Healing Chicken Soup
Cold and flu season is upon us, and chicken soup is good for more than the soul! Mom used to always say chicken soup was the cure for sickness, but I didn’t really understand that until a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. After my diagnosis (and after not feeling any better from the pills the doctors threw at me) I decided to do my own research on the matter. I discovered that there are many holistic approaches that one can take to help their bodies feel well. Turns out, the old saying is true: You are what you eat.
I learned a lot about gut health, which I may share another day in another post, but I also learned about the many healing properties in chicken soup. I’m not talking about the store bought, in-a-can, chicken soup; I am talking about good old-fashioned, homemade chicken soup. Here are some of the benefits of chicken soup, both for general good health as well as aiding in colds and flus:
- Helps to reduce blood pressure, due to the collagen/gelatin found in the chicken bones
- Has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties, which helps aid in upper respiratory infections and the common cold
- Beta-carotene (found in carrots) is converted by the body to Vitamin A, which is known to help prevent and fight off infections
- Chicken contains cysteine (an amino acid) which helps to thin out mucus in the lungs
- The gelatin found in bone broth helps with proper digestion
- Other minerals are found in bone broth which is easily absorbed by the body
I always try to have homemade chicken soup in my freezer, that way it’s on hand when I or the kids are sick. It’s also nice to be able to take some over to a sick friend. When my autoimmune disease flares up, I go back to the basics, cutting out inflammatory foods and loading up on anti-inflammatory foods, including chicken soup.
Chicken soup is super easy to make, but the key to success is doing it homemade!! You must use bone-in chicken, since many of the healing properties are found in the bones. I’ll walk you through these simple steps to make your chicken soup!
Step 1: Get out all of your ingredients. You can really add whatever you want, but always include onion and carrots because of the minerals and vitamins found in them. You can either use a whole chicken, or bone-in chicken parts. I usually use a whole chicken, but this is what I had on hand for this batch. I also add garlic, turmeric and oregano to add extra anti-inflammatory agents. You can use fresh or dehydrated or from a jar-whatever you have on hand (although, the fresher the better).
I also add a few drops of oregano essential oils to my soup, because oregano is known to kill viruses!
Step 2: Chop your veggies and rinse your chicken. You can chop your veggies as large or as small as you like. I prefer to chop small so there’s less chance of my kids picking them out. You can then either place your chicken in a crockpot or, if you want to cook it faster, put it in a large pot. Since I make this ahead of time, I always use the crockpot. I feel like it gives more time to absorb all of the minerals from the bones. But, I have had instances where I wanted to make it and serve it quickly and in that situation you are fine to cook it on the stove.
Step 3: Add your veggies to the crockpot (or stockpot), followed by your seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, turmeric. I am not much of a measurer, but I did attach approximate measurements to the recipe card. I always just season to taste. If you are adding any essential oils, don’t over do it! 5-8 drops will probably be sufficient! Cover the ingredients completely with water. Then, cover the crockpot with a lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you are using a stockpot, cover and bring to a boil, cooking for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the veggies are soft.
Step 4: When the chicken is cooked all the way through, remove it from the pot and shred, pulling the skin and meat off the bones. The chicken should be tender enough to fall off the bones. Discard the bones and skin (unless you really enjoy eating skin). Put the chicken back in the pot and give it a good stir with the veggies.
You can serve and eat right away, or, let it cool down, bag it up and stick it in the freezer for the next time you have a case of the sniffles!