Chicken Soup for the Cold

Me: Chicken soup is supposed to be good for a cold.
DH: You mean it’s good for the soul?
Me: Haven’t you heard? Chicken soup is touted as a home remedy for cold and flu.

I hadn’t really dug into the legitimacy of the chicken soup remedy but I figured it was time to dig a little deeper. As it turns out, there really are some good reasons why we should take chicken soup when we’ve got a cold.

Here’s what a bowl of chicken soup does for your cold:

  • Clears congested sinuses –
    • hot fluids dilate the blood vessels, increase blood flow, and allow the mucous to flush out and relieve the congestion.
    • improves the function of the cilia (tiny hairs in our noses) that trap and clear out contagions.
    • chicken contains carnosine which reduces inflammation in the upper respiratory tract by stopping the migration of white blood cells.
  • Helps fight the cold by providing hydration – chicken soup contain salt and water which are great for hydration.

Science has begun to support what mothers have understood for centuries. The heat, salt, and hydration provided by chicken soup may actually fight the cold virus (NIH, 2012). Laboratory studies have shown that ingredients of a chicken soup with vegetables could kill viral cells and prevent the growth of new ones (Rennard, et al., 2000). The soup may also provide an anti-inflammatory effect in the upper respiratory tract that helps soothe symptoms (Rennard, et al., 2000). Unfortunately, the benefits of chicken soup appear to be limited by how quickly the soup leaves the body (Babizhayev, et al., 2012). – Healthline

Sources:

What are the Key Ingredients that Provide its Wholesome Benefits?

According to BBC Good Food, you need to include these ingredients:

  • Onions, garlic and vegetables for phytonutrients
  • Chicken bones which contain gelatine, glucosamine and chondroitin in the joint tissues.

Chicken Soup Recipes

So what chicken soup for the cold recipes can you keep up your sleeves? The “ABC Soup”  recipe which contains chicken, onions, carrots, tomatoes and celery which sounds like it fits the bill pretty well. If you want to up the ante, you could add some ginger. Although there is currently insufficient evidence to support these claims, ginger has a long history of being associated as a natural remedy for coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion, tummy upset, and headaches (which are all symptoms you might experience with a cold).

There are also more chicken soup recipes that you can find from Home Remedies for Life. If you’re not up for making your own chicken soup, not to worry, Dr. Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, found that even canned chicken soups work, too.

The Benefits of Honey from Thailand

The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. Mandal and Mandal, 2011.

Honey is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and touted to be one of nature’s best, all-round remedies. While some of these claims have tested out in the laboratory, there are still many questions regarding its real-world benefits. About the only two indications of honey that have demonstrated clinical efficacy is its use for wound dressing and, to a lesser extent, coughs.

Honey for Wound Healing

Fifty-nine patients with wounds and ulcers most of which (80 per cent) had failed to heal with conventional treatment were treated with unprocessed honey. Fifty-eight cases showed remarkable improvement following topical application of honey. – Effen, 1998.

There have been many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey products in wound healing. In laboratory studies, Manuka honey has been shown to provide antibacterial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi, including S. aureus, P. aeruginosa MRSA, and VRE. Sood et al., 2014.

Honey for Coughs

In a study by Cohen et al., 2012, children who received two teaspoons of honey, 30 minutes before bed, coughed less frequently during the night.

Manuka Honey Trumps All

Probably the most important factor to be aware of is that not all honey is made equal. Some honeys provide greater benefits than others. According to Professor Molan (Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato) honey made from the flowers of the manuka bush, a native of New Zealand, has antibacterial properties over and above those of other honeys (BBC News).

“In all honeys, there is – to different levels – hydrogen peroxide produced from an enzyme that bees add to the nectar. In manuka honey, and its close relative which grows in Australia called jellybush, there’s something else besides the hydrogen peroxide. And there’s nothing like that ever been found anywhere else in the world.” – Professor Molan

The extra something that Manuka honey contains has been designated UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). Not all manuka honey contains this special property, therefore it is important to look for the name UMF.

