Soup is a star player disguised as an underrated appetizer. It can be a side or main dish, and the benefits of soup go beyond the bowl.
However, seeing the calorie counts on cans or local menus can make one wonder, "Is soup good for you?" The short answer is yes, it can be!
Read on to learn more about the five delicious benefits of eating soup. Also, continue to the bottom to find our tastiest and easiest soups to make!
What Is Soup?
From chicken soup to corn chowder and all of those far in between, soups are aplenty!
While many think they know the definition of soup, what makes soup a soup? And what makes it different from a stew?
Soups are actually very simple, elegant, and nutritious dishes at their root. Unlike stews that tend to be heartier, soups often have enough liquid to fill the bowl. They are traditionally classified by cooking technique and texture.
Clear soups usually start as stocks or broths. Made by preparing flavorful ingredients and simmering them in liquid for a long time, they produce well-flavored, slightly garnished soups. They include broth and broth-based soups, such as these familiar favorites:
• Beef broth
• Vegetable soup
• Chicken noodle soup
• Beef barley soup
• Vegetable beef soup
Thick soups include cream soups and purees. Cream soups are thickened with a roux or other starch while purées rely on their ingredients for their thick texture profile. They are often garnished with cream or béchamel sauce and feature a pronounced combination of flavors.
Common cream soups include:
Favorite picks for purées, which are easy to digest for eating at almost any age, are:
• Split pea
• Dried or fresh beans (pea, lentils, navy beans, etc.)
• Celery root
Purées made without milk or cream, either by design, preference, or to become more allergy-friendly, can benefit from citrus juice or vinegar before being served.
Some soups are flavorful favorites but do not quite fit in the other categories. These include soups such as bisques and chowders which are hearty and can also be healthy. These soups are primarily cooked with rice to thicken and made from shellfish favorites.
Some common bisques and chowders include the following:
• New England-style clam chowder
Is Soup Good for You?
The nutritional quality of a soup comes from the nutritional quality of the ingredients. In other words, the more vitamins and minerals contained in the ingredients of the soup, the more nutritious the finished product.
When looking for a healthy soup recipe, homemade is often the best option for controlling sodium levels and input of ingredients. Vegetable soups, especially those with a wide range of colors, can be extremely healthy and provide a variety of nutrients.
If shopping for canned soup, look for low-sodium options and steer clear of added sugars and artificial ingredients or colors.
5 Benefits of Eating & Cooking Soup
The benefits of adding soup to a balanced diet are many. However, there are five main features we think make them especially great for healthy eating!
1. Weight Management
Eating soup might be an unorthodox way to lose weight, but there is research that backs this weight loss tip!
One study found non-consumers of soup were at higher risk of being overweight or obese. The frequency of soup consumption was even associated with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
Other research from Penn State University consuming soup before a meal can cut caloric intake by 20 percent!
2. Diet Quality
Measured against healthy eating standards, soup consumers tend to have reduced total fat intake. They also have an increased intake of protein, dietary fiber, and other nutrients.
While sodium intake needs to be monitored, people who eat soups are more likely to have an improved diet quality.
3. Heart Health
A study on middle-aged and elderly adults showed that heart rates were lower in participants who reported eating miso soup frequently. Other studies have also shown a significant decrease in triglyceride and promising improvements in blood health.
Plant-based soups rich in fiber and phytochemicals are especially therapeutic and can be used as functional foods.
4. Gastrointestinal (GI) Health & Beyond
Soup consumption has been shown to play a role in the treatment of many diseases, including:
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease
• Digestive cancer
5. Highly Adaptable
Many soups can be modified for different diets, preferences, allergies, or other personal needs. This makes them a great option for pleasing guests or appeasing picky eaters.
Studies show that in some cases, modifications can actually increase the nutritional value. Changes can even make the soups nutritionally superior to locally available alternatives.
6 Quick & Easy Soups to Make
With the known benefits of soup, cozying up to a bowl might sound more appealing than ever. Fortunately, we have 6 hearty soup recipes to try!
1. Creamy Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup
This bright, creamy carrot and sweet potato soup is sure to soothe and warm the soul! The carrots and sweet potatoes deliver an energizing boost of vitamins A and C, plenty of fiber, and lots of flavor.
2. Stewed Cannellini Bean Soup
In this quick and simple dish, hearty white beans are combined with flavorful tomato sauce built on an aromatic base. A gentle touch of honey and Italian herbs balances out and finishes off the stewed cannellini beans for one comforting soup.
3. Korean Rice Cake Soup
If you enjoy rice soups, then look no further than this unique spicy tteokbokki recipe! The soup combines the flavors of anchovy stock, dried kelp, and hot peppers for one rich, unique taste.
The recipe also packs a spicy punch thanks to gochujang, a Korean hot pepper paste. However, feel free to adjust the spice level to tolerance and preference.
4. Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Broccoli and cheese soup is a comfort food favorite, though can be laden with unwanted fat and calories. Fortunately, this healthy broccoli cheddar soup recipe is both nutritious and delicious!
Oh, and did we mention it takes a quick 30 minutes from start to finish?
5. Cream of Cauliflower Soup
A creamy, roasted cauliflower soup recipe without the use of cream? This healthy cream of cauliflower soup defies the odds and is perfect for cold weather (or any forecast for that matter)!
6. Tomato Okra Stew
Tomato soup might be a fan favorite, but this tomato okra stew gives the classic a run for its money! The recipe features Creole staples, including tomatoes, okra, onion, and fragrant seasonings.
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