Soup's On! 6 Reasons to Savor a Beneficial Bowl

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I love sitting down to a warm, soothing bowl of soup at the end of a long day. Whether your bowl is a meal starter or the star of your meal, it’s an easy way to increase your vegetable intake and take the edge off hunger. Check out some of the benefits of soup, and then grab your spoon. 

Soup Is a Proven Cold Fighter 

Chicken soup is a widely prescribed cure for the common cold, and with good reason: It works!

Warm fluids help keep nasal passages moist, drain mucus from your sinuses, prevent dehydration, and soothe a sore throat. There’s even scientific proof to back it up: Studies suggest that the veggies and chicken in soup have anti-inflammatory powers that can ease congestion, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, and other symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

And let’s be honest, you just can’t beat the comfort factor. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or are simply craving something homemade and wholesome, chicken noodle soup is the way to go. 

Soup Can Help You Cut Calories

Think a soup appetizer will only tack on extra calories to your meal? Think again. A soup starter may actually help cut your overall calorie total. Researchers at Penn State University found that people who started with a low-calorie soup ended up consuming 20 percent fewer calories overall at lunch than when they ate the meal without the soup.

The liquid in soup helps fill you up, so you’re less likely to overdo it once your entrée arrives.

But select your soup starter wisely. Ideally, you should try to choose one that has between 100 to 150 calories per serving and go for broth-based varieties as opposed to cream-based.

Soup Is an Easy and Satisfying Meal

Toss all ingredients into a pot and let it cook—that’s often all that’s required to make a homemade soup.

Choose the right ingredients and you can even make an entire meal out of it. Simply take any vegetable-packed soup recipe and add a lean protein, like beans, lentils, or chicken, and you’re all set! Another tip: make a double or triple batch and freeze the extras for future meals. Or, if you prefer, you can store in individual containers to bring to work for lunch.

Soup Is an Easy Snack

Skip the vending machine and instead warm up a bowl of soup to enjoy as a mid-afternoon snack. Beans and lentils deliver a complete package of protein, slow-burning carbs, and soluble fiber that helps provide sustained energy. Store-bought versions are convenient, but make sure to choose a low-sodium variety. 

Soup Works Year-Round

You may think of soup as a purely cold-weather food—after all, a warm bowl of soup is soothing and comforting in the chilly winter months. But you can enjoy chilled versions during the hot, summer months also. There are so many tasty cool soups, including gazpacho and cucumber-yogurt soup.

Soup Is Trendy

This reason isn’t as solid as the others, but if everyone else is eating it, and it’s good for you, why not join in? Bone broth (also known as stock) is nothing new, but it has become a buzzy bite recently. There are many claims being made about its health powers, but the two that seem to be most promising are its immune-boosting benefits (for the same reasons as chicken soup, mentioned above) and its use as a post-workout snack. That’s because it’s hydrating and it helps replenish electrolytes after a sweat session.

You can make bone broth using different types of bones (beef, poultry, pork, fish), different ingredients (onions, garlic, herbs and spices), and different cooking times (from six hours to 24 hours). Whip it up and use it as a base for your favorite soup recipes!

By Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN, Health and Nutrition Expert for NBC’s Today Show and founder of Nourish Snacks.

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