When it comes to soup, there are different types, and it can be made depending on what you want or prefer.
Nutritionists urge that vegetable soup is one of the healthiest you can eat because it is very nutritious.
With vegetable soup, there is a combination of high nutrient density with low energy density – this means that we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories.
Be it for lunch, dinner, or as a starter, studies have proved that vegetable soups have always garnered accolades of compliment not only for their low-calorie count and filling nature, but also for their immense health benefits for reducing weight and enhancing overall health.
As for what to serve with soup, your side dish of choice is going to depend on the type of soup you make.
Rene Tabaro, a nutritionist at King Faisal Hospital, says the abundance of healthy fibre in vegetables helps in optimising the intestinal bowel movement and facilitates proper absorption of nutrients and eases digestions.
He notes that to back this up, a normal veggie soup if eaten before a meal also helps in digesting the food eaten afterwards.
Tabaro points out that regular intake of soups made from vegetables prevents flatulence, constipation, and other gastrointestinal troubles.
The nutritionist goes on to add that vegetable soups having a lot of water nourish body cells and keep the skin fresh.
Also, the presence of carbohydrates, proteins, fats as well as vitamins and minerals supply the much-needed energy to the body to carry out other activities.
In addition, Tabaro says, vegetables used in the soup are high in antioxidants; explaining that these bioactive components actively work to shield the body from oxidative free radical damage, thus preventing the body from the various signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, spots, dark circles, among others.
“To avoid early signs of ageing, regular consumption improves the quality of skin and aids a glowing and rejuvenated complexion,” he says.
When it comes to strong bones, studies have shown that the presence of vitamin D and calcium in vegetables fortifies the bones and strengthens the skeletal structure of the body.
Also, including a veggie soup in your regular dietary regimen prevents osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become weak and brittle) in adults and helps in bone development and growth in children.
Xavier Mugisha, a chef working at Lilies Restaurant in Remera-Kigali, says be it the broth or the vegetables, soups are prepared in such a way that the nutrition of the ingredients being used remains intact.
He says that from his experience, since vegetables are slightly steamed and not overcooked, their nutritional content remains dissolved in the broth, hence, nourishes and supplements the body.
Vegetables being low in calories and unsaturated fats are healthy for heart health.
Tabaro says having vegetable soup regularly prevents the accumulation of debris or bad cholesterol within the arteries, which in turn prevents atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease), heart attacks, heart blocks and et cetera, and maintains healthy blood circulation.
“Vegetable soup is loaded with healthy nutrients, and is extremely beneficial for overall health and wellness,” he says.
Not only does vegetable soup aid in weight loss and digestion, it also prevents gastric anomalies, strengthens bones and promotes heart functioning.
Depending on your preference, nutritionists say all you have to do is buy a few vegetables, add some spices for flavour, and make your own soup.