When you hear the word “soup,” it doesn’t fill you with the same sense of excitement as “buffet” or “Chinese takeout.” But it should! That’s because soups have an uncanny ability to transform your body composition and help you reach your goals. And it’s not just to do with calories either. It’s all about how soup interacts with your body.
When you think about soup, it’s a little weird. It’s mostly water, with just a few flavorsome ingredients floating around in the bowl. It usually tastes pretty good if you get the seasoning right, but it is explicitly low in calories. So what makes it so powerful?
Well, think back to the last time you had soup. Likely, you felt pretty full afterward, even the soup itself was just a broth. That’s because soup gives you the sensation that you’ve eaten a lot of food, even if you haven’t.
When soup enters the stomach, it starts filling it from the bottom up. If you eat around 500 ml, it begins pressing outwardly on the walls of the stomach, activating nerves that tell the brain you’re full. This pressure sensation is independent of the number of calories you eat. So you can get the same effect, whether you eat a thin broth or a thick minestrone with spaghetti, beans, and veggies.
There’s a second effect going on here as well. When you eat soup, you’re consuming a hot substance that adds heat to the body. Even if the food itself doesn’t contain many calories, the energy from the warmth tricks the body into believing that it is receiving more comforting food than it is. And so, again, this reduces overall energy consumption and hunger after the meal.
Lastly, the warming effects of spicy soups can increase the amount of metabolic fat on your body. Thus, after eating them for several weeks, you can actually increase the number of calories the body burns at rest.
Soups To Try At Home
When it comes to soups to try at home, you have all kinds of options. The best soups start with a classic base (like onion, carrot, and celery) and build from there.
- Minestrone: The classic is minestrone soup, something people living in the Mediterranean region made to use up any leftover ingredients in their pantry. It contains a mixture of vegetable clippings, tomatoes, pasta, and beans. In our view, the more legumes it contains, the better.
- Tom Kha: If you fancy something a little more exotic, find a Tom Kha soup recipe and follow it. This soup offers uplifting fragrances and flavors while also providing plenty of nutrition.
- Monggo: Another Asian soup, this time from the Philippines. Monggo is a type of mung bean dal that’s super simple to make. The main ingredients are just mung beans, garlic, stock, onion, and moringa (or spinach).
- Peanut stew: You can also try experimenting with peanut stew. The base here is onion, garlic, passata, and peanut butter that you then use as a boiling mixture for sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kale.
So, what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and try these soups for yourself.