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DIVAS ON A DIME: Can chicken soup really boost your immunity?

Or is that a myth? All my childhood memories of being under the weather include a big bowl of culinary comfort because my mother made a vat of chicken soup the moment anyone started to sniffle. Yours too?

Turns out, the moms are on to something. Besides being soothing and easy on the tummy, chicken soup actually has legitimate healing properties. Let’s make soup!

In a perfect world, we have broth made from chicken bones. Bone broth contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity. It also has minerals like zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. When buying broth from the store, opt for low sodium, but know that all broth is beneficial. The warm liquid provides hydration while it helps to improve upper respiratory tract symptoms by stimulating nasal clearance.

Onion and garlic are excellent sources of antioxidants and have antibacterial properties that promote digestive health, which improves immune function.

Carrots, celery, peas and kale contain vitamins A, C and other antioxidants known to help build a strong immune system, fight off viruses and help the body recover from illness more quickly. Mushrooms contain B vitamins as well as an antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system.

In this recipe I’ve bumped up the anti-inflammatory factor by adding ginger, turmeric, black pepper and red pepper flakes, all regarded as having highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Don’t forget the chicken! Poultry is high in vitamin B-6, which is vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. And guess what? The chicken cooks in the soup, making this immunity boosting powerhouse meal easy for you!

This recipe is very forgiving. I don’t want you to think you must have every ingredient in this recipe to successfully make this soup. If you add a little more or less of any ingredient it’s fine. Please don’t brave the store just because you don’t have turmeric laying around! Work with what you have, and it’ll turn out great.

I used chicken leg quarters in this recipe because they’re very affordable and the dark meat stays succulently tender. But you could use any cut of chicken you have on hand, even a whole chicken.

IMMUNITY BOOSTING CHICKEN SOUP

What You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups onion, diced

4 medium carrots, sliced

3 celery stalks, chopped

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

6 to 10 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger)

8 cups (64 oz.) low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 pounds chicken leg quarters, skin removed

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Big pinch red pepper flakes

1 cup frozen peas

1 small bunch kale, stems removed, chopped

Here’s How:

Heat the oil in a large soup pot, set on MEDIUM heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms, garlic and ginger, and stir to combine. Ahhhh, the aroma! Add the chicken broth and turmeric and give it another stir. Place the chicken pieces into the soup and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to LOW and let simmer for 40 minutes. Now, fish out the chicken pieces and set aside to cool. Add the remaining ingredients. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and add it back to the soup. Reserve the bones to make bone broth!

Why is chicken soup so effective? Because its ingredients create an ideal combination to support your immune system. Thanks Mom!

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

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