Soup makes a hot, filling snack or meal that offers a variety of health benefits. The ingredients and possible combinations are virtually limitless. The healthiest soups are homemade and include fresh, low-fat ingredients such as vegetables and beans and a minimum amount of salt. Some benefits of eating soup are it can be nutritious, providing a full serving of vegetables in one bowl, and may offer weight-management benefits as it is generally low in calories.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends most adults strive to consume 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. Most vegetables are naturally low in calories and fat, cholesterol-free and rich in many vitamins and minerals essential for human health, such as vitamins A, C, E; potassium, folate, magnesium, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Adding them to a soup increases the likelihood you will consume the minimum amount daily. In addition to adding chopped vegetables and leafy greens to your soup, you can puree them and use them as a thickener for the soup broth. For example, peeled, cooked and mashed sweet potatoes or butternut winter squash add flavor, texture and count toward your recommended intake of vegetables.
According to a research study published in "Appetite" in November 2007, consuming soup enhances satiety, or a feeling of fullness, reducing caloric intake. Study authors tested the effects on meal intake of consuming different soups in 60 normal-weight men and women before lunch once per week for five weeks. The different types of soups included broth and vegetable soup, chunky vegetable soup, chunky pureed vegetable soup or simply pureed vegetable soup. Each week, one of the four types of soup, or no soup, was consumed before lunch, which was a test meal served 15 minutes after the soup was served. Results showed consuming any type of soup significantly reduced test meal intake and total caloric intake by 20 percent compared with having no soup. Since the type of soup did not significantly effect total caloric intake, choosing a low-calorie soup before eating a meal is a recommended strategy for lowering total caloric intake. This offers benefits for weight management and even weight loss.
Quick and Easy
Soup can be quick and easy to prepare and most individuals enjoy the food, making it a good meal choice for even the pickiest eaters. You can toss your soup ingredients in a slow cooker and place it on low heat before you leave for work. When you return from a hectic day at work, you'll be greeted with a hot, flavorful meal, ready to eat. If you choose wisely, soup can be an economical meal as well. Whole grains, such as brown rice and pearled barley, dried or canned beans, reduced-sodium broth, canned tomatoes and/or frozen vegetables are just a few inexpensive ingredient options. While meat, such as lean, skinless poultry, makes for an excellent addition to your soup, you do not have to add meat. Including a meatless meal, at least weekly, in your diet, is beneficial for your wallet and your health.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.