Is Chicken Noodle Soup Good When You’Re Sick

It’s not just a myth. Slurping soup or sipping tea may have actual health benefits that help us heal.

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Improved appetite, better digestion

All that makes sense, because amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and the amino acid glutamate is found in foods with the umami taste. Not all umami foods are meat or poultry, however; cheese, mushrooms, miso and soy sauce have it too.

Studies show that taste, it turns out, is critical to the healing properties of chicken soup. When I see patients with upper respiratory illnesses, I notice many of them are suddenly eating less or not eating at all. This is because acute illnesses ignite an inflammatory response that can decrease your appetite. Not feeling like eating means youre unlikely to get the nutrition you need, which is hardly an optimal recipe for immune health and recovery from illness.

But evidence suggests that the umami taste in chicken soup may help spur a bigger appetite. Participants in one study said they felt hungrier after their first taste of a soup with umami flavor added in by researchers.

Other studies say umami may also improve nutrient digestion. Once our brains sense umami through the taste receptors on our tongues, our bodies prime our digestive tracts to absorb protein more easily.

This can reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, which many people experience when theyre under the weather. Although most people dont associate upper respiratory infections with gastrointestinal symptoms, research in children has found that the flu virus increased abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.

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Few foods are as comforting as eating soup when youre recovering from a cold. Soup has been a commonly-prescribed remedy for respiratory illness since as early as the 12th century. And warm drinks, like tea, were used for healing in ancient and modern cultures alike.

Warm liquids may actually affect the body’s ability to heal? It turns out that some drinks and soups can help reduce symptoms like congestion and even strengthen the immune system to fend off an illness. We all have rituals we follow when we catch the flu or a cold.

However, despite the growing popularity of these edible treatments, science is still unable to definitively determine how exactly our favorite foods and beverages help us feel better. Nonetheless, a few studies indicate that our bodies may benefit from our preferred remedies for illnesses, so it doesn’t hurt to try them.

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