Photo by Danielle Karagannis
When the sniffles, sneezing, and sore throat set it, it's a sure sign a dreadful cold is on its way. Unfortunately, nothing can actually cure the common cold (at least not yet). The good news: There is hope to relieve the symptoms and feel better faster - without all the drugs. Instead of a trip to the pharmacy, hit the grocery store for the makings of a good ol' bowl of chicken soup. Research shows the ingredients in chicken soup may help the body kick a cold by battling congestion and inflammation.
Caught by a Cold- Why It Maters
The chicken itself contains an amino acid called cysteine (similar to the drug acetyl cysteine) which helps thin mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough out all that gunk (ew). Plus, warm chicken soup can help fight inflammation caused when neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) start taking over the bronchial tubes. The soothing heat of the soup might just be trick to stopping the accumulation of these cells.
Don't feel well enough to make chicken soup from scratch? One study found some store-bought soups were even more effective as anti-inflammatories and decongestants when compared to homemade versions. But be sure to check the labels before hitting the checkout line, as store-bought soups can also be loaded with excess sodium and other preservatives. And be aware that soup cans may be lined with BPA (aka bisphenol A), which some studies have linked to cancer, heart disease, and other health problems (though consuming one can isn't likely to cause such conditions).