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Research: Chicken soup is good for you

MARIETTA – Growing up in Fleming, there was one thing that Zach Warden, 22, could always count on one thing when the first snow hit the ground and the first sniffles started to take hold: a piping hot bowl of soup served up by mom.

Now that Warden is grown, with a wife and daughter of his own, not much has changed.

“To this day, he does the same routine: soup in a bowl in the center of a plate with a sandwich or crackers around it,” said Zach’s wife, Kristen.

Hot chicken noodle soup has long been seen as a comfort food. Often served on sick days, it brings back fond memories of being cared for while under the weather. But according to many, the ingredients in soup offer more than comfort. They offer a cure.

Vienna resident Diana Slusher said she can always count on soup as a surefire way to loosen up the sinuses for her and her family.

That is why Slusher serves soup to all three of her kids and her husband when they feel under the weather. Like many, Slusher herself grew up with soup as a comfort food.

“My grandma made it homemade and my mom made Campbell’s out of a can,” said Slusher.

Slusher grew up in Louisiana, where spicy southern dishes are common, but not exactly ideal for upset stomaches, she said. That is one of the reason soup works so well.

“Most broths are easy on the stomach, and you need to eat when you’re ill. So sipping on broth or soup will give you the vitamins from the food without making you terribly nauseated,” she said.

Slusher is right on the money, said Mike McCourt, a registered nurse at Physicians Care of Marietta.

“Probably the best benefit is hydration from the actual liquid,” said McCourt.

The soup also helps restore electrolytes, which control everything from your natural heart beat to your muscle contractions, said McCourt.

Those who are sick lose liquids and electrolytes quickly, and so they need to be replenished more frequently, he added.

A recent study also found that chicken soup might also help boost your immune system.

Published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, the study found that carnosine, an antioxidant commonly found in poultry, helps the body’s immune system fight the early stages of the flu.

At Tim Hortons, chicken noodle soup is a popular seller, said supervisor Mark Carder.

“It is actually very healthy. If you read the nutritional label, it’s good for you,” said Carder of the chicken soup on the menu.

Though he has a lot of under-the-weather customers ordering soup, the dish is popular with everyone, said Carder.

The popularity isn’t limited to cold and flu season. Chicken noodle soup is popular year round, he said.

The Gun Room Restaurant at the Lafayette Hotel also serves chicken noodle soup on select days, said chef Josh Hall, who oversees the restaurant.

“Year round, when we put it on the menu, it goes really fast,” said Hall.

However, Hall is a bit skeptical of the soups medicinal properties. “It hasn’t helped my cold yet,” he said.

But regardless of the naysayers, Kristen Warden’s husband is sold on the healing powers of soup. “Last night he ate two cans of soup and turned to me and said, ‘I feel better already,'” she said.