Healing Power of Soup
Have you ever had someone recommend a bowl of chicken soup or cup of broth when you were sick? In hospitals, broths and clear soups are often early items offered after a surgery, as our body needs to start with foods that are easy to digest. Nutritional programs for cancer and Crohn’s disease recommend broths and soups as part of a healing nutritional plan. For example, this recipe for Magic Mineral Broth is part of Rebecca Katz’s Cancer Fighting Cookbook and homemade chicken soup is a staple in the intro diet from Elaine Gotschall’s book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” which is about improving intestinal health through diet.
Researchers have also identified that chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory properties, although they are not sure which components of the soup (specific vegetables, herbs, or the chicken) are responsible for the effect.1 Many people also consume bone broths for gut health, anti-inflammatory properties, and more. The research on the healing properties of bone broth is not as robust as that on chicken soup. However, bone broth has become a trending item in the discussion of the healing properties of food. In fact, you can now find a variety of bone broth brands at your local grocer. It is not difficult to make though. Bone broth is prepared by boiling animal bones for up to 48 hours, often with vegetables, spices, and herbs. Here is a great tutorial if you want to try making your own bone broth.
How is soup made?
Soup is a food made primarily of liquid. It can be served hot or cold, thick or thin, as a plain broth or with vegetables, meat, or even fruit added. Soup is created by cooking vegetables and/or meat or fish in a liquid. In French cuisine soup is classified as a broth (bouillon or consommé) or thickened (puree, bisque, velouté, or cream based).
Is Stew a Soup?
Technically soups and stews are not the same thing. While soups and stews often have the same base of liquid, vegetables, and meat or fish, soups have more liquid and stews have very little. In fact, a stew is created by barely covering a base of vegetables and meat with liquid and cooking with a lid on the pot for a long period of time. In stews the chunks of meats and vegetables tend to be larger, and the liquid cooks down over time to create a base similar to a gravy. Stews are often described as “hearty”, as they are mostly substance with little broth, which is the opposite of most soups.
Getting Started Making Soup
Preparing soup can seem intimidating for some. Common soup preparation errors are overcooking the vegetables so they are mushy and lose their flavor and not getting the spices right.
Here are a few of my favorite soup recipes to get you started:
- Summer’s Best Roasted Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Soup from The Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz
- Mexican Chicken Lime Soup from Rachel Ray
- Nourishing Paleo Chicken Soup from Living Well Mom
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup from Elana’s Pantry (dairy & gluten free)
- Thai Coconut Curry Soup from Dr. Marci Hardy, PhD (video tutorial)
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- Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7.