Soup for the Soul
Prepare a savory pot of homemade soup for comfort - and good
There's nothing quite as delicious and
comforting as a bowl of hearty, homemade soup on a chilly winter
evening. Its enticing aroma fills the house, welcoming our loved
ones as they come through the door at the end of a tiring day. For
most of us, soup symbolizes tender, loving care. Childhood memories
of our mothers bringing us soup when we were sick add to the cozy
feeling we get when we serve ourselves a steaming bowlful. But soup
offers us much more than comfort.
Soup for Your Health
The USDA recommends that a moderately active woman eat two and a
half cups of vegetables a day; three cups for a moderately active
man. But according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in May
2011, only 58 percent of American adults surveyed reported eating
as much fruits and vegetables as they should. Eating plenty of
vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet also reduces your
risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some
types of cancer. Soup is a smart way to squeeze more vegetables
into your diet. Vegetables rich in potassium (tomatoes, sweet
potatoes and broccoli) can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of
kidney stones and help decrease bone loss. Yellow or dark green,
leafy vegetables help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration,
two common causes of vision loss.
Soup for Your Waistline
Soups can also play an important part in your weight-loss plan,
adding vitamins, minerals and fiber at minimal calorie cost. "As
long as the volume of a food is high, people can feel full with
calories," says Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D., author of
Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits &
There are other reasons soup fills us up. It stretches our
stomachs and slows emptying to create the sensation of fullness,
and just seeing a large volume of food can increase our ability to
feel satisfied. "Sipping from a spoon causes us to eat more slowly.
Studies show that the longer a meal goes on, the less interest
you'll have in completing it," Tallmadge says.
She suggests starting lunch or dinner with a bowl of brothbased
vegetable soup to save up to 200 calories a day: "If you did this
every day, you could lose 20 pounds in a year!"
A 2007 Penn State University study backs this up, showing that
when participants ate a first course
of soup before an entree, they reduced their total calorie intake
by 20 percent at that meal.
Soup for Your Wallet
If that's not enough to persuade you to cook up a pot of
homemade comfort tonight, consider this: Soup also saves time and
A large batch can feed your family for several days and costs
only a few dollars. Vegetables, water
or broth, lean protein plus your favorite seasonings make a
healthful, delicious and frugal meal.
What are you waiting for? Prepare a pot tonight. Your soul will
-By Karen Pollock