by Hannah Kirby
Whether you are sick in bed or just returned home on a chilly fall night, soup is the ultimate feel-good food to warm you up. This dish is not only versatile and customizable to your favorite flavor profile, but it can be packed full of vitamins and nutrients just waiting to benefit your health.
The Soup-er Nutrient Facts
- Soups made with bone-, vegetable-, or meat- broths can be packed with vitamins and nutrients like collagen. These broths allow you to also reduce the fat and calorie values when used in place of heavy creams as a base.
- Depending on the soup that you prepare, you may be including a high amount of vegetables. These vegetables are not only going to increase the nutritional value with vitamins and minerals, but also lower your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.1
- Soup is also going to be a great source of water. The broth and vegetables can be a surprisingly great way to keep you hydrated. This is great news for those of us who use soup to refuel when we are sick.1,2
Due to the components of soups, it is known to help support weight management. Due to the fact that soup is high in liquid, it can be filling, meaning your calorie intake throughout the day is likely to be lower. Studies have supported the claim that soup can increase the feeling of fullness and decrease hunger.
While the fullness may partially be due to the liquid, it may also be the fiber from the vegetables. The fiber can delay stomach emptying and thus increase the gastric volume. This increase in volume makes you feel full for longer. Overall, several studies have shown that those who eat soup regularly will have lower body weight, waist circumference, and odds of becoming overweight or obese.1,2,3
Good news — not only will you be happy eating soup, your wallet will be too. Soup allows you to use the foods that may be close to their expiration date. Wilted and bruised vegetables are fair game and don’t have to be thrown out. Since soup can be made in large quantities easily, you can plan ahead and freeze a few servings. This will allow for you to limit your take-out meals due to time constraints.2
What to Watch Out For
Not all recipes are going to account for the most nutrient dense options. While everything is okay in moderation make sure to pay attention to the addition of:
- Thickeners: thickeners like heavy cream or full fat milk can be energy dense (having high amounts of calories per gram). They may also contain saturated fatty acids, which should be limited in the diet.
- Sodium: Canned soups are packed full of added salt, which can lead to higher risks of increased blood pressure, heart and kidney disease, and stroke.1
I’m a sucker for a nice creamy soup as much as the next person, and I won’t tell you to eliminate them all together. Maybe try healthier options to add a thick and creamy texture. This can be by adding yogurt, a great source of pre- and probiotics, or mashed legumes.
Similarly, instead of adding salt to enhance the flavor try other seasonings like basil, oregano, cumin, etc. Your possibilities are endless!1
- Lang A. Is soup healthy? ingredients, benefits, and different types. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-soup-healthy#unhealthy-soups. Published February 10, 2021. Accessed October 28, 2021.
- Beabout L. Soup: The healthiest comfort food, or not so much? Greatist. https://greatist.com/eat/is-soup-healthy#choosing-a-soup. Published January 29, 2021. Accessed October 28, 2021.
- Kuroda M, Ninomiya K. Association between soup consumption and obesity: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Physiology & behavior. 2020;225:113103-113103. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.113103