Health Benefits of Vegetable Soups
What are soups and why are they so popular?
A soup is a flavorful and nutritious liquid food usually served at the beginning of a meal or a snack. They are classified as thick soups and thin soups based on their density. They gained popularity in the 19th century when canning became a main method of storing. Soups were sold dry in cans and packs which lasted for months or years, and by adding hot water people had a healthy meal ready to eat.
The concern about the relationship between diet and health, the growing demand for healthy ready-to-eat products (according to current social habits), the boom in diets based on veganism and the possibilities that vegetable soups offer to innovate and develop new products (ingredients, tastes, process, packaging, etc.) are some of the reasons that have contributed to the current relevance of this type of foods.
What materials are used in soups?
Different fruits vegetables, leafy vegetables, tubers, bulbs, legumes, and other herbal extracts have been used as main ingredients in soup formulation. Most of them are valuable sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and contain a large group of compounds that could help maintain the body’s health and well-being.
Health Benefits of Vegetable Soups:
In general, vegetable soups are valuable sources of mineral, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients which are usually in short supply in daily diets.
Fiber: The adequate intake of dietary fiber in adults is of 25 g/day to be adequate for normal laxation. There is evidence of diets rich in fiber-containing foods (>25 g per day) reduced risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes and improved weight maintenance. The main sources of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber are whole grain cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables and potatoes.
Antioxidants: Furthermore, vegetable soups contain a high variety of antioxidants, based on the ingredients used to make the soup. These are plant secondary metabolites, which, when consumed with a proper diet, can reduce the risk of age-related chronic diseases, protecting the body against damage and providing mechanisms to reduce free radicals induced by oxidative stress.
Water: The vegetable soups and creams are water-rich foods, and they may be helpful both for hydration and for dietary quality. The main ingredient is water (between 60 and 95 % in soups), so they may help to maintain proper hydration and contributes to its low-calorie intake. Water fulfils a number of vital functions in the body, as it is the main component of the body fluid (saliva, synovial fluids, urine, blood, vitreous humor, and tears, etc.), as well as all the biochemical event in the cells are in water. The recommended water intakes range from 2.5 to 3.7 L per day for adult men and from 2.0 to 2.7 L per day for adult women. These water requirements are provided from drinking water, beverages and the water contained in the dietary foods. Foods provide about 20% on intake of water, but this could depend on the kind of food chosen. The inclusion of the vegetables cream and soups in the daily diet, as water-rich foods, may be beneficial for maintain the hydration or the balance of water on the body.
Satiation: In order to control their diet and body weight, the consumers are demanding high satiety products. The dietary fiber stand out among the other food ingredients that could have effects on satiety and depending on different factor, as the fiber type (soluble and insoluble), and its ability to bulk foods (viscosity, gel in the stomach, and ferment in the gut). Food with high content in protein and fiber could have positive effects on appetite control. Moreover, rich-fiber meals can promote satiety earlier and it is associated with a lower calorie intake. Not only the fiber, but also the antioxidants compounds, together with the large amount of water in these products could contribute to the feeling of satiety and avoid a greater intake of food, appetite control, and contribute to healthy and the beneficial effects.
Some studies have concluded than there were an inverse association between soup consumption and body weight. This effect was attributed to low energy density and large content of liquid and the satiating effects of soup, recommending an increase in the intake of soup consumption. When soup is eaten before a meal it could increase satiety and reduce food intake, due to enhanced gastric distension and a decreased rate of gastric emptying.
Other kinds of soups:
In another article, I will write about animal-product based soups, such as soup made with chicken bones or beef, which possess some quite interesting health benefits as well.
J. Fernández-López et al., “Vegetable Soups and Creams: Raw Materials, Processing, Health Benefits, and Innovation Trends,” Plants, vol. 9, no. 12, p. 1769, 2020, doi: 10.3390/plants9121769.
Originally published at https://www.nutritionjourneys.com on December 4, 2022.