February is the month of the heart. The month hosts both Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month. February is the perfect time to commit to a healthy heart.
Soup for Your Heart
Mom always told us that soup makes us feel better when we’re sick, but soup can actually help us be healthier on an ongoing basis. Along with being a comfort food, soup can do wonders for our overall nutritional intake.
Doctors and nutritionists recommend that we eat approximately 4 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Soup makes eating vegetables easy. You can pack your soup recipe with healthful produce such as turnips, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, cauliflower, and more. If you have leftover veggies from dinner tonight, toss them into tomorrow’s soup. If you don’t have fresh vegetables on hand, frozen vegetables work just fine.
Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. Beans also make a worthy addition to soup. They provide good texture as well as protein, fiber, potassium, and folate.
Soup can be prepared using lean protein sources like chicken, fish, and lean ground beef instead of fatty cuts of meat. As with veggies, if you have extra meat from dinner, you can roll it into soup later in the week, allowing you to stretch your grocery budget. Soup, in general, is very easy on the pocketbook.
To make your soup heart-friendly, start from scratch or purchase reduced-sodium broth. (Regular store-bought stocks often contain staggering amounts of sodium.) Prepare your own stock by boiling down chicken, turkey, or beef bones. Avoid cream-based soups, as they are rich in high-fat dairy ingredients that will add calories to your soup.
Warm soups, especially those that are rich in fiber, can help you feel fuller faster. Soups can help you maintain your weight—another way to have a healthier heart.