There is nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of homemade chicken soup to warm you up when the cold weather begins. But did you know that since the 12th century, chicken soup has been used to cure the common cold?
Did You Know?
- Since the 12th century, chicken soup has been used to cure the common cold
- Chicken is a wonderful source of protein and other nutrients, but if you truly want to reap its benefits, choose high-quality, organic free-range chicken from trustworthy sources
- While you can buy ready-to-use chicken stock at supermarkets, you can easily make your own broth at home
- Red bell peppers add a light sweetness to your chicken soup - make sure to choose those that are firm, deeply colored, and glossy
If you’re getting tired of the usual chicken soup recipe, here’s an exciting way to zest up your meal: give it an oriental twist by adding Asian spices. The intense flavor of the chilies used in this simple but hearty dish can surely invigorate your mind, body, and soul, making it the perfect meal for chilly evenings. Try my Asian Chicken and Chilies Soup recipe:
- 6 cups chicken broth (or homemade broth)
- 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
- 1 to 3 teaspoons Asian hot chili sauce (or you can use a couple of fresh chilies)
- 3 cups poached chicken breast, thighs, or legs, diced
- 1 bunch watercress, large stems trimmed, or spinach
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- In a three-quart saucepan, bring broth, bell peppers, tamari, and chili sauce or chilies to a simmer; cook until bell peppers are crisp-tender, about six minutes.
- Add chicken and watercress (or spinach); cook for one minute. Ladle into bowls, and top with scallions.
This recipe makes four servings.
(From Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type)
Asian Chicken and Chilies Soup Cooking Tips
Most chicken sold in conventional supermarkets come from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that not only raise animals inhumanely – crowding them in filthy and tight spaces and feeding them an unnatural diet of genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans – but also put you at risk of numerous disease like salmonella and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
To ensure that you’re getting truly high-quality chicken (and eggs), look for a local farmer that allows his hens to forage outdoors. If you live in an urban community, you can visit your local farmer’s markets, which is the quickest route to finding high-quality, free-range chicken.
Remember that safe handling is very crucial for raw chicken. Washing your chicken may actually cause campylobacter bacteria (mostly found in conventional CAFO chickens) to spread, which increases your risk of food poisoning. I also advise using separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
While you can easily buy ready-to-use chicken stock at supermarkets, I recommend making your own broth at home. Simply put the entire raw chicken in the pot, add water to cover the bird, bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to simmer. After two hours, remove from pot and separate the meat from bones. Place the bones back the water, let simmer on very low heat for an additional 8 to 10 hours. Here’s a simple recipe for homemade broth you can try.
When buying watercress, look for those that have crisp, dark green leaves that show no signs of wilting or yellowing. Wash, shake dry, and then trim off the tough roots. It’s best to store watercress in a perforated bag in the refrigerator, as it is highly perishable and is best consumed within a couple of days.1
Aside from its versatility and mild peppery flavor, watercress can offer you a wide array of nutrients that can benefit your health. Modern science found that there are over 15 essential vitamins and minerals in watercress, including phytonutrients like isothiocyanates, antioxidants, vitamin A, K, and C, manganese, and calcium. Flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are also abundant in watercress.
Red bell peppers add a light sweetness to your chicken soup, so make sure to choose those that are firm, deeply colored, and glossy.2 However, since bell peppers are included in the “Dirty Dozen” list of the EWG’s 2015 Guide to Pesticide in Produce,3 make sure you only buy organic ones from a trustworthy source.
Bell peppers provide you with vitamin C and K, as well as thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and copper. The three different varieties – green, yellow, and red – actually have their own unique nutrients, although they all have good amounts of ascorbic acid, phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and free radical scavenging activity. Red peppers, however, are found to have most ascorbic acid and a higher level of free radical scavenging activity than the other varieties.
Why Is Asian Chicken and Chilies Soup Good for You?
Chicken soup offers potential benefits for your health as it helps your body ward off infection and alleviate inflammation. Meanwhile, the steam helps ease your congestion. A study even found that chicken soup can help stop the migration of the cells, which may prevent cold symptoms from developing. This is all thanks to the wonderful ingredients used in this flavorful yet soothing dish.
Chicken is loved by many because of its versatility, but aside from that, it’s also one of the most healthful meats you can add to your diet. It’s a great source of protein, selenium, choline, phosphorus, and all B vitamins. According to the George Mateljan Foundation:
“It is a food that actually provides broad nutrient support… Included… are plentiful amounts of sulfur-containing amino acids like cysteine and methionine, as well as branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that are important for support of cardiac and skeletal muscle.
Cysteine, a natural amino acid, can actually thin the mucus in your lungs, so that you can expel it more easily.
Due to the wide variety of nutrients it provides, such as magnesium, calcium, glucosamine, chondroitin, and arginine, I consider bone broth one of the most healing foods that should be in every person’s nutritional plan. In fact, like fermented foods, it used to be a dietary staple – sadly, many people are now opting for processed foods instead of these dietary treasures, leading them onto the path to poor health.
I recommend you to make good old-fashioned bone broth a mainstay in your diet. Not only is it a cost-effective food with a wide array of uses (you can even simply sip it on its own!), but it also offers a wide range of benefits, such as:
- Helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion: Bone broth contains a gelatin known as a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids like digestive juices, thereby ensuring proper digestion.
- Protects against inflammation: It has amino acids like glycine, proline, and arginine that have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Inhibits infection caused by colds and flu viruses.
- Alleviates painful and inflamed joints: The boiled down cartilage produces glucosamine, chondroitin sulphates, and other beneficial compounds for joint health.
- Promotes strong, healthy bones due to its high calcium and magnesium content, as well as other nutrients that help in bone formation.
- Promotes healthy hair and nail growth.
Sources and References
Tags: Crock Pot or Slow Cooker, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, High-Protein, Poultry, Soups