Can Soup Really Help You Fight the Flu?

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Maybe it‘s simply because your mom used to serve it to you when you were sick as a kid, but there’s something about slurping down a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup that just makes you feel better. Well, we’ve got good news — experts say it’s not only good for the soul, but research suggests that sipping on the cozy broth could actually help relieve your cold and flu symptoms. “Chicken soup really does have healing properties,” said John La Puma, M.D., medical director of the Chef Clinic in Santa Barbara.

How Does Chicken Soup Help?

“It has been shown that hot liquids help thin out your mucus and facilitate coughing,” said La Puma. One study in the journal Chest revealed that hot chicken soup was even more effective at increasing nasal mucus velocity than plain hot or cold water.

Another notable study in the Chest from 2000 found that chicken soup might contain a number of substances that, when combined together, create an anti-inflammatory effect on your upper respiratory tract that helps reduce the severity of symptoms and the severity of the infection.  The soup contains a compound called carnosine that researchers of a study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, say works to strengthen the body’s immune system and helps fight off flu in its early stages.

How Much Chicken Soup Is Enough?

“To get the most health benefits out of your next bowl, your best bet is to make it yourself using lots of fresh herbs and vegetables, like carrots, onions, celery and garlic,” said La Puma. Make a big pot when you start to feel sick and then chow down on the leftovers until you start to feel better. If you’re a vegetarian, simply make a noodle soup using veggie broth and udon or soba noodles — you should still realize some mucus-thinning benefits.

Also, if you know you’re at increased risk for the flu (for instance, if you are aged 50 or older, work in the healthcare field or with small kids, or currently pregnant), be sure to get a flu shot before the beginning of the season, added La Puma. Even if you stave off the flu this winter, a steaming bowl of chicken soup can always warm the soul.

If you’d like to avoid the flu altogether, consider getting a flu shot. You can get a convenient and affordable flu shot at Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens. You can easily book a Walgreens appointment through iTriage online or on your smartphone.

Have you found yourself recently experiencing symptoms similar to the flu? Use iTriage to research the flu and find a doctor or urgent care in your area to visit.

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