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.
It Helps Keep You Warm
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.
It Can Help Lose Weight
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.
It Keeps You Satiated
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.
It’s Good For Digestion
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.
It’s Power Packed With Nutrients
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 Vitamins and Minerals Stay Intact
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.
It Can Keep Aches and Pains At Bay
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.
It Is Naturally Healing
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.