In some restaurants in my local area, soup isn’t available during the summer months. I understand why soup is especially good on winter days, but I never understood why restaurants don’t serve soup in the summer. After all, it’s not like we stop eating hot meals or drinking coffee and tea.
So even though it’s heading into summer in most parts of the world, it’s still a great time to talk about the health benefits of soup. As an aside, soup is one of the easiest things to make and a big bowl of steaming, fresh soup always looks impressive – like a lot of work went into it, even though it didn’t. And many soups can be made in one pot and can be easily adjusted to feed a crowd (or last for a week’s worth of meals).
Let’s look at some of the health benefits from eating soup. First, vegetable-based soups help fill you up with relatively few calories. In fact, studies consistently show that people eat significantly less at a meal when they start with a bowl of vegetable soup.
Vegetable-based soups, like salads, contain high quantities of vitamins (especially B, C and K) and other nutrients, like fiber and minerals. However, for many people, a bowl of soup is much easier to eat than a salad and there is no risk of ruining the healthfulness with a dose of unhealthy dressing.
In addition, soups that are based on leeks, onions and/or celery have loads of potassium which helps your body release fluid that might be making you feel bloated. That bloated feeling can come from too much salt and/or too little physical activity.
As I mentioned, making soup at home is easy to do. It also allows you to make it exactly to your taste, using the combination of vegetables you like best (or have the most of in your refrigerator). It also helps you avoid the exceptionally high sodium content of canned soup or soup mixes which can contain up to half your daily sodium intake. If you are going to choose a pre-made soup, look for one that has less than 800mg of sodium per serving.
Soup is really a versatile food that can be eaten for lunch, as an afternoon snack or as part of dinner. Soups that include beans, potatoes or sweet potatoes are even more filling than clear vegetable soups and may be sufficiently filling for an entire meal.
Here’s a recipe for one of my favorites, potato broccoli soup. I sauté the vegetables in water and never miss the oil! I also replace some of the white potatoes with a sweet potato, which gives it a bit more of a complex taste and a golden color.
Do an internet search for healthy soup recipes and you’ll surely find a few worth trying. There are hundreds out there!
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