Build your immunity with soup

The curative powers of chicken soup have a basis in reality, particularly if you use ingredients known for their immunity-building qualities.

We’ve all seen or at least have heard of the book series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It has been around since 1993 and includes more than 200 titles.

The books pull together real-life stories from people on topics that range anywhere from finding inner strength to funny cat tales. All are designed to make us feel just a little bit better and give us the tools to keep us mentally and emotionally healthy.

I’m certain the creators were well aware chicken soup has long been believed to do the same thing for our physical health.

The healing and immunity boosting properties of soup have long been touted by grandmas, physicians, homeopaths and just about anyone who has felt the soothing and almost instant benefits of a warm bowl of soup.

To be honest, though, I am not talking about just any soup. To truly get the health benefits of soup, it must have a few basic components.

Here are the best soup ingredients, according to WebMD, to have in your arsenal to keep you going strong during cold and flu season:

GINGER. Ginger contains chemical compounds that help your body ward off germs. Besides being a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces pain and swelling from arthritis, it is loaded with antioxidants that lower blood pressure and boost immunity.

TURMERIC. Much like ginger, this golden/orange root packs a wallop of healing properties. It too is an anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants to fight cancer, lower blood pressure and even ease depression. Containing curcumin, it boasts virus fighting properties as well.

GARLIC. WebMD calls garlic an immunity-boosting superstar. It contains more than 100 sulfuric compounds, which are powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infections.

LEMON. Besides giving your soup a little lift, lemons contain more than 30 grams of vitamin C, nearly double the daily recommended need to boost immunity, not to mention aiding digestive health and anemia prevention by helping with iron absorption.

FRESH HERBS. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (Simon and Garfunkel were on to something) offer flavor, flavor and more flavor is what gets you craving these fabulous herbs, but there is more to them than meets the eye, or should I say, tastebuds. Each herb plays a vital role in the health equation. The abundance of antioxidants and flavonoids in these tiny powerhouses of flavor help with blood flow, respiratory difficulties and even help to rid the body of toxins.

Whether you are a firm believer in chicken broth or like me, prefer a flavorful veggie broth, it may be what is added to that broth which gives it the most bang for your buck.

I have made this recipe many times for friends and family who were under the weather. It’s important to make sure during this season to take care of both body and soul.

With so many titles, you are sure to find just the right Chicken Soup for your Soul. While you’re at it, make that pot of soup.

Kathy Nicarry is the former chef at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Cafe. Her style unites her passion for cooking with love of the natural world. She can be reached at kjsh956@yahoo.com.

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