Is there any truth that eating chicken soup helps you get over a cold faster?
A cold typically lasts a week to 10 days whether you treat it or not, but there is some medical evidence that chicken soup can help you feel better when you are suffering with cold symptoms.
In a now classic study, researchers from Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami tested the effects of chicken soup on the common cold symptoms of a stuffy, runny nose. They found that chicken soup temporarily eases these symptoms, and when compared with moist steam alone, increases the speed with which mucus moves through the nose — an important part of the body’s defense in getting rid of cold and flu viruses. The rapid movement of mucus may decrease the time cold viruses remain in contact with the lining of the nose, thereby limiting the viruses’ ability to penetrate cells, reproduce, and grow.
Nevertheless, the increased flow of mucus through the nose is short lived and usually returns to normal within 30 minutes after finishing the soup. Even so, chicken soup is cheaper than most cold medicines with a reduced risk of potential side effects or adverse reactions, not to mention that chicken soup just tastes better.
In another study, researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, found that chicken soup also may prevent congestion in the lungs. Even in diluted amounts, chicken soup inhibits the ability of certain white blood cells to participate in the body’s inflammatory response, which is involved in some cold symptoms, such as irritated airways and phlegm production.
The bottom line: Chicken soup may make you temporarily feel better, but will not affect how long your cold lasts. And remember, if you need to limit the amount of salt in your diet, check labels of canned soup, which frequently contain a good deal of salt. Low-salt varieties are available.