Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup Revisited

Since Brett includes more ingredients in her chicken soup than I do, I want to tell you about the healing properties of these foods, too!

Green Beans
Green beans are high in fiber and protein and contain Vitamins A, C, and folic acid. They are also high in potassium and low in sodium and so are good for lowering blood pressure. Remember, Vitamins A & C are antioxidants which help the immune system.

Corn is a good source of protein and fiber as well. They have some antioxidant Vitamins A & E and small amounts of B Vitamins.

Peas are best eaten picked fresh from your garden but frozen is the next best thing! Sugars convert to starch very quickly after picking and levels of Vitamin C rapidly decrease as well. In addition to Vitamin C, peas have decent levels of Vitamin A, thiamin (B1), and folic acid. They also are high in fiber and are a good source of protein. Snow peas and other peas you eat in the pod have higher levels of Vitamins C & A. One word of caution: peas are high in phytate which can decrease the bioavailability of iron, calcium, and zinc so make sure they aren't the only green veggie you eat!

Bell Peppers
Bell peppers, especially red bell peppers, are high in carotenoids and beta carotene as well as Vitamin C. A 3 and a half ounce serving contains 120-140 mg Vitamin C and 100% of the RDA for Vitamin A.

Lemons are high in Vitamin C and bioflavonoids and stimulate white blood cell activity to boost immunity. Lemon juice is highly protective of the mucous membranes of the gut (and 70% of our immune systems are in our gut!). Lemon juice is antibacterial and, mixed with equal parts hot water, makes an excellent gargle and mouthwash. It also works topically on acne lesions and, because it is also anti-viral, works great on cold sores and shingles (as long as the skin isn't broken--that will sting!!). As a remedy for colds and coughs, combine hot lemon with 1 tsp of honey and take at bedtime.

Nothing gets the sinuses clear quite as quickly and effectively as chilies! Capsaicin found in chilies is similar in action to guaiafenesin (the active ingredient in Mucinex and Robitussin) acting as decongestant and an expectorant to thin mucus. Chilies are also high in Vitamin C and beta carotene. Cooking chilies destroys Vitamin C but capsaicin remains active. So, try adding 10 drops of chili sauce to your chicken noodle soup! You can also add it to warm water to use as a gargle for sore throats, nasal congestion and sinusitis. Tip: store your chili powder in the freezer to preserve the beta carotene which quickly breaks down at room temperature!

Ginger is a warming herb traditionally used to treat nausea (motion sickness and morning sickness). In addition to boosting immunity, it also helps with migraines, digestive complaints, arthritis, blood clots, heart disease. Fresh ginger, grated fine is the best but crystallized ginger works also. For upset stomach and colds, make hot ginger tea by grating ginger into hot water with lemon and 1 tsp of honey.

Parsley is "nature's breath freshener"--it breaks down sulfur compounds (so eat all the garlic and onions you like and start eating your parsley garnish!). Parsley is high in Vitamins A & C, folic acid, iron, calcium and potassium. It is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic. In fact, it is very useful in detox and for urinary tract infections and premenstrual bloating. A half cup of parsley contains 40 mg of Vitamin C (more than in half an orange). Fresh is definitely best--keep it fresh by washing it right when you get it home and store in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel either upright in a glass of water or in a sealed bag.

You will note that Chef Brett neglected to include mushrooms as a possible addition to her recipe--this is because Chef Brett really doesn't like mushrooms! I, on the other hand, do--plus they are great for the immune system so I'm including them here! Mushrooms contain easily absorbed, high-quality protein. They also contain a decent amount of Vitamin B12--which helps with fatigue and low mood--as well as Vitamin E. They have been used extensively in Chinese medicine to boost immunity.

No comments:

Post a Comment