We need to know more about this surprising quality of broth – leader comment

Broth appears to be able to limit the spread of the malarial parasite, but scientists don’t yet know why.

Broth has long been a comfort to those who are sick (Picture: Bill Henry)
Broth has long been a comfort to those who are sick (Picture: Bill Henry)

There are few situations that would not be made better by a bowl of warming, hearty and nourishing broth (this is a rhetorical flourish, so please stop trying to imagine situations that would be made worse).

It has long been the kind of food given to people who are suffering from some kind of infection, like flu for example. So strong is the effect that even the sound of the word “broth” seems comforting by itself.

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And now scientists have discovered various kinds of the soup are able to block the spread of malarial parasites. They have not yet identified the key factor, but beef, chicken and vegetable-based broths were all among those that had an effect.

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This was despite the fact that they appeared not to share a common ingredient – beyond hot water.

Clearly more research needs to be done into the ‘broth effect’ to get to the bottom of what’s going on. And perhaps it might be an idea to carry out further research into other types of food that make us feel good.

Who knows, maybe, just maybe, sticky toffee pudding might turn out to have life-enhancing properties. Probably not, but worth a try.