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January 1, 2013 > Mom Was Right Soup Can Make You Feel Better!

Mom Was Right Soup Can Make You Feel Better!

Do you have fond memories of a time in your childhood when you were ill and your mom or another person who loved you made homemade soup for you? Well, it turns out the healing properties of soup go beyond the psychological comforts.

ÒIÕve done some research into the history of soup-making, and IÕve found that for a long, long time, soups were made for people who were ill,Ó says Maggie Villagomez, RD, a registered dietitian in Washington HospitalÕs Food & Nutrition Services Department.

ÒFirst of all, soups donÕt require much chewing, and they are easily digested,Ó she explains. ÒPlus, soups are easy to make, and once the soup is simmering, the caregiver can watch over the sick person, rather than the soup. More recently, weÕve discovered additional benefits of soup for people who are ill. A team of scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center actually studied chicken soup, and they found it contains anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe sore throats and also slow the release of mucus. So mom was right! Chicken soup really is good for colds.Ó

And it doesnÕt necessarily have to be chicken soup to have a healing effect.

ÒYou can make soups with a variety of spices that release antioxidants that may help protect your bodyÕs cells,Ó Villagomez says. ÒFor example, the herb rosemary may help prevent damage to blood vessels that can raise your risk of heart attacks. Ginger is known to aid in digestion and prevent nausea. Paprika has anti-inflammatory properties.Ó

Villagomez notes that many kinds of vegetables often used in soups have healing properties, too. Some examples include:
* Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A, which is good for the health of your eyes and skin.
* Tomatoes also are a good source of Vitamins A and C, and cooked tomatoes actually provide more antioxidants than raw tomatoes.
* Celery is a good source of antioxidants and a study from the University of Illinois indicates it may help reduce inflammation.
* Some studies indicate garlic may help disrupt the metabolism of cancerous tumor cells.
* Beans can serve as a source of protein that is lower in fat and cholesterol than meats, as well as a good source of fiber that helps lower cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.
ÒVegetables may help reduce the risk of disease by promoting healthy body cells,Ó she says. ÒThe key is to simmer soups slowly Ð especially the vegetables. Simmering releases the vitamins and minerals into the soup, whereas boiling the soup actually leaches out the vitamins and minerals by half or more.Ó

To help women learn more about preparing a variety of soups that can help Òcure what ails you,Ó Villagomez will be giving a soup-making demonstration at an upcoming Lunch and Learn seminar at the Washington WomenÕs Center at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. The demonstration Ð which includes a chance to taste samples of the soups Ð is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16 from noon to 1 p.m. To register, call (800) 963-7070 or visit www.whhs.com/womenscenter. Space is limited, and the seminar fee is $5.

ÒThis class is part of a larger effort at Washington Hospital to promote healthy eating,Ó Villagomez says. ÒThroughout the month of January, we will be offering ÔUnbelieva-BowlsÕ of soup in the cafeteria, with a different featured soup each week. We even will have a ÔBuild-a-BowlÕ event where people can choose among various ingredients to add to their soups.Ó

To tempt your taste buds, Villagomez offers the following recipe from Cooking Light Magazine that will be featured at the class on January 16:

Curry-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup
The spices and chile sauce in this soup give it a nice heat and warmth that can help clear congestion and soothe the tummy without being too spicy.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
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3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup mirin (sweet rice wine, found in Asian section of grocery store)
6 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2-1/2 pounds)
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
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2-1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled celeriac (celery root; 1 to 1-1/2 pounds)
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2 teaspoons thawed orange juice concentrate
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1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, found in Asian section of grocery store)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 90 seconds. Add curry; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add mirin; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 4 minutes). Add squash, broth and celeriac; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until tender.
Place one-fourth of squash mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed squash mixture through a sieve over a large bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids. Repeat procedure in 3 more batches with remaining squash mixture. Stir in orange juice concentrate, Sriracha, and salt. Dollop 1 tablespoon yogurt over each serving; sprinkle with parsley.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 176
Calories from fat: 9%
Fat: 1.7g
Saturated fat: 0.4g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.4g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8g
Protein: 5.2g
Carbohydrate: 29.3g
Fiber: 4.7g
Cholesterol: 1mg
Iron: 1.3mg
Sodium: 567mg
Calcium: 107mg

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