“Staphylococcus aureas is the most common wound-infecting species of bacteria, and that’s the most sensitive to honey that we’ve found. And that includes the antibiotic resistant strains – the MRSA – which is just as sensitive to honey as any other staphylococcus aureas.” – Professor Molan

See also: Honey – its medicinal property and antibacterial activity

Thai Honey

We were in Chiangmai recently where we visited the Thepprasit Honey Shop and I noticed their literature on the health benefits of their honey (included below). I’m not exactly sure where they got their information from (I couldn’t verify the sources online) but I thought I’d record them down for future reference. We usually add honey as a natural sweetener for our smoothies, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try out some Thai honey. If these benefits really are true, all the better for us.

Thepprasit Mature Honey

Collected from scaled honey comb, it is unprocessed and has not been modified for colour, moisture or taste. It has a fragrant taste from local flora in the Golden triangle mountains of Thailand.

Honey from thailand

  • Benefits: Relieves sore throat, chronic cough, mouth or stomach ulcers, external ulcers, insomnia.
  • Usage: Mix with warm or cool water to drink, take alone, or apply to affected area.
  • Storage: 3 years in room temperature; no refrigeration required.

Multiflora Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is flower pollen that bees collect for food. Because bee pollen is the reproductive spore o the plant, it is incredibly dense with plant nutrients. The phytonutrients found in bee pollen include bioactive compounds like enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytosterols, and carotenoids. Bee pollen also contains free amino acids, fatty acids with a good proportion of Omega 3’s, naturally chelated minerals, and whole vitamin complexes.

Benefits:

  • Dietary balance – correct deficient or unbalance nutrition, vitamin supplement, enhance muscle and skin well being.
  • Regulating intestine / constipation.
  • Menstrual problem
  • Prostate problems, reduce frequency of night time urination.
  • Sinus
  • Incretion disorder symptoms, e.g. hair loss

Usage: Take one tablespoonful (10 grams). Dissolve in hot or warm water, or mix with honey. For relief of sinus, inhale the steam before drinking.

Warning:

  • Begin with a small dose and work up to larger quantities.
  • Should not be consumed by persons allergic to bee pollen.

Storage: Store in a dry and cool place; avoid sunlight.

Fresh Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is produced by Worker bees as food for the Queen bee. The royal jelly diet allows the Queen bee to live more than 30 times longer than a normal bee and lay up to 2000 eggs a day. Royal jelly is a highly concentrated healthy food substance containing vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12, C, Biotin, Inositol and Folic Acid), minerals (Nickel, Chromium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, iron, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium, and many trace minerals), and 30 amino acids.

Benefits:

  • Strengthen immunity, stamina, and well-being.
  • Boost metabolism, recovery from illness, faster healing.
  • Enhance growth and development of children.
  • Promote fertility.
  • Anti-aging – increases mental alertness, memory, enhances skin tone, relieves post-menopausal symptoms.
  • Balances blood pressure and lowers cholesterol level.
  • Diabetes: controls blood sugar levels.

Usage:

  • Adults – 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time.
  • Children – 1/3 teaspoon at a time.
  • Take one to two times daily.
  • For Facial Mask: Apply on face and rinse off about 20 minutes later. It will help to moisturise and protect against wrinkles. Patch test for allergies before use.

Warning:

  • Royal jelly has a slightly sour, sweet, and spicy taste.
  • Begin with a small dose and work up to larger quantities.
  • Individuals with asthma or allergies should consult their doctor’s opinion before consumption.

Storage:

  • Freezer – 2 years
  • Chiller – 2 months
  • Polyfoam – 2 weeks.
  • When mixed in 1:10 ratio of royal jelly to honey, it can be stored for about 1 year at room temperature.

Propolis

Propolis is a resin collected from plants and trees. It is used by the colony to coat the area within the hive, creating a sterile environment. It contains tree resin, essential oils, waxes and bioflavanoids. The antioxidant properties of bioflavanoids help to maintain a healthy immune system and can be used for both consumption or external treatments.

