Take advantage of soup season

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Take advantage of soup season

A steaming, hot bowl of soup when weather turns cold makes a perfect quick meal offering plenty of health benefits.  The nice thing about soups is by throwing in a variety of ingredients, you can create just the right blend of taste you’re looking for to satisfy your family.

Taste is just one of the qualities soups are noted for but that pot of soup simmering for hours on the stove offers so much more.   During the long fall and winter months, soup can be a very satisfying and nourishing meal loaded with health benefits.  Let’s take a look at what a steaming hot bowl of soup has to offer.

·      Satiety  

The definition of satiety is a feeling of satisfaction and fullness following eating that quells the desire for food.  Soup satisfies due to its high water content and added ingredients tricking our bodies into thinking of it as food and not a drink.  Barbara Rolls, PhD, nutrition scientist and researcher at Penn State University, has conducted studies showing that when women ate soup before eating lunch, they consumed 100 fewer calories total at that meal.  The satiety feeling remained with them throughout the day without eating more at dinner to make up the calorie difference. 

Soups satisfying power lies in the multitude of sensory stimulation it provides – warmth, taste, aroma and visually seeing the different ingredients in the bowl. 

·      Aids in weight loss

The satiety or fullness feeling soup provides leads to eating fewer calories.  A research study published in Appetite, resulted in people eating 20 percent less when they began lunch with vegetable soup compared to those who skipped the soup. 

Another research study from the Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, showed that a group of overweight men and women who ate soup daily, had better maintenance of their weight loss.     

·      Fiber  

Soup may not be on your top ten list of high fiber foods, but surprisingly there are many sneaky ways to add in this necessary component of our diet. Remember, you can add just about anything to most soups to boost fiber content – vegetables, beans, lentils, whole-wheat pasta, and barley are all rich in dietary fiber and often are the main ingredients in many soups.   

Fiber is important for preventing constipation, regulating blood sugar and blood cholesterol.  The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 eat about 38 grams of fiber daily while women should consume 25 grams a day.  Adults over 50 require less fiber (30 grams for men and 21 grams for women) due to reduced food consumption.

·      Provides water to prevent dehydration

We tend to drink more fluids in warmer months but drinking enough fluids during cold winter months is important too.  Soup is a convenient method obtaining fluids you need in addition to warming the body. 

·      Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances neutralizing free radicals, preventing oxidative damage to cells.    Since most soups contain vegetables rich in antioxidants along with vitamins and minerals, this is a perfect way of obtaining necessary healthful nutrients in our diet.   

·      Adding soup to your diet

Whether you eat soup from a can or make it from scratch, it comes up a winner most every time.   One concern of eating soup however, particularly canned soups is the sodium content.  It’s not unusual to find over 800 milligrams of sodium in one cup of canned chicken noodle soup.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium each day.   People 51 and older and those of any age who are African Americans or who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should further reduce sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.   Look for low sodium versions of your favorite brands or make soup from scratch putting you in control of how much salt you add. 

This cold weather season stir up some batches of soup and see for yourself that it is indeed not only good food but good for you.