It’s time to think about soup. Like, all the time. On cold nights. Or days. Or mornings.
These days, it seems like I could eat soup anytime. Maybe I am really Japanese, where it is common to down miso soup for breakfast, Tokyo-style.
What’s more, I found out recently that my passion for the hot, the steamy and the liquid doesn’t just stem from my near-obsession with constantly warming my belly with comfort food.
Soup can be medicine as well.
According to the health site Livestrong.com, soup provides a source of winter fluid, vegetables and high-energy proteins. For those of us prone to chilblains as well as autoimmune condition sufferers and those with thyroid issues, a hot bowl of soup, especially the brothy kind, is not only an instant core-warmer, it also is an immunity restorer. According to Dr. Nobuhiro Yoshimizu, author of The Fourth Treatment for Medical Refugees, raising the core body temperature by only 1 degree will increase immune function by a whopping 40%. Don’t cheat and go for the canned variety, however, unless the container specifically says “BPA free.” Many canned soups can also be high in sodium.
The Chemistry of Soup: Why Bone Broth is SO DARN GOOD For You
All those bones, meats, veggies and hodge-podgey things from the refrigerator that you throw into your soup pot will do more than turn to mush as they boil. Remember those trips to your Grandmother’s house? If yours was like mine, there was always a big pot of something boiling on the stove all afternoon. When I was feeling a little low, whatever was in that pot always gave me the lift I needed.
My Mexican great-grandmother was also a big proponent of jalapenos and tequila shots to cure what ails ‘ya, but that is a topic for another day…
It turns out that Grandma really knew what she was doing. There are several reasons why the steamy goodness of broth and broth-based soups is a plus for your health, especially if you make your stock from free-range beef, chicken or fish bones:
- Brothy soups like Borscht, Pho, Mexican pozole, and just plain bone broth– where beef, chicken or other meat bones boil in a crock pot for 6 to 48 hours– are treasure trove of healthy minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus;
- Bone broth is a great sources of protein, which could be up to 50% in a well-boiled broth. Collagen is the main protein source in bones and turns into gelatin when boiled down. Gelatin helps to repair joints and has been known to help with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic autoimmune system conditions. Bone broth also contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which can reduce joint pain.
- Glycine, found in bone broth, stimulates the production of stomach acid, which is actually a GOOD thing, since most acid reflux conditions are actually a product of too little acid in the stomach, not too much. Glycine is essential for fat digestion in the small intestine and helps in detoxification. It is needed for the synthesis of uric acid and glutathione, two vital antioxidants;
- Bone broth is a natural source of the amino acid glutamine, which can help repair “leaky gut.” It may also be one of the reasons why bone broth is so anti-inflammatory as well;
- When you make stock at home, go for bones that contain marrow. There is a reason why your old hound is tearing into that after-dinner bone so intently. Marrow is not only delicious, it is nutritious as well and is high in mono-unsaturated fat (the good kind of fat).
A great article and easy recipe for bone broth can be found here. And did you know that these days many restaurants, like Brodo Broth Company in NYC, are actually selling bone broth to go? When you travel, especially through major cities, be sure to check with Yelp or the official restaurant guide in that city for health-conscious restaurants and health food stores that may carry this medicine-in-a-cup.
And finally, drum roll please, you can find the EASIEST version of my all-time favorite soup, Tom Yum or Thai Coconut Soup, here. In my opinion, Tom Yum is perfect for ANY weather, anytime and for anything that ails you!
TIP: For this yummy soup or for any of the recipes referenced in this article, you can make your OWN SUPER-NUTRITIONAL STOCK by following a simple bone broth recipe first, and using that as the basis for your soup. Also, always try to buy free-range, hormone free and organic bones for your stock and ingredients for your soups in general. If you do have to go with commercial, non-organic bones for your broth, be sure to scrape the fat off the top once the broth cools. This is where the majority of toxic substances will gather. Finally, always avoid microwaving for reheating. Use the stovetop instead!
MORE REFERENCES AND RECIPES FOR YUMMY, HEARTY, GOOD-FOR-YOU WINTER SOUPS:
Do you have a yummy, good-for-you soup winter recipe you would like to share? Please do so in the comments section below!