Benefits:

Propolis has antibiotic properties which may be effective for:

  • Ulcers, eczema skin fungus, acne.
  • Stomach and intestine disorders.
  • Fever, cold and throat infection.
  • High cholesterol.

Storage: 3 years in cool and dry conditions.

Organic Snakeroot Honey

Thai Snakeroot is a tropical white herb grown in the mountains. It produces a light coloured honey that gradually becomes deeper in colour. It is used by the Thai people as a herbal honey for:

  • gastric and smooth muscle contractions
  • promote appetite and tone digestive organs
  • promote arterial action, diaphoresis, and diuresis

Organic Mikania Honey

Honey from thailand

Mikania cordata (Thai: kee-gai-yang) is a wild herb that is found in the secondary jungles and wastelands of Thailand. It has a light amber colour and flavour. The Mikania plant is believed to have the following herbal benefits:

  • antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • good for nasopharyngeal infections
  • used as an antidote to treat venomous stings and bites.

Refreshing Oat Smoothies

I have always loved oats ever since I was a child. Unfortunately, getting my boys to love it has not been quite as straightforward so I’ve had to look for sneaky ways to incorporate them into their diets.

One of the easiest breakfasts to start the day with is a smoothie – it’s quick and easy to make and highly nutritious when you add the right ingredients. Adding oats as an ingredients helps to make smoothies go the extra mile because of its high satiety index that keeps us feeling full for longer.

Health Benefits of Oats:

  • may reduce asthma risk in children
  • may add extra nutritional value to gluten-free diets
  • increases appetite-control hormones
  • beta glucans contained in oats improves the immune system’s defenses
  • natural laxative – helps keep the bowel movements regular
  • may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • may improve insulin sensitivity
  • lower bad cholesterol
  • helps control blood pressure
  • has a high satiety index – keeps us feeling full for longer

Recently, Quaker sent me some interesting oat smoothie recipes and I’ve decided to give them a go. Here they are if you would like to try them, too…

Orange Oat Smoothie

Oranges are rich in vitamin C and super refreshing. Your body will thank you when you stay healthy, energetic and refreshed with a boost of fiber, vitamin B1, Iron and magnesium from oats.

Orange Oat Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of freshly squeezed or 100% orange juice
  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind to a powder
  • ½ cup crushed ice cubes

Method:

  • Add orange juice, oats and ice cubes into a blender, blend well, and serve.

Peanut Butter Oat Smoothie

Looking for something filling, nutritious and delicious? Toss in peanut butter for a protein and fiber boost; and an extra nutty taste and flavor.

Peanut Butter Oat

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind to a powder
  • 2 large bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup low- or non-fat milk, chilled

Method:

  • Add oats, bananas, peanut butter and milk into a blender, blend well and serve.

Mango Oat Smoothie

Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They taste great and are easily available at your nearest supermarket.

Mango Oat

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind into a powder
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup low- or non-fat milk, chilled
  • 1 tsp sugar or low-calorie sweetener
  • ½ cup ice cubes

Method:

  • Add oats, mango, milk, sugar or sweetener and ice cubes into a blender, blend well and serve

Chocolate Oat Smoothie

Need some pampering? Do it the healthy way – add chocolate, bananas, oats and yogurt into your smoothie. Not only will you satisfy a chocolate craving, but you’ll nourish your body and stay full for longer too.

Choco Oat

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 cup low fat unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 1 small banana, peeled and sliced
  • ½ tsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup ice cubes
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method:

  • Add oats, yogurt, banana, cocoa powder, ice cubes and sugar into a blender, blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Banana Oat Smoothie

Besides being a good source of potassium, bananas are a good source of fiber. With fiber rich oats and a double fiber benefit, you’ll not only feel full, but fiber is also good for your digestive system.

Banana Oat

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsps Quaker Instant/ Quick Cooking Oats, grind into a powder
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsps sugar or low-calorie sweetener
  • 2 cups low- or non-fat milk, chilled

Method:

  • Add oats, bananas, vanilla essence, sugar or sweetener and milk into a blender, blend well and serve.

