Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Soup is the order of the day

There are many benefits from eating soup.

There are many benefits from eating soup.

You walk into most houses during the winter months and you are hit with the smell of home-made soup.
Home-made chicken and veg soup was a staple diet during the winter months in my house and it still is today.
I use to love coming home from school during the winter and two of my favourite smells were home-made rice pudding and vegetable soup, it’s what puts a smile on your face after coming in from the cold, dark, wet winter evenings.
Apart from putting a smile on your face, heating your hands up as you carry the bowl to the table and feeling the hot soup warm up your insides with every spoon full, there are many other benefits from eating soup.
Eating the recommended five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day can be difficult but a bowl of soup is an excellent way to make sure you are getting at least two of those portions. A mixed vegetable soup will also ensure you get a good mix of minerals and nutrients.
When making your own soup you can dream up whatever type you want, as long as it is healthy and tastes good.
I would recommend rainbow colours, particularly green, orange and red as they contain calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-complex, A, C and K. Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and leeks are particularly healthy. Green herbs, like parsley and coriander, are a must too.
Parsley, for example, is packed with iron and vitamin C. Orange or red vegetables, like carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato, contain Vitamin A, an antioxidant that is good for eyesight and the skin, and boosts the immune system.
When making soups I always like to add in a bit of spice like turmeric, chilli and cumin. Turmeric is a particularly healthy spice that is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, and contains magnesium, iron, potassium and copper, all of which the body needs. Chilli flakes help boost circulation and help warm you up.
When making your soup always cook in bulk and freeze what you don’t eat into containers that serve one or two people. This way you always have a quick snack or lunch that just needs heated up.
You may also want to blend your soups as it stays in the stomach longer than chunks of vegetables, which helps to keep hunger at bay and makes it slightly easier to lose weight.
You can also add bulk to you soups. A favourite in our house is to add a potato with our chicken and vegetable soup. You could also choose other options like sweet potato, cook lentils in your soups or add in some seeds before you serve.
In the end it’s hard to beat a big slice of bread and butter, but only one.
Try to stay clear of canned, powdered and any other pre-made soups as they contain lower amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1 and much more salt than fresh or home-made soup to help prolong its shelf-life.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating canned soups, they still hold some benefits. Tomato canned soups have high levels of lycopene, the cancer fighting ingredient found in tomatoes so don’t be afraid to mix it up a little.

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