Chicken soup and related recipes have been a go-to concoction for treating colds and other ailments for centuries. But does this home remedy really work, and if so, why? And should seniors take any precautions when cooking up and enjoying batches of chicken soup when they don't feel well? We've got the answers below.
Studies have shown that various types of chicken soup do have some positive impact on cold symptoms such as nasal congestion. Each ingredient in such soups actually brings some beneficial nutrition to the table.
On top of the nutritional content, chicken soup is a warm, liquid-based food. It can help soothe a throat that's sore from coughing or post nasal drip and make someone feel like they are attending to the overall needs of their body and mind. Plus, all that broth is decent hydration, and it's important to stay hydrated when you're dealing with a cold or other types of illnesses.
Even given the nutritional value and benefits of chicken soup when you have a cold, it's important to remember that moderation is the best bet when it comes to most foods. Here are a few reasons older adults should eat chicken soup — or any soup — in moderation.
Soups can be incredibly high in sodium, especially when they come out of a can or are made with prepackaged broths. One serving of traditional Campbell's chicken noodle soup contains 800mg of sodium or about a third of the recommended daily intake for healthy people. If you're on a heart-healthy diet with reduced sodium recommendations, one bowl of canned soup could knock out almost all of your sodium allowance for the day.
Eating a bowl of soup here and there with high salt content typically won't hurt. But when you're sick, you may turn to soup for multiple meals, substantially increasing your sodium intake. Older adults who overdo the soup when sick may put themselves at risk for cardiovascular events.
Some older adults might be dealing with daily liquid limitations. Someone with a heart condition might be under doctor's orders to keep liquid intake to just 48 ounces a day, for example.
Those limitations typically include liquids you eat with a spoon too, such as soup and ice cream. It's usually okay to have a small bowl of comforting soup in these cases, but avoid replacing all your liquids with soup. Broth may be hydrating, but it's not the same as water.
If you're concerned with pre-existing conditions or how much soup is too much, reach out to a medical provider and ask. Follow through on the advice they give about what's best for you to eat and drink when you're sick.
One of the benefits of choosing to make a home in an assisted living community such as The Gardens in Springfield is access to comprehensive wellness and lifestyle amenities. That includes nutritious meals in restaurant-style dining spaces, help with diet and nutrition, and assistance managing illnesses that range from the common cold to more chronic diseases. Check out The Gardens to find out more about how our staff helps ensure safe, enjoyable lifestyles for all residents.