About Quaker

The Quaker Oats Company, headquartered in Chicago, is a unit of PepsiCo, Inc., one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies. For more than 135 years, Quaker’s brands have served as symbols of quality, great taste and nutrition. Holding leadership positions in their respective categories, Quaker® Oats, Quaker® Rice Cakes and Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars are consumer favorites. For more information, please visit www.QuakerOats.comwww.Facebook.com/Quaker or follow them on Twitter @Quaker.

Morlife – More Super Food Powders!

I was at Village Grocer when I stumbled upon these:

Superfoods

It’s a new range of organic super food powders from Morlife… As much as I love Supersprout, it hasn’t always been convenient for me to get my hands on them so this was a lucky find. We’re always on the lookout for boosters to give the boys that little bit extra in nutrition and freeze dried powders make a good compromise when you can’t get the fresh food item. It’s also an easy way to pack a little more punch to the meals we’re eating.

Camu Camu Powder

This fruit is native to the Amazon and has a mild citrus flavour. It is a great source of vitamin C as well as other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:

  • A teaspoon of camu camu powder has 1180 per cent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin C.
  • Valine – an essential amino acid that prevents muscle breakdown and is important for nervous system and cognitive function.
  • Leucine – an essential amino acid for muscle and bone tissue growth and recovery and the production of growth hormones.
  • Serine – an essential amino acid required for digestion.
  • Flavanoids – antioxidants that neutralise free radicals.
  • Potassium – required for proper heart and kidneys functioning.
  • Gallic acid – antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-fungal properties.
  • Ellagic acid – antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes.

Kale Powder

The comparison between kale and spinach is a pretty close fight so it probably won’t make too much of a difference whether you’re adding kale, spinach, wheatgrass or barley grass to boost your meal. For academic purposes, kale is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. It is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Kale also contains the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Acai Powder

As one of the superfoods, there are many health benefits claims surrounding acai. Unfortunately, some of these claims have not been researched sufficiently. Here’s what we do know:

  • Acai is 10 times richer in antioxidants compared to grapes and twice the antioxidants compared to blueberries. Antioxidants are great for neutralising free radicals. The antioxidants in acai are anthrocyanins which are noted for being beneficial for cardiovascular health.
  • Acai is naturally high in essential fatty acids having a fatty acid profile similar to olive oil. Essential fatty acids are also good for heart health and a healthy nervous system.
  • Acai berries contain amino acids which help promote muscle performance, energy production, endurance and strength.
  • Acai berries contain as much Vitamin C as blueberries and is also a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E. It is also a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

Lucuma Powder

We’ve written about lucuma powder here.

The Secret to Children and Vegetables

If you’re feeling frustrated and discouraged by your child’s refusal to eat his greens, I thought this article might prove enlightening – specifically, the part where they tell us:

Infants have around 30,000 taste buds spread throughout their mouths. By the time we hit adulthood, only about a third of these remain, mostly on our tongues. So eating is an intense experience for the very young. No wonder nursery food is traditionally bland.

Children don’t tend to lose their extremely sweet teeth until puberty. The reason they often don’t eat their greens could be that the bitter notes in them are amplified by so many taste buds. And as we keep pairing flavours with experiences and forming prejudices, by the time children’s palates are more accepting of vegetable flavours they are negatively associated with parental nagging – an altogether different mood to that of the fun occasions when sweet treats are bestowed.

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Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, so that doesn’t really answer the problem of getting kids to eat their veggies – aside from hiding them in their food. What can we do about it? Apparently, the key to getting kids to eat their veggies lies in what you serve your veggies with. Most of the time, the other food alongside our veggies are stiff competition because they’re too tasty. If you serve your veggies along with other less tasty food, it will increase the likelihood of the veggies being eaten. The best thing to do, however, is to serve the veggies on their own before serving anything else.

Many years ago when I was vegetarian, I noticed this. Vegetables started to taste better because I was no longer eating meat. When I started eating meat again, the vegetables lost their appeal. So perhaps that’s what we need to do – veggie starters.

For more tips on picky and fussy eaters, you can also check out the tips and healthy meal ideas from My Parenting Journal.