Chicken Soup: Good or Bad for Sickness?

As you have notice I haven’t been writing as much lately, this is largely due to the fever, cold, flu that I been having for the week. While I was lying on my bed, some questions came to my head. Thinking back, when I was still a kid and living with my parents, I was always told to avoid eating chickens, seafood, fried foods, fast foods, etc. when I am sick. I was told that it would make my sickness last long!

Question is, is it true? So with this curiousity in mind, I searched through the Internet to find an answer for myself (since I kind of want to eat chicken, although my mom told me not to).

After hours of reading and searching, I found out (well actually I knew) chicken was good for your health. Many people make chicken soup for cold remedies. Although we still don’t really know why, but research have shown it does help in some way.

Irwin Ziment, M.D., pulmonary specialist and professor at the UCLA School for Medicine, says chicken soup contains drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines. For example, an amino acid released from chicken during cooking chemically resembles the drug acetylcysteine, prescribed for bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

Spices that are often added to chicken soup, such as garlic and pepper (all ancient treatments for respiratory diseases), work the same way as modern cough medicines, thinning mucus and making breathing easier.

Another theory, put forth by Stephen Rennard, M.D., chief of pulmonary medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, is that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory. The soup, he says, keeps a check on inflammatory white blood cells (neutrophils). Cold symptoms, such as coughs and congestion, are often caused by inflammation produced when neutrophils migrate to the bronchial tubes and accumulate there. — from Chet’s Day

As for why Chinese are saying it was bad for you… I guess it was some kind of “old wives’ tales”. There are many beliefs or superstition in the Chinese cultures, probably this was one of it? However, it might have to do with the ancient way of Chinese medicine? Probably it might have gone against some of the properties of the Chinese medicine and might affect it in some way?

But, it is widely proven that chicken is not bad to eat during sickness. I recommend trying some chicken soup when you are having a cold, it really does help! Some other food that is good too: ginger, garlic, lemon, and miso. These are recommended by Chinese too! Chinese congee is good too! Another one: Chinese said don’t drink cold stuff when coughing – don’t know whether it is true or not. Probably another topic for another time.


Chet’s Day


3 responses to “Chicken Soup: Good or Bad for Sickness?

  1. Hope you are feeling better! You know what would also help if you have a terrible cold or a stuffy nose? Wasabi! Yep, Wasabi! but i also eat a lot of chicken soup and stay away from coffee when i have a cold

  2. Chinese don’t say that chicken soup is necessarily bad for you. In fact, it would be good for certain types of illnesses (if u were really really weak or after pregnancy etc). But in most cases, it is considered too rich and therefore not good for general flu like illnesses.

  3. Chinese believes that sickness arise from an imbalance of yin and yang. In the case of having the cold, we believe the body has too much yang. Eating chicken (regarded as a yang type of food) would be adding on to it and prolong the sickness. To translate this in western culture, there was an article that explained the yin and yang balance refers to the alkalinity in the body. The food we were told to avoid generally have more acidic properties, creating a better environment for pathogens to thrive.

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