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The Power of Turkey Soup!

written by: Donna Clarke • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 10/27/2009

There's nothing like a soothing bowl of hot chicken soup to cure what ails you. Grandma was right, it's the best thing for that nasty cold! But what about turkey soup? Why does chicken soup make us feel so much better? Can turkey soup offer the same powerful punch?

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    Grandma Was Right!

    We've all been there - wrapped in a blanket with chills, fever, cough, runny nose, aches...the works. The only thing that seems to sooth and comfort is a hot delicious bowl of chicken soup, with chunks of chicken, carrots, fresh dill, and onion, the aroma fills the entire room. Homemade or canned, it just seems to make everything better. But, did you ever wonder why? What is the secret our grandmothers all seemed to know. What is the mystery contained within this wondrous food? Why does chicken soup seem to be the perfect food to help cure what ails us? And what about turkey soup? Can turkey soup offer the same benefit?

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    The Origins of Chicken Soup as a Healing Food

    The idea of consuming a hot bowl of chicken soup for the medicinal qualities it possesses dates back to the 12th century when Rabbi Moses Maimonides prescribed it to his patients. Since then, it has been offered to individuals ailing from a wide variety of maladies from congestion to the flu. Amazingly, this simple yet flavorful soup has been the subject of controversy with respect to it's healing ability.

    But is it myth or medicine, fact or fiction?

    Can chicken soup really offer relief for the common cold? Dr. Stephen Rennard at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, sought to solve this mystery. He conducted a series of tests adding chicken soup to neutrophils - the white blood cells. His findings were published in 1999 in the American College of Chest Physicians. He concluded that, chicken soup did in fact help to inhibit the movement of these neutrphils, determining that chicken soup has a definite anti-inflammatory effect, causing a reduction of chest congestion!

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    Nutrition and Flavor: It is just that good!

    The exact cause of this benefit is still a mystery, but one thing is certain, the nutritional values found in chicken soup are undeniable. Loaded with protein, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin K, potassium, and phosphorus, the ingredients contained in this fabulous soup offer a definite benefit when struggling with the common cold. If you are making homemade, be sure to include these ingredients as a base:

    • chicken: hot chicken broth vapors can help thin out mucus due to the presence of cysteine, an amino acid
    • onions: onions contain quercetin, also helpful in thinning out mucus, as well as act as an anti-inflammatory
    • carrots: these yummy vegetables provide an excellent source of vitamin A
    • parsnip: in addition to adding a delicious flavor, parsnip provides a good source of potassium

    Other ingredients such as dill, celery, mushrooms, and even brown rice or whole grain pasta can be added for even more benefit!

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    But How About Turkey Soup?

    With the holidays upon us, the good news is that we don't have to toss the leftover turkey! Use it to begin a turkey soup base you will simply adore! The benefit is the same as chicken soup and you can even freeze it for enjoyment another day. Plus, with turkey soup, you have the added benefit of triptophen to help calm and sooth, providing the perfect relief for that day when you need the warmth and comfort only hot soup can provide.

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    Why Not Warm Up A Bowl!

    Filled with delicious goodness, both chicken and turkey soup offer amazing health benefits, especially if you have a cold. And while it is not a substitute for your doctor, it certainly does offer a soothing comfort and warmth no medicine can provide. So if you are feeling a bit under the weather this season, break out that bowl of hot chicken or turkey soup, relax and may just be the cure for what ails you!