Healing powers of chicken soup

Does chicken soup really have healing powers?

Nothing quite prepares us for the heartache of profound loss. The process of grief is not just about the emotional trauma we experience but also the effects it has on our bodies.

One of the effects grieving can take on the body is in the form of stress. This affects the whole body and all organ systems, and especially the immune system.  People may notice they are more susceptible to catching colds or coming down with the flu during a time of intense grieving.  

So if you’re feeling down or become ill, there is one remedy that both Mums and scientists can agree on: eat your chicken soup.

Chicken soup has long been known for its supposed healing powers.  Is this, though, just an old wives tale or fact?

Chicken soup, is certainly, for many, one of the first things we think of making when loved ones are feeling unwell or are needing a pick me up. 

But what is it that makes chicken soup so soothing?  One of the things that makes chicken soup so especially comforting is the fact that it’s an excellent source of tryptophan. This helps your body produce serotonin, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter.

While chicken soup may not be the cure-all, research suggests that it likely does possess qualities that can help.

Below is a chicken soup recipe I have made and given to family and friends when they are feeling down. 

Chicken & Vegetable Soup – Serves 6

1 tblsp Olive Oil

1 Leek (360g), thinly sliced, rinsed,

1 Onion, finely chopped

2 Carrots, peeled, halved lengthways, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 tblsp finely grated fresh ginger

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground turmeric

½ cup pearl couscous

2 chicken stock cubes (10g each) crumbled

500g chicken breast fillets, trimmed

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tblsp lemon juice.

  1. Heat oil in a stockpot over a medium heat. Add onion and leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add carrots, celery, ginger, garlic and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes. Stir in couscous.
  3. Add stock cubes, 2 litres (8 cups) boiling water and chicken. Bring to boil. Cover with lid. Gently boil for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  4. Using tongs, remove chicken. Cool slightly. Coarsely shred.
  5. Return chicken to pot. Simmer stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is hot. Stir in parsley and juice. Remove from heart. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Forever In My Heart is a thoughtfully curated online shop to support those who have lost a loved one. We have a collection of sympathy hampers, bereavement gifts and keepsakes to provide comfort in a time of need. 

The inspiring book of shared experiences Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul – Stories about Life, Death and Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One can be found on Amazon.

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