Chicken soup found to fend off fluAfter a season of holiday revelry, cold and flu season lurks around the corner ready to spoil all the fun. But a new study finds that chicken soup can cure what ails you, just like your mother told you.

Research published in the American Journal of Therapeutics finds that a compound in chicken soup called carnosine can help strengthen the body’s immune system to fight off flu in its early stages, according to the UK’s Daily Mail. But you’ll need to consume a steady supply throughout your illness for the effect to work, the authors claim.

The new study supports a well-documented 1993 study, published in the journal Chest, that found that chicken soup had a mild anti-inflammatory effect that reduced symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

In that study, researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, tested blood samples from volunteers that showed soup inhibited the movements of the white blood cell neutrophils, which defend against infection.

Still, the research group couldn’t identify the soup’s immunity-fighting ingredient, although they posit that a combination probably works best.

The test soup recipe contained chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems, parsley, salt, and pepper. But canned soups were also found to inhibit the movement of neutrophils in the research.

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