Healthy eating: food for the soul: why chicken soup is good for you

For chicken soup, it is not necessary to put a whole soup chicken in the pot, the same can be done with frozen chicken thighs. And a look at the culinary pots of the world shows: coconut milk, chili and sausage also harmonize well with soup.

It is considered a decoction for the sick, and the satirist Wiglaf Droste even dedicated a poem to its supposed healing power. However, the remedy for chicken soup has not been scientifically proven.

In 2000, a study was conducted in the USA that revealed the anti-inflammatory effect of chicken soup for colds. “But this was only a test-tube study,” says Irminghard Dexheimer, a nutritionist from Mainz. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, there is still plenty of reason to believe that chicken soup has earned its traditional reputation as a healing soup.

The ingredients strengthen the immune system

For Dexheimer, chicken soup is excellent soul food for the soul, which is especially useful for colds in the cold season. “Even the smell during cooking evokes fond memories of childhood for many.”

Isabelle Keller, a nutritionist at the German Nutrition Society in Bonn, recalls the tradition of chicken soup as an old home remedy: “If a chicken was slaughtered back then to give a sick person an extra portion of meat, it was definitely something else. than today”. Attention and care combined with rest and relaxation played their role even then.

In addition to the purported benefits of chicken soup, there is no denying that the nutrients in its ingredients strengthen the immune system: “It starts with chicken, which is high in zinc, and continues with classic vegetables like leeks, celery, carrots. and onions,” Dexheimer explains. The vegetables contain vitamin K, beta-carotene, and special phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory effects. If you add parsley at the end of the soup, you’re adding an extra dose of vitamin C. “You can also season them with ginger, which boosts anti-cold effect,” says Dexheimer. Plus, sipping chicken broth lubricates dry mucous membranes.

Frozen products are also suitable

Fresh chicken for soup doesn’t have to end up in a pot for comforting pleasure. According to nutritionists, frozen products are in no way inferior to fresh ones. If the cold is already approaching, you should prepare quickly. For this, Dexheimer recommends the following quick fix: Boil one or two chicken thighs briefly and add frozen vegetables, bay leaves, cloves and herbs. Thyme, which dissolves mucus in the respiratory tract with its essential oils, is suitable for this.

If in Germany the classic version of chicken soup is that the soup is cooked from chicken, and the broth is supplemented with vegetables, then a look at other countries shows a variety of cooking options.

Thai version

Hermann Haberberger and his wife Hanna were inspired by many trips around the world. At her soup bar “Souperior” in Würzburg, customers love to eat exotic chicken soups. “First of all, Tom Kha Gai Thai soup, it’s the queen of our chicken soups,” Haberberger says.

Important ingredients for the famous Thai soup are chili pepper, lemongrass and coconut milk. Another Asian classic at the soup bar is Singapore’s national dish, laksa: “Chili and lemongrass also play a role here, but this soup combines chicken with shrimp tails,” says Haberberger.

Crossover version from New Orleans

He himself likes the version of the crossover from New Orleans best: “From Creole The cuisine includes gumbo, a chicken stew whose original recipe also includes andouille, a French smoked offal sausage. However, we replace it with regular smoked sausage.”

Another version of the stew is the chicken pot, which Haberbergers know from Jamaican cuisine and now love: sweet potatoes, bananas and pineapples, orange juice and cumin, among other things, accompany the meat of the grilled chicken.

You can even use grilled chicken

Does it always have to be chicken for the soup, or does the German version of the soup also include grilled chicken? “It’s possible to do both, but chicken for soup is fattier, and the fat is the carrier of flavor,” says Haberberger. If you like a heartier dinner, you can add noodles, rice, semolina dumplings or egg cream to the chicken and vegetables.

How is it so beautifully expressed in the poem by Wiglaf Droste? “The soup will be delicious, will turn you from sick to healthy, will give you strength, energy and impetus for life.”

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