The Chinese believe that Chicken Feet Soup given to children during their growth spurt at puberty will help them grow taller. That\u2019s the age-old theory and long-known adage that have been passed down through the generations by our mothers and grandmothers. Given how it is still followed today for its efficacy in building strong bones and sinews for our growing children, there must be some truth to the saying. But why would something as mundane as chicken feet work, you may ask? Let\u2019s look at the science behind those feet. Chicken Feet Are Full of Collagen Chicken feet are skin and bones essentially, comprising cartilage and tendons too but together, they are a formidable source of collagen and gelatine (the protein product derived from cooked collagen), among other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin A and Folate (Vitamin B9). See That Wobble! This is Chicken Feet Soup that has been cooled in the refrigerator. The collagen solidifies into a jelly. The less water you use, the firmer the jelly! https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v4fZ8cUDOYVY But what is collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein\u00a0in the human\u00a0body. It is found in connective tissues like skin, joints, bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments. In fact, collagen has been said to be the \u201cglue that holds our body together\u201d. When consumed, it gives us plump, youthful skin, luxuriant hair and strong nails, not to mention prevent brittle bones and bone density loss, joint pain, osteoarthritis, and even wrinkles, sagging skin and all the other side effects of aging. Needless to say, this is the answer to adults who want a drink from the fountain of youth itself! Now if it can do all this in a grown person, imagine what it can do for a child at a time when his bones and tissues are growing and elongating at an exponential rate? Other Magical Components of Chicken Feet Rich in calcium and collagen, chicken feet promotes youthful, supple skin, strengthens blood vessels, assists the body in metabolizing fat, aids bone mass growth, slows arthritis and reduces inflammation. (Image Credit: mrsiraphol - www.freepik.com) As mentioned earlier, chicken feet are high in calcium too \u2500 and calcium is needed to build strong bones as we all know. It is also rich in hydraulic acid \u2500 which traps water inside tissue cells of skin, eyes and joints, keeping the eyes moist and the joints lubricated \u2500 as well as glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate, which help hydrate and cushion the cartilage between joints. If you have joint pain in the knees, hips, ankles, wrists or even fingers, you would have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin, and might even be taking them in supplement form to lubricate these joints. The glucosamine and chondroitin in chicken feet work in the exact same manner in eradicating pain, only you don\u2019t need to spend as much to obtain its benefits. As for a child, the soup can make a difference to building good bone mass and synthesis during his formative years. Bones gain strength by absorbing nutrients and minerals and achieving good bone density is important to a person\u2019s overall health and wellbeing in life. Height is Determined by Genetics and Nutrition Of course, we all know that height is determined by genetics. Scientists say that at least 80% of an individual\u2019s height is determined by the DNA sequence they have inherited. However, many other factors also influence height, and nutrition, definitely, plays one of the most important roles. In the end, who is the say that when given a boost to help grow strong, healthy bones, a child cannot add a few more centimetres to his inherited height? Make Chicken Feet Soup! Here\u2019s what the soup looks like when served. You can see the collagen shimmering through the soup! My version is with goji berries and red dates as well as peanuts. Goji berries are great for the eyes and red dates are a blood cleanser and tonic so this soup has extra benefits. I have also made versions with kelp or seaweed. You can make your own version by adding or subtracting ingredients as you like. Yes, it is completely customizable to your own preference. However you decide to cook it, the result will be a lip-smacking, lightly sticky but savoury soup that will be packed choc-full with nutrients \u2500 the type any growing child will need. The chicken feet are to be consumed of course. After boiling, the skin around the feet become silky soft and will fall away from the bone when you eat it. If you like, you can dip the feet in soy sauce for added oomph. Here is the recipe: Ingredients The basic ingredients. \tAbout 30 chicken feet (or more) \tA whole chicken carcass \tA handful of raw peanuts \t2 tablespoons of goji berries (optional) \t8 pitted red dates (optional) \tA whole garlic bulb \tA few pieces of ginger (optional) \t2.5 litres of water or enough to cover the chicken feet \tSalt to taste Preparation Remember to cut off the nails. If you can\u2019t get chicken carcass, you can also put in chicken ribs, breast, wings or drumsticks to produce a richer stock. \tScrub chicken feet with salt to remove debris and dirt, rinse off, cut off chicken feet nails or claws, then in a pot of boiling water, blanch chicken feet and carcass for about 5 minutes. Drain the water. The feet and carcass are now ready for the main pot. *Tip 1: Blanching the chicken feet and bones first will produce a sweeter tasting soup in the end. \tRemove seeds from the red dates if you have bought ones that are not pitted. The seeds are sharp, small and inedible and could be dangerous if you are giving this to a younger child who may not know how to spit out the seeds. Chicken Feet Soup can be drunk at any age, not just during adolescence. Method Chicken Feet Soup in the making. \tIn a soup pot, put all the ingredients in (chicken carcass, feet, garlic, peanuts, red dates etc) \tBring to boil \tReduce heat to low to simmer for about 2 hours \tSeason to taste with salt. *Tip 2: If you prefer hands-off cooking like me, use a crockpot or slow cooker so you don\u2019t have to keep checking. Set it on low for 6 hours or longer and in that time, you will have your delicious soup. Other Variations of the Soup Chicken Feet Soup with goji berries only and without peanuts Chicken Feet Soup with dried seaweed. *All Images and Video by Helena Hon except where indicated. For more amazing recipes, always turn to Motherhood.com.my.