The “sopa de pollo” Myth

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“Sopa de pollo” also known as chicken soup in English was always a big thing when I was sick back home in Miami. Growing up hispanic from both my mom and my dad’s side I learned that chicken soup was almost always the answer to getting rid of a cold or really any illness. The second my grandparents found out I was coming down with something they’d rush into the kitchen and make some chicken soup. I always felt like it was just a myth and nothing really came out of it, but I do sometimes sweat off my fever or feel a little better after…it may just be in my head, who knows.

So, looking at this article I’m seeing that there isn’t any hardcore evidence showing that it does help…just some saying that it COULD be a factor in reducing the common cold. I really do think it’s psychological and since it is home-made and also a comfort food, people probably just let it get to their head. However, since there really isn’t an actual cure for the common cold and a lot of children’s cold and flu medicine is being tested for its safety, people really just have to rely on the chicken soup and hope for the best.

It is shown, though, that the chicken soup is filled with neutrophils which help to fight infections in the body. There was actually a study done on this in Miami because scientists believed that the chicken soup just had a placebo effect on people (which is what I believe). The scientists got together and did an experiment. They gathered 15 people and gave each either hot water, chicken soup, or cold water. They found that the chicken soup did better with helping the cold go away. The hot water did help but was not as effective as the soup. Also found in chicken soup is nutrients that help to protect cilia in your nose which help keep out infections from the nose. The results from this experiment were never really certain but it can be assumed that it does have some sort of effect on people with a cold. So, next time you feel a cold coming on just ask abuela(grandma) to whip you up a nice bowl of hot chicken soup.

Reference Sites :

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/the-science-of-chicken-soup/?_r=0

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2011/11/29/nutrition-myths-debunked-does-chicken-soup-cure-a-cold/

1 thought on “The “sopa de pollo” Myth

  1. Matthew Jacobs-Womer

    When I was recently sick with mono, I found it very hard to hold down any food and ate very little for a week. However, I was able to find solace in chicken noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup has nutritious ingredients but also remains to be very bland. It would make sense why both chicken noodle soup and hot water helped improve the cold. Just like getting a warm shower, the warmth of the soup and water helps to clear up congestion within the body. Coming to a conclusion for this idea of “healing chicken noodle-soup” would be very hard. You would almost have to do an experiment similar to the one they did in the study on if prayer heals. Take hundreds or more of people who had the common cold, split them into two groups and track to see if the chicken noodle soup group showed improvement over the control group. The trouble is sill finding an exact reason what it is about chicken noodle soup that makes us feel better? we may never know.

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