Pictured recipe: Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
Ever wonder 'is soup healthy' when considering your lunch options. Turns out soup is good for the soul—and the rest of you too. Here are four healthy reasons to eat more soup.
Soup's On: Healthy Soups in 30 Minutes or Less
Soup Adds Vitamins and Minerals
Pictured recipe: Veggistrone
Do you have a souper diet? (See what we did there?) The answer is probably "yes" if you're a soup‐eater. Looking at the diets of 10,500 Americans, Iowa State University researchers found that people who ate soup had higher diet‐quality scores than people who didn't. Soup‐eaters had higher intakes of fiber, vitamin A, magnesium, iron and potassium. And overall, they got more servings of vegetables (notably, more dark greens, orange veggies and legumes).
Soup Is the Ultimate Skinny Food
Pictured recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Curry Soup
Compared to people who enjoy soup on the regular, those who skip the slurp are about 40 percent more likely to be overweight, according to research published in the journal PLOS ONE. The difference in actual body size was somewhat small—a waist circumference difference of about 1 1⁄4 inches—but we think that's pretty remarkable considering participants served up soup just once a week. Plus, another study out of Penn State reported that eating soup before lunch helped people naturally cut 134 calories out of their entire meal.
You Can Eat More for Fewer Calories
Pictured recipe: Smoked Gouda Broccoli Soup
When you include soup in your meal, you're likely to eat a larger portion of food that's also lower in calories. The same Penn State study mentioned above found that people who had soup before lunch enjoyed about 27 ounces of food—the soup plus a pasta entree, for about 820 calories—while those who didn't start with soup ate about 15 ounces of just the pasta for about 930 calories. Other research shows that diets rich in foods that fill you up with fewer calories, like soup, are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Sodium Is Offset by Potassium
Pictured recipe: Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup
Soup is notoriously high in sodium—and yes, research shows that people who eat soup do get more sodium than those who skip the bowl. They're also likely to get more potassium. This is important for heart health because potassium encourages your body to excrete sodium. So, while too much sodium can raise blood pressure, potassium can help bring it back down. Not all lunches can say that. A homemade sandwich made with ham, cheese, tomato and whole‐wheat bread has over 800 mg of sodium and only 320 mg of potassium, but a basic vegetable soup has about 640 mg of sodium and 718 mg potassium. That's 20 percent of your recommended dose of potassium for the day!