For hundreds of years, Chinese culture has hailed the nutritional benefits of bird’s nest soup. Virility, better skin, stronger pregnancies and healthier babies – all have been claimed as benefits of consuming soups featuring edible bird’s nests.
However, as the soup has become a global phenomenon, those old notions of health benefits have come under scrutiny: Is bird’s nest soup as healthy as they say it is?
Turns out the Chinese were right – edible swallow’s nests are not only a delicious delicacy, but they’re also a nutritious meal that can benefit multiple age groups.
So what is the magic behind these unique swiftlet creations?
About half the bird’s nest comprises of protein. Protein is a macronutrient that the human body needs in relatively large amounts. First, it provides the essential amino acids that our own tissues can't produce. Secondly, protein provides nitrogen to produce non-essential amino acids and other nitrogen-containing compounds.
Edible Bird's Nest contains an abundant amount of 18 different amino acids, some of which cannot be manufactured by the human body and must be obtained through dietary sources.
Bird's Nest Soup contains a significant amount of aspartic acid (4.69%) and proline (5.27%), which promote cell regeneration; cysteine and phenylalanine (4.50%) have been shown to enhance memory, increase nerve impulse conduction and absorption of vitamin D from sunlight; syalic acid and tyrosine (8.6%) speeds up recovery; glucosamine helps restore cartilage and bursae in the case of osteoarthritis.
In particular, syalic acid and tyrosine are metabolized quickly during the removal of toxic substances and stimulates the growth of red blood cells.
Various types of minerals like zinc, copper, iron, sodium, phosphorous have also been found in analyses of bird’s nests. These minerals are essential as our need for oxygen to sustain all mental and physical processes and for our total well-being. They are important in maintaining all physiological processes as they made up the constituents of teeth, bones, tissues, blood, muscle, and nerve cells.
Other rare element such as Cr, which enhances absorption of nutrients through the intestinal membranes, and Se, which is an anti-aging agent are found in bird's nest in small quantity.
Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. Health problems such as heart disease, muscular degeneration, diabetes, cancer, etc. are all contributed by oxidative damage. Antioxidants may also boast our immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.