Is Chicken Noodle Soup the Cure?
Remember days gone by, when the world was so simple. Parents still knew everything, strangers were friends you didn’t know yet, and chicken noodle soup made with love always made you feel better. Those truths haven’t changed, though we’d hate to admit it these days. We know that our parents don’t have all the answers, and yet who do we still turn to for help? We think that strangers are unpredictable and dangerous, and yet we will talk to new people on the airplane or in line at the DMV. Finally, when we get sick, we still turn to chicken noodle soup to make us feel better. We don’t know why, but it just seems to make us feel better. This phenomenon caught the attention of researcher Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Rennard conducted a study back in 2000 to solve the mystery of chicken noodle soup. This is what he found.
He fed his participants chicken noodle soup, and then analyzed their blood samples—taken before and after the soup. The results reported the soup helpful and yet hindering.
Neutrophils—the most common type of white blood cell (commonly called upon to fight infection)—were inhibited. They move slowly to the source of infection. Because the neutrophils move so slowly, our upper respiratory symptoms are reduced. Doesn’t that slow the healing process though?
Doesn’t that Limit the Body?
If neutrophils are sent en masse to the site of the infection, aren’t they needed there? Do you send an army to a battlefield only to pull all but one battalion back to avoid trampling the grass? The body knows what it needs to send to fight the infection. If you slow it down, the war rages longer because there isn’t an army large enough to fight. How does that help?
It provides relief. You need relief to go about your normal day—i.e. go to work, take care of the kids, turn in an assignment, etc. You need relief to sleep well at night—so your body will heal faster.
There are plenty of useful reasons you should use chicken noodle soup to clear up your symptoms. It should be seen as just that though, a temporary solution. You will need those neutrophils eventually though. When you have a chance to rest, resist the soup and let the body go to war. You’ll feel better in the long run.