By Kara Lawhorn
Before describing exactly how chicken noodle soup can improve your mood, take a moment to think how the weather has fluctuated rather frequently over the last few weeks and how it made you feel. One moment the sun is out and shining, the next, ANOTHER snow storm, yuck! Winter has seemed to last an eternity this year and it can be difficult to boost any level of positivity when the weather turns for the worst. However, there is hope! The good news is we are all aware of seasonal change here in Minnesota and while some winters are less harsh, we are always prepared for them. Let’s look at how exactly chicken noodle soup can improve our moods.
Creamy Chicken Soup Recipe
½ cup of butter 1 TSP sugar
7 large ribs/stalks of celery- washed and finely chopped 2 TSP onion powder
5 large carrots- washed and finely chopped 1 Bay Leaf
1 TBLS of minced garlic OR 1 large garlic clove- minced
2/3 cup flour 2 TSP Garlic powder
2 TSP dried basil leaves 2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 small-to-medium onion chopped 2 TSP salt
3 cups chicken broth 2/8 TSP pepper
1 cup whole milk 2 TSP thyme
2-3 large chicken breasts OR 1.5 LB chicken tenderloins (boneless/skinless)
*Place all ingredients in crock pot and leave in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, set the crockpot on low for 8 hours.
You may be asking yourself why you are looking at a recipe for chicken soup. As the weather continues to change and there may be further snow storms or rain, it is easy for many of us to stay hunkered down indoors versus being outside where currently the temperatures are ranging from 20 to 45 degrees. While staying indoors is not bad for your health, not doing things to ignite your serotonin can be a challenge to it. The serotonin hormone is typically linked with our moods. Although, scientists can not exactly pinpoint if we can become depressed because of low serotonin levels or our serotonin levels are low because we are depressed, the link still exists.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which is a fancy word for messenger. Neurotransmitters send hormone chemicals through our blood stream and nervous system, which is like sending messages to other parts of our body. It can impact our sleeping, eating, and digestive patterns. Some of the best ways to ensure a healthy level of serotonin are: light therapy, exercise, diet, and supplements. Diet according to merriam-webster are food and drink that are consumed. Included in our diets is tryptophan, tryptophan is an amino acid used for production and maintenance of neurotransmitters, or serotonin. High levels of tryptophan are natural boosters for serotonin. tryptophan can be found in high protein foods such as, you guessed it, chicken.
Other links to physical wellness that chicken soup has, include immunity boosts, length of duration, hydrating, taste bud enhancement, and congestion relief. Research supports that the vitamins found in chicken soup help support the immune system and decrease the duration of an illness. The broth from chicken soup is soothing as well as hydrating. Sore throats can be a common symptom of illnesses, and warm broth can help soothe the discomfort of a sore throat. The seasonings can help boost taste buds. Spices, in moderation, can help enhance taste buds that are dull from not feeling well. The steam from the soup can help with congestion. A stuffy nose can be pretty miserable, but the good news is that steam can help loosen mucus to make breathing easier.
While the weather can be discouraging, frustrating, and potentially gives us colds the good news is spring is here and the flowers and warmer temperatures are just around the corner. On the days that are just a little too dreary, make some chicken soup to boost your serotonin, or feel-good hormones. Take advantage of those sunny days and go for a walk, you are likely to hear the birds as they are out and ready for spring as much as everyone else is.