The Chi in Chicken Soup
It’s common knowledge that chicken soup is the go-to food when you’re feeling a cold coming on, have a touch of the blues or simply need some comfort. But what about chicken soup is so mystically healing?
Various takes on the chicken soup phenomenon have extended generations and cultures. Chicken soup across the board is seen as medicine--a medicinal food, that is.
In Jewish culture, chicken soup is referred to as “nature’s penicillin” and has become a staple in the medicinal arsenal for managing the symptoms of colds, flu, respiratory illnesses and other discomforts. It is even known to soothe the soul.
“Chi” is definitely in Chicken soup! Chi, in traditional Chinese medicine, is the vital energy life force, which is comprised of both yin and yang. The concept of yin and yang, two dynamic forces, is the premise of balance in life. Yin is the feminine, representing earth, dampness, cold and passivity. Yang is the male energy, hot and fiery, able to penetrate. The balance of yin and yang is considered optimal health.
When someone has a cold, they are seen as having excessive yin, and the way to rebalance yin is to provide it with yang, which in the food world would correlate with soups and herbal teas due to their warming nature.
The use of chicken soup as medicine chronicles to ancient Chinese culture, referenced even in a medical text dating back to the second century BC. Even today, chicken bone broth is utilized in traditional Chinese medicine as a food intended to transport energy and warmth throughout the body, promoting circulation and supporting immune function by removing dampness and mucus from the body.
Here are some more reasons why chicken soup
has been utilized as medicine from ancient times until today:
The warming properties of chicken soup help to break down mucus and decongest the body. It appears it’s not just the heat. . .but perhaps something else magical in the chicken soup, and there are studies to support this, showing that sipping chicken soup helps remove mucus from the system better than simply sipping hot water.
Even merely breathing in the steam from a hot bowl of chicken soup was shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits and promote the opening of airways.
Chicken soup is hydrating, which can be vital to health when you’re sick. It is also nutrient dense, allowing for an easy to consume liquid packed with vitamins, minerals and protein necessary for supporting wellness.
Bones simmered while making chicken soup release collagen, which can help support the immune system and digestion. Vegetables such as celery, carrots and onion have anti-inflammatory and infection-fighting properties to help promote recovery from illness along with toting antioxidant and nutritive ingredients.
Although we always hear that salt is bad, in some circumstances, such as when dehydrated or not feeling well, sodium intake is necessary in order to regulate fluids and conduct the electrical impulses necessary to activate cells.
Aside from protein, chicken soup is packaged with immune-supporting vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins that also help promote optimal digestion. Tryptophan in chicken may also increase natural serotonin levels, which can support better sleep and help the body manage stress. This might be the comfort we associate with chicken soup!
Since bone broth involves simmering bones, which releases gelatin and glucosamine, chicken soup can help support digestive issues, such as Leaky Gut Syndrome as well as assisting the immune system. Do you have aching joints, bones or nursing a soft tissue injury? Chondroitin is also in chicken soup, which is known for its joint-mending abilities and anti-inflammatory properties.
Spice of Life:
When you add warming herbs such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and black pepper to chicken soup, you’ve now also increased its antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to further promote chicken soup’s immune-boosting abilities.
Aside from its health benefits, a bowl of chicken soup is also full of warm associations--childhood memories, comfort and of course, love. The placebo effect of a bowl of chicken soup holds merit, as positive vibrations can also promote wellness.
Did you know? Apple Cider Vinegar helps open the bones during cooking and release vital minerals, collagen and other natural body-supporting ingredients.
Here is an easy Instant Pot recipe for making a nourishing chicken soup to warm your body and heart this winter:
4 chicken thighs (pasture raised, organic chicken)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 celery stalks
1 large yellow onion
Handful fresh parsley
Several sprigs fresh dill
1 tablespoon Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with the mother
Ground pepper to taste
3 cups chicken stock
Purified water (to fill line in Instapot)
Optional: chopped garlic, turmeric, ginger
Brown the chicken thighs on both sides in a skillet or in your Instapot.
Place all ingredients in the Instapot
Set the InstaPot on Soup setting but increase time to 50 minutes.
Quick release at 50 minutes.
In addition to a bowl of chicken soup, support your immune system this winter season with our Vegan ADK.
The Role of Fat Soluble Vitamins To Immune System Health:
Our Vegan ADK is an excellent way to attain the fat soluble vitamins instrumental in supporting the immune system.
Vitamin A helps your body to produce white blood cells that fight infection and cleanse the blood to support the lymphatic system. Studies have demonstrated that Vitamin A has positive effects on various respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia and measles as well as digestive diseases.
Vitamin D is responsible for regulating up to 2000 genes. It also plays a vital role in every bodily system: brain health, bone and muscles, nervous system, cardiovascular function as well as endocrine and immune activity.
It is estimated that 42% of American adults are vitamin D deficient. Sunlight and diet may not be enough—most people require supplementation.
Recent studies are pointing to vitamin D’s ability to fight upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold and flu.
Vitamin D is thought to boost levels of antimicrobial peptides in the lungs, which act like a natural antibiotic on lung tissue. Vitamin D has also shown promise against asthma attacks.
Supplementing with vitamin D is important for immune health throughout the entire year, but especially during winter months when levels are at their lowest due to less exposure to sunlight.
Low vitamin K2 levels can cause tissue fibers to break down, which is a symptom of pulmonary disease. It’s been evidenced that patients with severe respiratory-related illnesses are utilizing bodily stores of vitamin K2 to help protect and repair damaged fibers in the lungs. Vitamin K2 activates certain proteins, such as MGP (Matrix Gla protein), which is an inhibitor of vascular calcification, and there is evidence that it also protects elastic fibers of the lungs. Since vitamin K2 activates MGP, it’s providing the lungs with this additional protection.