Throughout the ages, medicines have improved and fad treatments have come and gone, yet one remedy has remained constant: soup. For centuries, a bowl of this warming, nutritious dish has found itself in the hands of people suffering from colds and illnesses. But why? Can soup really make us better? Or is it all a myth?
A History of Medicinal Soup
Did you know that convalescent cookery has been around for thousands of years? As far back as the 2nd Century, the Roman Empire’s greatest physician, Galen, prescribed chicken soup as a cure for migraines, constipation and fever. Fast forward to the 12th Century and physicians recommended soup, which was referred to as the “Jewish penicillin”, to fight the common cold. In the present day, it is one of the first foods we turn to when feeling poorly. So what’s the big deal?
Can Soup Really Make Us Feel Better?
While soup may not be as effective as prescribed medicines, there is evidence to suggest that it can, in fact, aid recovery when we come down with a common cold or flu. Here are the top reasons why soup may help us feel better when unwell:
- It’s served hot! Not only do heated foods physically warm you up from the inside out, which provides relief if feeling feverish, but they also help to break down mucus and reduce congestion. Additionally, warm liquids are known for helping to soothe a sore throat, which is a symptom of many illnesses.
- Rehydration. Whether it’s due to sweating, fever, diarrhoea or vomiting, dehydration is a common side effect of being ill. To combat this, soup is a great source of both fluid and electrolytes, which will help you recover.
- Nutritional benefits. Most soups, such as Butternut Squash Soup or Lentil Soup, serve as a great source of vegetables, vitamins, minerals and proteins that may otherwise be difficult to digest when feeling under the weather. Moreover, soups are loaded with both anti-inflammatory ingredients and disease-fighting ingredients that give your immune system a boost.
- It’s not a solid. When unwell, it is more important than ever to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients we need to help us recover. However, if you’re dealing with tummy troubles, loss of appetite or have found it difficult to keep food down, you may want to steer away from solids and choose foods that are easy to digest, such as soups.
- Comfort food. Comfort foods, like soup, are enjoyable and are often nostalgic, bringing back fond childhood memories of being cared for when ill. As a result, they also make us feel happier, which is a big factor in brightening up when feeling unwell.
If I’m Well, Why Should I Eat Soup?
So, if you’re not ill, does that mean there’s no need for you to eat soup until you feel poorly again? Absolutely not! As well as soup being a wonderfully delicious meal, there are so many benefits of eating this dish, even when you’re feeling as fit as a fiddle:
- Feel full more easily. Have you ever wondered why soup is often served as a starter before a main course? Due to its high water volume, having a small bowl of soup before a main meal can help you to feel more satisfied once you’ve finished your dinner, without consuming many more calories. And, if soup is eaten as a main meal, you can fill up on a higher volume of food, yet still consume less calories, due to the energy density of soup being high. As a result, you will be fuller quicker and for longer, so there’s less chance of you overeating too!
- Weight loss. According to research published in PLOS ONE, those who don’t eat soup are approximately 40% more likely to be overweight compared to those who regularly enjoy soup. As well as increasing feelings of fullness, soup can help you to reduce the total number of calories you consume in a day, which can help with weight loss.
- Digestive detox. Soups are filled with all the nutrients to naturally support your body’s detox organs and, consequently, help to cleanse the unwanted toxins from your body and improve your general health. Detoxing your body will help you to wake up feeling more alive, awake and full of energy, which is great for improving your mental health and wellbeing too!
- Keep you warm in the colder months. If none of the nutritional or health benefits have convinced you to introduce soup into your diet, perhaps the colder days will… If you’re struggling with the chilly weather this autumn, indulging in a bowl of hot soup will increase your body temperature to warm you up from the inside out.
Soup Detox: Where to Start?
Want to cleanse your body with healthy soups but don’t know where to start? MyDetoxDiet offer a delightful Soup & Juice Fast Plan that contains a mix of hot and cold soups and juices that you’ll love. With everything from a traditional French Onion Soup to a more adventurous Russian Cabbage Detox Soup, as well as a tempting variety of pressed juices, this flavoursome plan will help you to cleanse your body without feeling any of the restrictions of a regular dull diet.