For decades, grandmas have recommended chicken soup for flu or an easy pumpkin soup for diarrhea. Why? That’s because soups are often chock full of nutrient-dense vegetables and meats that are slow cooked so that these ingredients retain their nutritious value, delivering a meal in a bowl that is easy to digest, appealing in texture and yet packs great flavors. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top benefits of soup, and why we think it should be a staple at your dinner table.
When the temperatures outside reach freezing levels, nothing will warm you up like a bowl of soup. Unlike hot caffeinated beverages that leave you dehydrated, soup nourishes you from within and helps increase core body temperature. A bowl of your favorite soup will warm you from inside out on a cold, chilly night, keeping you toasty warm.
Research has found that people who regularly drink soup have lower dietary energy density and better diet quality. The high water and fiber content from vegetables added to soup keep you satiated in a healthy and hydrating way. Have a bowl of soup in the evening, and you will be unlikely to over-eat too many calories at dinner-time.
Don’t underestimate a good old bowl of soup. It makes for a hearty meal by itself to provide high satiety with fewer calories than most other regular meals. Researchers from Oxford Brookes University, UK, found that smooth soup induces greater fullness compared with the solid meal because of a combination of delayed gastric emptying. This can lead to feelings of gastric distension and rapid accessibility of nutrients, causing a greater glycemic response. In short, soup will keep you feel for longer, keep your tummy happy and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Unless you go for a soup laden with heavy cream, most recipes include fibrous vegetables, beans, lentils and meats that all ensure a healthy digestion. Eating a fiber-rich diet aids in smooth digestion and also increases insulin sensitivity.
For those of you who find it hard to eat 7-8 servings of vegetables a day, making a pot of soup to reheat and eat throughout the week is the solution. You can add a variety of vegetables to your soup, and it’s also a good way to incorporate any leftovers and create a whole new dish. Plus, it’s easy to add a variety of veggies into soups in a non-intrusive way, getting the pickiest of eaters to consume them. We can’t think of a healthier meal the whole family can enjoy!
The slow cooking method used for soup ensures that it retains the vitamins and minerals of cooked vegetables since you also consume the broth. Whether you are making a soup with lentils, beans or meat coupled with vegetables, you get a full array of nutrients in that delicious broth. Also, some nutrients like beta carotene from carrots and lycopene from tomatoes are better absorbed by the body when food is cooked rather than when eaten raw.
When making a soup, don’t discard the bones. In fact, if you slow-cook the whole carcass with bones, tendons and ligaments to make your soup, you get a delicious bone broth that is high in gelatin, collagen and glycine that have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. A bowl of bone broth can promote healthy bowel movements, improve gut motility, combat gut inflammation and naturally treat gut dysbiosis. It also helps boost immunity to keep stomach infections at bay.
There is a reason the doctor tells you to have a warm bowl of pumpkin or chicken soup when you’re fighting the flu. Studies have found that hot chicken soup is superior to other hot or cold liquids in the management of fluids in upper respiratory tract infections. The nutrition-filled broth boosts immunity with essential vitamins and minerals and rehydrates your body. Also, it is easy to digest which makes it perfect for when you have a sore throat or poor appetite. Plus if you have a nasty cold, the hot vapors warm you up and helps in clearing nasal passages.
Besides these benefits of soups, the thing we like most is that they’re so versatile. You can play around with ratios and measurements to create a warming, delicious bowl of goodness with any ingredients at hand, and use a variety of herbs and spices to try new flavors. As long as you keep a close eye on added salt, a bowl of soup will ALWAYS be a healthy option. Making soup is also inexpensive since you can use whatever you have lying around in the house.
What’s better — soups are so easy to freeze and reheat. Make a large pot over the weekend, store in airtight containers and freeze. You can reheat each portion of soup every weeknight or lunch next day and it’ll only taste better each time!
Now that you know all about the benefits of soup, it’s time to try out these 8 delicious recipes!
We love a bowl of gut healing + immunity boosting chicken soup on a cold chilly day. While there are plentiful recipes to try from a creamy smooth soup to a clear soup and even chunky chicken soup, we love the idea of a chicken soup that is soothing and nourishing for the gut. Add root vegetables that are easy to digest and promote a healthy inner ecosystem. Bump up the flavors with ginger and garlic that are anti-inflammatory and support immune function – perfect if you’re fighting a cold or flu!
Pumpkin soup is a wonderful option for anyone fighting indigestion and stomach infections, but also for those on a weight loss program. This soup is soothing, gentle and easy to digest with soluble fibers that help keep you full. It’s low in calories, high in energy and can also help balance your electrolytes after a hard day.
Looking for a bowl of soup that aids digestion, is full of healthy probiotics and helps keep pains and aches at bay? Try miso soup! A bowl of traditional Japanese miso soup helps relieve fatigue, regulate the digestive and intestinal functions, protect against gastric ulcers, boosts heart health, prevents inflammation and also lowers the risk of chronic ailments associated with poor lifestyle factors. In short — miso soup is a shining example of how food can work as medicine.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene – a potent antioxidant that fights against oxidative stress caused by the free radicals to prevent inflammation and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. What’s better, tomato soup is also filled with the goodness of Vitamin K and calcium that improve bone health, along with Vitamin A & C that improve cardiovascular health. We recommend a tomato basil soup that’s high in flavor, easy to make and freezes very well.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, lentil soup is a great way to get more proteins in your diet. What’s better, lentil soup helps lower bad cholesterol because it contains high soluble fiber, and is also good for heart health, for digestive health and for stabilizing blood sugar levels. Add vegetables of your choice and you will have a hearty meal that promotes weight loss and boosts energy levels.
Who hasn’t heard of the cabbage soup diet, right? But while eating nothing but cabbage soup for days is not the most appetizing idea, cabbage soup in itself offers a variety of health benefits when it’s a part of a balanced diet. This soup is packed with fiber along with vitamin B, C and K. It can help you stay slim and detoxes the body of toxins. It’s also great for gastrointestinal health. Add a variety of herbs and spices to boost flavors and cook your cabbage in chicken or beef broth for added taste.
Rich in antioxidants and packed with nutrients, a bowl of green spinach soup is a great way to warm your body inside out. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, boosts cognitive function and memory, and is great for bone health. Add ginger and garlic to your spinach soup to boost its anti-inflammatory action, and also give it some extra heat.
If you suffer from insulin resistance or diabetes, try asparagus soup. A great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a bowl of asparagus soup can enhance insulin’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Add chopped asparagus with onion and garlic to a pot with low-sodium chicken broth and simmer away. Throw in a handful of fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill or basil for fresh flavors along with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice for a nourishing, delectable bowl of asparagus soup for the soul.