The Perfect Bite: The best chicken noodle soup for fighting a cold

The Perfect Bite

With cold and flu season approaching fast, today on The Perfect Bite, host Andrea Jenna and nutritionist Jane Durst Pulkys of Creative Health test five store-bought chicken noodle soups to see which one packs the healthiest and tastiest punch when it comes to fighting cold and flu.

The soups tasted:

Knorr Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup

Campbell's Ready to Enjoy Chicken Noodle Soup

President's Choice Blue Label Chicken Noodle Soup

No Name Chicken noodle

Amy's No Chicken Noodle Soup

The healing power of chicken soup is no old wise tale.

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A recent study published in the journal Chest has found the soup significantly reduces white blood cell count (white blood cells cause the respiratory problems that come with the common cold). Researchers at the Nebraska Medical Centre also found that store-bought versions worked as well as, or better, than the homemade variety.

Each of the five contenders in the Yahoo! Canada kitchen offer something a little different, but the winner in terms of health is Campbell's Ready to Enjoy Chicken Noodle Soup.

According to Jane, Campbell's is the most nutritious of the lot — and the best bet for fighting cold and flu.

It contains big pieces of chicken. When chicken is cooked, an amino acid called cystiene is released that helps relieve cold symptoms like mucus in the lungs. Another healthy ingredient is carrots, which contain the natural antioxidant beta carotine. Last but not least, the celery in the soup is loaded with vitamin C, which everyone knows is important when you have a cold.

It also happens to be Jane's favourite, thanks to the texture, flavour and smell, and the fact that it's loaded with vegetables.

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The Knorr Lipton Noodle Soup, a dehydrated option, reminds Andrea of staying home sick from work.

President's Choice Blue Label has fewer vegetables than Campbell's, and No Name Chicken Noodle Soup tastes close enough to "real homemade soup" for Andrea to pick it as her favourite.

And the vegetarian chickenless chicken soup from Amy's? It tastes more like tomato soup as far as Andrea is concerned.

It is important to consider the hidden health no-nos in even the most innocuous tin of soup.

Make sure you watch the salt levels: the average person should consume about 1500mg of sodium per day, and each of the five soups tested contained 600 to 800mg in a single serving, so look for low-sodium versions.

It's also a good idea to avoid food additives like monosodium glutomate, better known as MSG, so take a look at the ingredients before you buy.

Now get slurping and get well, and look for another episode of The Perfect Bite next week.