Weight Loss and Health Benefits of Soup
Our lives are complex; your meals don’t have to be. A simple way to eat a nourishing, nutritious meal is by making a vegetable bean soup. Soups are healthy, filling and very simple to make at home. There is no need to purchase a processed soup when a homemade soup is so easy to prepare and delicious to eat. And best of all, soups can be made in a large batch ahead of time and eaten over the course of a few days.
A vegetable soup can keep up to five days in the refrigerator. The flavors blend together and deepen over time.
In my own home, I tend to make a huge pot of vegetable bean soup every Sunday. That way I have something quick and reliable to eat for the rest of the week. And if I don’t want to eat the same soup several nights in a row, soup freezes well, so by making my soup on Sunday I can have a hearty lunch or dinner for a couple of days as well as stock my freezer with a few extra servings, too.
Soups are great because they can be a main meal or a side dish. Soups, along with salads, are an easy way to eat healthfully – and they add extra vegetables and beans to your daily diet.
Soup Made Simple
To begin making soups, consider soaking beans the night before and then rinse and add them to your soup pot with enough water to generously cover, on a low flame as your first step. After the beans have started to cook, I make the rest of the base which usually contains carrot juice.
I juice 5 pounds of organic carrots which yields about a quart and a half of delicious carrot juice. I use that as the chief base ingredient in soups and stews since it amps up the nutrient value and adds a great flavor. I also use or add celery or tomato juice or no-salt added vegetable broth.
Carrots are rich in carotenoids, such as alpha- and beta-carotene, and tomatoes are rich in the carotenoid, lycopene.
Higher levels of these health-promoting nutrients in the body are linked to longer life.. Then take your onions, scallions and leeks as well as your leafy cruciferous greens and blend them until smooth using a a high powered blender. Blending onions and cruciferous vegetables before they are cooked releases disease-fighting phytochemicals, making the soup even more nutritious. Then add the other vegetables you decide to chop in, such as parsnips. I also like to use a variety of chopped mushrooms. Then, instead of salt, I further season with herbs and spices such as dill, rosemary, parsley, black pepper, vinegar or lemon. For creamier soups, instead of milk or cream, pulverize some nuts in a high-powered blender and add to the broth. It will give the soup a pleasant creaminess.
Eat Soup, Lose Weight
Soups are perfect for those who want to escape the daily chore of cooking because they can be cooked in bulk and eaten over a few days. They are an effective weight-loss food because soups help slow your rate of eating and reduce your appetite by filling your stomach – this has been shown in scientific studies.
Starting your evening meal with a bowl of soup is a tool you can use to maintain a healthy weight; it’s important because weight is not just a cosmetic concern. In fact, the BMI (Body Mass Index) cutoffs for normal weight, overweight, and obese were chosen to reflect the health risks associated with excess fat. Waist circumference has also been found to be an indicator of lifespan, and weight gain is associated with shorter telomere length.
Soup doesn’t leave you hungry and since soup is gently simmered in a liquid base, the nutrients are retained and some are made more absorbable. Many nutrients, like B vitamins, niacin, folate, and a range of minerals, are water soluble. Normally, with water-based cooking, like boiling, water-soluble nutrients are leached into the cooking water and discarded. However, with soups, the liquid and the water-soluble nutrients are retained and consumed.
Soup is Super Healthy
Additionally, soup is easy to digest. Cooking soup heats, moisturizes and softens vegetables and beans, which dramatically increases the potential digestibility and absorption of the certain nutritious compounds contained within them. Recent studies confirm that the body absorbs more of the beneficial anti-cancer compounds, carotenoids in particular, especially lutein and lycopene, from cooked vegetables as compared to raw vegetables. Scientists speculate that the increase in absorption of these antioxidants after cooking may be attributed to the destruction of the extracellular matrix or connective bands to which these compounds are bound.
Healthy cooking need not be complicated. Make a pot of soup and you will be hooked on the ease and affordability of the dish and the convenience of having a hot nutritious meal on-hand for the rest of the week.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Sarah Dillon
Dr Joel Furhman