By Nadeem Badshah
FOR those battling a cold or a flu this winter, sipping a bowl of daal or Indian soup could be the answer.
A study has found that traditional broths – including chicken soup – may be able to combat malaria.
More than 60 homemade broths brought in by an ethnically diverse group of children from a London primary school were found to interrupt the life cycle of the most deadly malarial parasites.
A range of soups, ranging from vegetable to beef and chicken, were found in November to interrupt the life cycle of Plasmodium falciparum, which causes 99 per cent of deaths from malaria and is transmitted through infected mosquitoes.
Bahee Van de Bor, who runs the website www.ukkidsnutrition.com, said traditional Indian broths are ideal for the sniffles alongside healthy foods.
The paediatric dietitian told Eastern Eye: “Although the evidence around the benefits of Indian broths to treat colds is still growing, there is no harm in using these alongside a nutritious diet.
“It may help alleviate symptoms like the sore throats or blocked noses without the need to buy over-the-counter medications.
“You don’t need to start having supplements, however, do make sure that you are regularly eating vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables such as berries, capsicum, broccoli, potato and tomatoes daily.
“Foods that are rich in zinc include meat, chicken, fish and seafood, which can easily be incorporated into homemade soups and broths. If you follow a vegetarian diet, use plant proteins such as beans, peas, soybean, chickpeas and lentils to form the basis of the soup or broth.”
A red cabbage soup was among those to show success, demonstrating that chicken was not the only broth which appeared to have medical properties, the research from Imperial College London and Great Ormond Street hospital found.
The active ingredients in the broths studied are yet to be identified and tested in clinical trials, researchers said.
Dietician Priya Tew highlighted the benefits of bone broth, a liquid containing brewed cow, chicken or fish bones.
She told Eastern Eye: “Bone broth is delicious and has been used for centuries for coughs and colds.
“It is not possible from this study to tell if it will help you when you are unwell but there is a possibility it could. While the possible benefits on malaria are exciting, this is early days and certainly not something to be using instead of an anti-malaria drug right now. More research is needed.”
Naseem Qureshi, a chef at restaurant Chokhi Dhani in Battersea, London, said that he recommended a “warming and flavourful broth rich in flavours and ingredients that will help deal with the cold weather and winter.”
He added: “The tamatar ka shorba is an Indian-style tomato soup having a thin consistency and rich in flavour with Indian spices, guaranteed to awaken the senses.”