The healing power of soup: something that both scientists and grandmothers can agree on. From helping you lose weight to warming you up from the inside out to boosting your immunity, soup is a winter staple that you shouldn’t be without.
An ancient Chinese proverb states that a good doctor uses food first, then resorts to medicine. A healing soup can be your first step in maintaining your health and preventing illness. When you slowly simmer foods over low heat, you gently leach out the energetic and therapeutic properties of the foods, preserving the nutritional value of the food and making it easier for your body to assimilate the nutrients. Here are soup suggestions that will keep you in tip-top shape all winter long.
1. Immune-Boosting Soup
Your immune system needs a lot of minerals to function properly and the typical Western diet does not always hit the mark. Keep in mind that boiling can destroy half of the vitamins found in vegetables, so cook soup over a low heat.
Simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes to 1 hour: cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, onion, oregano, shiitake mushrooms (if dried, they must be soaked first), the seaweed of your choice, and any type of squash in chicken or vegetable stock. Cabbage can increase your body’s ability to fight infection, ginger supports healthy digestion, and seaweed cleanses the body. Shiitake mushrooms contain coumarin, polysaccharides and sterols, as well as vitamins and minerals that increase your immune function; the remaining ingredients promote general health and wellbeing. Eat this soup every other day to build a strong and healthy immune system.
2. Winter-Warmer Hearty Soup
You always want to eat for the season, and warm soup provides what the body craves in cold weather. When you simmer foods into a soup, you are adding a lot of what Chinese nutrition would call “warming energy” into the food. Warming foods to feature in your soups include: leeks, onions, turnips, spinach, kale, broccoli, quinoa, yams, squash, garlic, scallions, and parsley. As a spice, turmeric aids with circulation, a great boost against the cold weather.
3. Detoxifying Broth
As a liquid, soup is already helping you flush waste from your body. When you choose detoxifying ingredients, such as the ones featured in the recipe below, you are really treating your body to an internal cleanse. This broth supports the liver in detoxification, increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and replenishes your body with essential minerals.
Simmer the following detoxifying foods for 1 to 2 hours over a low flame: anise, brussels sprouts, cabbage, Swiss chard, cilantro, collards, dandelion, fennel, garlic, fresh ginger, kale, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, mustard greens, daikon radish, seaweed, turmeric, and watercress. Strain to drink as a broth, or if you prefer, leave the cut vegetables in tact and enjoy a bowl.
You can be very creative when making soup, and the above recipes are just guidelines. The sky is the limit, so feel free to play with the ingredients and methods. Note: It is always best to serve soups fresh – for each day it spends in the fridge, the therapeutic value decreases.