TikTok has been the birthplace of a lot of food trends over the last year, from protein-packed cottage cheese ice cream to the infamous girl dinner, which could be anything from a curated charcuterie plate to a random smorgasbord of leftovers pulled from the fridge. One of the latest creations to go viral is swamp soup, which looks like the algae-green sludge you’d find wading through a marsh.
Despite its unappetizing name—and its just as unappetizing appearance—it’s been touted by wellness influencers for its immune-boosting properties.
What is swamp soup?
The original swamp soup can be traced back to this blog. It starts with a base of homemade chicken bone broth thickened with rice. Then, a vegetable puree is made by blending up spinach, parsley, jalapenos, garlic, and ginger and stirring it into the broth. The final steps include folding in pulled chicken and adding a drizzle of soy sauce for taste.
In the original video, the author says the soup is so delicious, she never gets sick of it (pun intended). But does it actually work? We spoke to Daisy Mercer, RD to get her take on the “flu shot in a bowl” trend that’s all over social media right now.
The real health benefits of swamp soup
According to Daisy, swamp soup may have some health benefits, but it’s most likely not the cure-all that TikTokers claim it to be.
“It is hard to say if it would prevent you from getting sick but it may help boost your immune system which can help you fight stuff off better,” she says.
It’s all about what goes into the soup. Many of the ingredients promote general wellness and can improve immunity, Daisy explains. For example:
- Spinach: Gives you a healthy serving of fiber, along with iron and vitamins A and C
- Fiber: Helps with digestion—and having a healthy gut actually helps strengthen your immune system
- Vitamin C: Aids your body in fighting off sickness by enhancing your white blood cells
- Chicken and bone broth: Add protein and collagen, both of which are crucial for a strong immune system (The antibodies that your body uses to ward off infections are primarily made of protein, hence why you need it to stay healthy during flu season.)
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How to make swamp soup at home
While you could follow the OG recipe so many are obsessed with, you could also upgrade it with a few additions to make it even more effective at halting those sniffles and sneezes in their tracks.
Daisy recommends tossing in some anti-inflammatory seasonings for flavor and function. “Things like turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and garlic are known to help reduce inflammation which can lead to a less strained immune system,” she says.
She also suggests mixing in more whole vegetables—carrots or potatoes, perhaps—for fullness and satisfaction.
Regardless of how you make it, swamp soup could be worth trying if you’re prone to getting sick. Just don’t expect it to be as powerful as that flu shot you keep meaning to get.