The Power of Homemade Soup

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One of the most common dietary recommendations that I make to patients is to eat more homemade soup. Soup is economical, simple to prepare, and can be made in large volumes that are easily stored or frozen. This is the perfect combination for busy people looking for healthy low-cost meals. In addition, homemade soup is typically prepared with a lot of vegetables, and I find that even those that have a less-than-friendly relationship with their veggies are somewhat soothed by their presence in a well-spiced broth.

There is also a more complex medicinal reason that I love recommending soups. Homemade soups seem to have less of the most common dietary allergens and irritants than other meals. For instance, it is easy to convince someone who is gluten-sensitive or allergic to dairy to switch their lunchtime meal from a turkey and cheese sandwich to a fulfilling bowl of homemade chili. With this one change, we are removing ingredients that rob the body of its energy and vitality and replacing it with a power-packed replenishing and fulfilling meal.

Soups also have a special place in Chinese medical philosophy. East Asian Medical Practitioners often recommend soups to those with weak digestive energy, and in my experience it is a rare Westerner over the age of 30 who has absolutely no problems with digestion from time to time. As one of the foundations of our health, the digestive system is where we derive our ‘qi’ and ‘blood’. In Western terms we can think of this as energy to do work and maintain appropriate mental function.

It is important to note that while homemade soup is healthful, canned soup is not recommended at this time. A recent study showed a 1,200% spike in the chemical BPA found in urine following five days of eating canned soup. BPA is used in the lining of most canned goods and has proved to be a disrupter of the endocrine system. In other words, instead of being part of a healthy diet, eating canned soup could lead to hormonal imbalance and other chronic diseases. So stick with whole food recipes prepared in your own kitchen to ensure that you’re deriving the most benefit.