While there is no actual cure for the common cold, there’s plenty you can do to ease your symptoms. Before you reach for that cold medicine, however, the best remedy might simply be soup—specifically, chicken noodle soup.

One dietitian explains exactly how chicken soup can help fight colds: “Studies have shown that a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup may help clear nasal congestion and ease cold symptoms,” said Sandy Allonen, a clinical dietitian at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “It’s all about the ingredients.”

Besides the obvious nutritional benefits of carrots, celery, and even onions and chicken, chicken noodle soup has some other healthy tricks up its sleeve. As Allonen explains, the warm broth can soothe a sore throat and provide hydration, the steam can help clear your nose, the salt can stimulate your tastebuds (encouraging you to eat more even when food tastes bland), and even the chicken can help.

“Chicken is high in tryptophan, which helps your body produce serotonin that can enhance your mood and give you the feeling of ‘comfort’ that helps make chicken noodle soup a true comfort food,” Allonen said. With all the bugs going around these days, it’s time to put the soup on.

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