Egg drop soup, also known as egg flower soup, is a popular Chinese soup made by dripping beaten eggs into hot broth to create wispy strands or flower-like patterns. It’s a simple, comforting soup that is nourishing and full of health benefits. Some of the key questions around what egg drop soup does for your body include:
Does it support immune health?
Yes, egg drop soup contains several nutrients and compounds that can boost immune health. The eggs provide vitamin A, zinc, selenium, and antioxidants that support immune cell function. The broth is also hydrating. Staying hydrated supports sinus health and promotes thinning of mucus secretions to help clear viruses and bacteria.
Is egg drop soup good for gut health?
Egg drop soup can be beneficial for gut health. The bone broth contains gelatin, amino acids like glycine and proline, and minerals that can help heal and seal the gut lining. This helps prevent leaky gut syndrome. The eggs also provide protein to nourish the tissues of the digestive tract.
Does it provide energy and keep you full?
Yes, egg drop soup is satisfying and provides sustained energy. The protein from the eggs, amino acids from the broth, and micronutrients like iron and B vitamins help regulate blood sugar levels. The combination of protein and fiber keeps you feeling fuller for longer than carbohydrate-based soups.
Can it help you sleep better?
The glycine in the bone broth has been shown to improve sleep quality. Glycine can lower core body temperature before bedtime, boost levels of the sleep-promoting neurotransmitter serotonin, and reduce inflammation that could interfere with sleep. The magnesium in the broth also helps relax muscles for restful sleep.
Here is the nutrition profile of egg drop soup in a one cup serving:
As you can see, egg drop soup provides a good amount of protein, important vitamins and minerals, while being low in carbohydrates and fiber. The nutritional value can vary based on the ingredients and broth used. But in general, the eggs bump up the protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, selenium, and zinc content significantly.
Benefits for the Immune System
Egg drop soup contains many nutrients that make it a nourishing food for immune health. Here are some of the ways it supports your immune system:
The egg yolks provide vitamin A, with one cup offering 260IU. Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system. It supports the production and function of white blood cells, including lymphocytes and phagocytes that help capture and clear bacteria and viruses from the body. Vitamin A also maintains the integrity of mucus membranes. This helps create a barrier that prevents pathogens from entering the body.
Zinc is needed for the development and activation of T-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that destroys infected cells. The eggs in egg drop soup provide 0.5mg of zinc per cup. Zinc deficiency impairs immune function, so getting enough of this mineral can help boost your resistance to illness.
Egg drop soup contains 14.1mcg of selenium per cup. Selenium helps boost production of killer T-cells and supports their cancer-fighting activities. It also enhances B-cell antibody response for stronger adaptive immunity. Selenium deficiency can make you more prone to viral infections.
In addition to vitamin A, egg yolks contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The bone broth provides the antioxidant amino acid cysteine. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals and inflammation. This helps support normal immune cell function.
Supports Gut Health
The ingredients in egg drop soup promote a healthy gut environment in various ways:
Repairs gut barrier
The gelatin in bone broth can help repair intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. It helps seal cell junctions in the epithelial layer of the gut lining. This prevents bacteria, undigested food particles, and metabolic wastes from escaping into the bloodstream and triggering inflammation.
Ingredients like ginger, turmeric, and omega-3s in egg drop soup have anti-inflammatory properties. This helps calm inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The broth also provides glutamine, an amino acid that heals inflamed gut tissue.
Many ingredients in the broth, including garlic, onions, carrots, and celery, act as prebiotics. This feeds healthy gut bacteria to support microbial balance. A stronger microbiome enhances immune function and metabolic health.
The gelatin, amino acids, and minerals in bone broth enhance digestion. Glycine improves stomach acid production needed to break down food. Glutamine also helps repair the gut lining and regenerate new cells for better nutrient absorption.
Provides Lasting Energy
Egg drop soup offers sustained energy because it has the right balance of macronutrients. Here’s how it promotes stable energy levels:
Protein provides satiety
There are 10 grams of protein in a cup of egg drop soup. Protein requires more time and energy to digest. So it prolongs the feeling of fullness and satisfaction after eating. This prevents energy crashes from sharp dips in blood sugar.
