Recovery from birth or surgery both require similar care for the soft tissue to regain it’s strength. Collagen is important for healing from surgical incisions, C-section incisions, and episiotomies or tears. Collagen is also essential for maintaining bone density post-menopausally (Shan, 2006), and though it has not been studied, likely in the childbearing years as well when women can suffer from transient osteopenia or osteoporosis. Even if a woman has an easy birth with minimal soft tissue damage, her abdominal and pelvic soft tissues will be stretched by the pregnancy.
Plus, postpartum women and women returning home from surgery have the opportunity to practice the art of receiving care. (In fact, I believe all women need more practice with receiving care as we are so often the caregivers, but I will save that post for another day.)
One of my favorite clinical recommendations for both the physiologic healing of post-surgical or postpartum wounds and for cultivating the art of receiving care is for new mothers and recovering women to enjoy many, many bowls of homemade chicken soup made with mineral dense, high protein bone broth.
In addition to the collagen offered by the bone broth, chicken is rich in lysine and proline, two amino acids that are important for collagen rebuilding. Other cofactors that are needed for collagen rebuilding are vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and zinc. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries (go organic on those as they tend to be high in pesticides), and dark leafy greens. Seaweeds (especially kelp), sweet potato, avocado, mango, and bone soups are high in hyaluronic acid. And, foods high in zinc include pecans, sesame seeds, cashews, dates, linseed, wheat germ, cocoa, oysters, crab, poppy seeds, beef, blue cheese, and eggs
The next time that your neighbor, friend, or client comes home from the hospital with a new baby or a new scar (or both), instead of baking cookies, make them my favorite healing soup.
Home From The Hospital Soup
For the broth:
1 chicken carcass (take most of the meat off after roasting, but I usually leave a little including the wing meat to add flavor)
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, cleaned and chopped
3 celery stalks, cleaned and chopped
1-2 Tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar
Place the chicken carcass in a slow cooker. Add the vegetables, cover with filtered water and add the apple cider vinegar. Cover and cook on high until boiling, turn down to low and simmer for up to 24 hours. Add the parsley for the final hour or so of cooking. Strain the broth to use for the soup below…
1 onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 red potatoes or 1 small sweet potato, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tsp of Italian herb blend
the meat from a 3-5 pound roast chicken (use an organic rotisserie chicken as a shortcut), diced
32oz of chicken broth
black pepper and Italian parsley (for garnish)
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium and saute the onion, carrots, and celery for 3-5 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Add the potatoes, garlic, chicken, salt, and Italian seasoning, stir for a few minutes more. Then, add the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and chopped Italian parsley.
While the broth itself is especially healing. This soup is also great with a high quality broth such as Imagine or Pacific Natural Foods. When made with love and received with love and gratitude using store bought broth is just fine.
What is your favorite “home from the hospital” recipe? Share it in the comments below.
Shan PF et al., (2006) Age-related changes of serum bone alkaline phosphatase and cross-linked C-telopeptides of type I collagen and the relationship with bone mineral density in Chinese women. Clin Chim Acta, 366(1-2), 233-8.