Passover’s matzoh ball soup may be good for your health

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2009 — With the Jewish holiday of Passover beginning at sundown next Wednesday, April 8, a staple of the traditional dinner — chicken soup with matzoh balls — may take on medicinal importance based on findings published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The popular home remedy for the common cold sometimes known as “Grandma’s Penicillin” may have a new role alongside medication and other medical measures in fighting high blood pressure, scientists in Japan are reporting.

Ai Saiga, Ph.D., and colleagues cite previous studies indicating that chicken breast contains collagen proteins with effects similar to ACE inhibitors, mainstay medications for treating high blood pressure. But chicken

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Michael Bernstein

Michael Woods

breast contains such small amounts of the proteins that it could not be used to develop food and medical products for high blood pressure.

Chicken legs and feet, often discarded as waste products in the U.S. but key soup ingredients elsewhere, appear to be a better source.

In the study, Saiga and colleagues extracted collagen from chicken legs and tested its ability to act as an ACE inhibitor in the laboratory studies. They identified four different proteins in the collagen mixture with high ACE-inhibitory activity.

Given to rats used to model human high blood pressure, the proteins produced a significant and prolonged decrease in blood pressure, the researchers say.

As for the matzoh balls, those delicious dumplings made from ground, unleavened bread, there is no word that they cure anything except a healthy appetite.

For further information:


Ai Saiga, Ph.D.
Nippon Meat Packers, Inc.
Ibaraki, Japan
Phone: 81-29-847-7815
Fax: 81-29-847-7824


— Michael Bernstein