Low glycemic index
Unlike carb-heavy snacks and meals, egg drop soup does not spike blood sugar. Eggs have a very low glycemic index. The protein and fat also help slow the release of sugars from the few carbohydrates into the bloodstream for steady energy.
Egg drop soup contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that help regulate energy. Iron carries oxygen to cells for respiration. B vitamins help convert food into fuel. Magnesium and phosphorus support metabolism. Selenium boosts thyroid function for energy production.
The sodium in the broth helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. Proper hydration and electrolyte levels prevent fatigue. Drinking egg drop soup can rehydrate the body after exercise or illness.
Promotes Restful Sleep
Certain components of egg drop soup make it beneficial for sleep:
Glycine is an amino acid in collagen-rich bone broth. Consuming glycine has been shown to improve sleep quality by lowering core body temperature, increasing serotonin, and relaxing the nervous system. This helps you fall asleep faster and get more restorative sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in eggs that promotes sleep. It raises levels of serotonin and melatonin, hormones that induce calmness and control sleep-wake cycles. Having tryptophan from the eggs at dinner can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
The bone broth provides magnesium, a mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Magnesium deficiency is linked to insomnia and sleep disruptions. Getting magnesium helps relax muscles and calm neural activity for more tranquil sleep.
Eating a low carb, high protein meal like egg drop soup stabilizes blood sugar. This prevents energy crashes that can wake you up in the middle of the night. The protein and fat keep you feeling fuller longer so you don’t wake up hungry.
Downsides of Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup has many benefits, but there are a few potential downsides to consider:
Store-bought and restaurant versions often contain very high amounts of sodium from flavor enhancers, salt, and soy sauce. This can be unhealthy for those with high blood pressure or kidney disease. Making it at home allows you to control the sodium content.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to some versions for flavor. Some people may experience adverse reactions like headaches, sweating, and heart palpitations after consuming MSG. Check for MSG on ingredient lists if you have sensitivities.
The standard recipe is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans, since the key ingredient is egg and it is cooked in chicken broth. However, it’s possible to make vegetarian versions using plant-based broth and substituting the eggs with silken tofu.
Bacteria risk from raw eggs
There is a slight risk of salmonella food poisoning if the raw eggs are contaminated. Use pasteurized eggs to be safe. Elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems should avoid raw or undercooked eggs.
How to Make Egg Drop Soup
It’s easy to make basic egg drop soup at home. Here is a simple recipe:
– 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
– 1 tbsp sesame oil
– 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1 green onion, thinly sliced
– 1 tbsp soy sauce or fish sauce
– 1 tsp rice vinegar
– Black pepper and salt to taste
1. In a saucepan, combine broth, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium-low to keep the broth at a gentle simmer.
3. Pour in the beaten eggs in a slow, steady stream while stirring the broth constantly in one direction with a fork or chopsticks.
4. Let the egg strands cook for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat and stir in green onions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and black pepper. Add salt to taste.
6. Serve hot and enjoy!
To make a heartier, protein-packed soup, you can add cooked chicken breast, shrimp, or tofu. You can also add vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, or bok choy. Garnish with extra green onions, sesame seeds, cilantro or chili oil.
Here are some precautions to take note of when consuming egg drop soup:
– Use pasteurized eggs to reduce risk of salmonella, especially for high-risk groups like pregnant women, elderly, and infants.
– Avoid pre-made soups with high sodium, MSG, preservatives, and additives. Or make at home and control ingredients.
– If you have egg allergies, substitute the eggs with silken tofu to make it egg-free.
– Don’t give young children hard, whole eggs. Cut the cooked egg strands into small pieces.
– For vegetarian versions, use vegetable or mushroom broth instead of chicken broth.
Egg drop soup is more than just a comforting appetizer soup. The protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, collagen, and amino acids can benefit your immune system, gut health, energy levels, and sleep quality. It makes for a nourishing meal without too many carbs or calories. Be mindful of sodium content and food sensitivities. But otherwise, incorporate egg drop soup into your routine to take advantage of its many health perks.