Healthy Eating: Chicken Soup a Healthy Food for Pandas at China’s Wuhan Zoo

By Laura Brooks on 10/03/2008
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People have sworn by their grandmother’s chicken soup to fight off fall and winter colds, and some research* has actually studied the potential health benefits of the age-old folk remedy.

Now even Pandas are responding to a healthy dose of chicken soup! CNN reports that over-stressed pandas at the Wuhan Zoo in central China (due to the busy tourist season) are being fed "home-cooked chicken soup twice in a month to reduce stress and give them a nutritional boost."

"They had been getting less sleep, and they had to run around more," zoo keeper He Zhihua said, referring to two 3-year-old pandas named Xiwang and Weiwei ("Hope" and "Greatness"). "We felt it would be good to give them the soup because they were fatigued and had a bit of a shock."

Although pandas normally eat bamboo, they can also eat meat.  Zhihua said that pandas will sometimes eat insects and small birds in the wild. The zookeepers thought of giving this ‘prescription’ to their pandas because the Chinese have a long tradition of drinking slow-cooked chicken soup for their own health.

So how did the pandas like the soup? 

"They drank it all like they drank their milk. They loved it," reports Zhihua.

China’s week-long National Day holiday is one of the biggest travel seasons of the year. 

* Chicken soup contains several ingredients that affect the body’s immune system, a team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found in a research study conducted in 2000. The soup’s anti-inflammatory properties may explain why it soothes sore throats and eases the misery of colds and flu, according to Dr. Stephen Rennard and his research colleagues. (Source: CNN.com)

Read Healthy Eating on a Budget to learn how to stretch your food dollars in managing type 2 diabetes, healthy weight loss, polycystic ovarian syndrome, metabolic syndrome, or any of the myriad problems that healthy eating can address.

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