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Chicken soup soothes the sick, research shows

When you're reaching for the Kleenex and constantly clearing your throat, there's nothing like a hot bowl of soup to ease your suffering.

And that's not just your grandma talking. Research out of the University of Nebraska Medical Center suggests there might be some truth to the age-old wisdom.

Dr. Stephen Rennard of UNMC tested his family's recipe in the lab several years ago after his wife whipped up a batch in the kitchen.

He found that the chicken soup might reduce inflammation, which is believed to cause many cold symptoms. It's likely a combination of the ingredients that reduces inflammation, not one in particular.

“Nobody recommends boiled carrots,” Rennard joked.

He added that the soup might also help with hydration and serve as a comfort food, which is soothing to the sick.

The next time you're feeling under the weather, try a bowl of Rennard's family chicken soup. The recipe is below.

The Rennard family's chicken soup recipe


• 1 5-to 6-pound stewing hen or baking chicken

• 1 package of chicken wings

• 3 large onions

• 1 large sweet potato

• 3 parsnips

• 2 turnips

• 11 to 12 large carrots

• 5 to 6 celery stems

• 1 bunch of parsley

• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Clean the chicken, put it in a large pot and cover it with cold water. Bring the water to boil.

2. Add the chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots. Boil about 1 and a half hours. Remove fat from the surface as it accumulates.

3. Add the parsley and celery. Cook the mixture about 45 min. longer.

4. Remove the chicken. The chicken is not used further for the soup. (The meat makes excellent chicken Parmesan.)

5. Put the vegetables in a food processor until they are chopped fine or pass through a strainer. Both were performed in the present study.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rennard said this soup freezes well, but if you're short on time, canned soup has a similar effect.

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