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Chicken Soup: Just What the Doctor Ordered to Improve Hydration When You Have a Cold


CAMDEN, N.J. -- December 16, 2004 -- In a flu season marked by vaccine shortages, cold sufferers may need to consider other ways to manage the miseries of cold and flu symptoms. For years, moms have offered chicken soup as a way to comfort a cold -- its warm broth soothing irritated throats and stuffy noses. Physicians agree. In a survey of 3,500 family physicians who are members of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), 87 percent agreed that it is important for people to increase fluid intake when they have a cold. Two out of three doctors who recommend increasing fluids agree that eating commercially prepared soup, such as Campbell’s(R) Chicken Noodle Soup, is an effective way to improve hydration when experiencing cold symptoms.

The survey, which focused on physicians’ opinions about management of cold/flu symptoms, also found that Chicken soup was second only to water as the fluid most frequently mentioned by doctors as a good way to improve hydration during a cold.

Peter Meacher, MD, FAAFP, AAHIVS, a family physician at The South Bronx Health Center for Children and Families, a program of The Children’s Health Fund and Montefiore Medical Center in New York, and a member of the AAFP Foundation’s Nutrition Spokesperson Team, offers several tips for people who find themselves under the weather this flu season. “To improve hydration when you are sick, soup has some benefits over other beverages. It can replace meals if you’ve lost your appetite, the steam from the soup can soothe the nasal passages and your throat, and it has a nurturing quality.” Other recommendations from Dr. Meacher include getting plenty of rest, taking a pain reliever to reduce any fever, and taking a decongestant.

Eating well is essential when you are sick, according to Basma Faris, MS, RD, a registered dietitian who works with Dr. Meacher at The South Bronx Health Center for Children and Families, and as part of the AAFP Foundation’s Nutrition Spokesperson Team. Faris suggests making every calorie count by seeking out fruits, vegetables and also soup. “Soup offers multiple food groups in one dish. It helps you feel good and contains nutrition, vitamins, minerals, lean protein, fluids and calories.”

Chicken soup was first shown to have potential anti-inflammatory effects in laboratory studies published in the medical journal CHEST. The research, conducted by Stephen Rennard, M.D. and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska, concluded that chicken soup may contain a number of substances which function as an anti-inflammatory mechanism that potentially could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

About The Children’s Health Fund

The South Bronx Health Center for Children and Families is one of the flagship programs of The Children’s Health Fund (CHF). CHF is a non-profit organization committed to providing health care to the nation’s most medically underserved children through the development and support of innovative primary care medical programs and the promotion of guaranteed access to appropriate health care for all children. Visit the CHF web site at

About Campbell’s Center for Nutrition & Wellness

Campbell’s Center for Nutrition & Wellness (CCNW) is a global, cross-functional initiative comprised of professionals in research, dietetics, food and agricultural science, technology, culinary arts and communications. Advised by world-class scientific researchers renowned in their fields of study, the Center serves as a nutrition communications resource for outreach to consumers, retailers, the health professional community and the media. The mission of the Center is to provide reliable, science-based information about nutrition and wellness and the role of Campbell brands in healthful lifestyles. Visit for more information on the Center. Campbell’s Center for Nutrition & Wellness: Taste and Live the Best of Life.(TM)

About Family Physicians

Family physicians, like other medical specialists, complete an extensive three-year residency program in the specialty after graduating from medical school. As part of their residency, family physicians receive training in six major medical areas: pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology, surgery and community medicine. They also receive instruction in many areas including geriatrics, emergency medicine, ophthalmology, radiology, nutrition, orthopedics, otolaryngology and urology. As a result, family physicians are the only specialists qualified to treat most ailments, and to provide comprehensive health care for people of all ages. Most family physicians are members of the AAFP. For AAFP tips on treating symptoms of cold and flu, visit their family health information web site:

About the Physician Survey

Synovate, a national marketing research organization, developed the physician survey for Campbell Soup Company. The survey was mailed to a randomly selected sample size of 20,000 practicing family physicians in 2002. The mail survey received significant response, with nearly 3,500 physicians completing the survey - a response rate of 17.5 percent. The margin of error for this data is +/-2%.

About Campbell Soup Company

Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high quality soup, sauce, beverage, biscuit, confectionery and prepared food products. The company is 135 years old, with nearly $7 billion in annual sales and a portfolio of more than 20 market-leading brands. For more information on the company, visit Campbell’s website on the Internet at


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