American Academy of Pediatrics just commented on the benefits of organic foods.  You can check it out here)  So, what is one simple addition to your monthly or weekly meal plan that will provide cheap vitamins and minerals in a form that is easily absorbed but won’t break the bank?

Chicken soup!  Chicken stock is one recipe you can easily make from scratch yourself.  It is much cheaper and healthier than buying it in a can or box at the store.  And preliminary research indicates it likely has immune boosting powers as well.  Grandma was probably right about chicken soup.
When chicken stock is made by simmering the bones in water and maybe a splash of vinegar the minerals leach into the stock in a form that is easily absorbable. 

Chicken stock has zinc, iron, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium in it.  The sodium and vitamin content in it would depend on what vegetables are used and how much salt you add.  I usually simmer my stock overnight in the crock pot.  Then you can remove the vegetables from the stock that your kids will not eat.  For instance, I always use onions in my stock, but I do not generally serve chicken soup with onions. 

Beside vitamins and minerals, there are other health benefits that have been identified.  There is much research left to be done for conclusive evidence, but several articles indicate that chicken soup can decrease symptoms of upper colds, increase the movement of nasal mucus and also improve the function of protectivecilia in the respiratory tract.  And in Arthritis Research and Therapy they found that collagen from chicken bones can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, there are many health benefits of chicken soup that our traditional medical system is just beginning to research but complementary health providers and traditional people have known.  For more information see: 

day2day joys

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