Heart Health Month may be nearing an end but we’re still full of heart-healthy ideas! Today we’re exploring a wintertime favorite: soup. From veggies to protein, heart-healthy soups are definitely in season. Check out our ideas for the best heart-healthy soups:
Beans: Beans are an awesome way to make “hearty” soup. Beans are a terrific source of minerals, fiber and protein, each of which will keep you satiated and work hard for your body for hours beyond mealtime. And this phyto-nutrient doesn’t have saturated fats like animal proteins. Plus, beans are linked to lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease. There are many varieties of beans that contribute to many different soups ranging from chili to veggies stews. You can also puree beans to make a thicker soup stock or cream base.
Lentils: These small but powerful legumes are chock full of heart health benefits. They are known to lower cholesterol due to their high fiber content. They also contain lots of folate and magnesium that supports healthy blood flow to keep oxygen and nutrients circulating in the body. Lentils are easy to cook and their nutty flavor pairs nicely in nearly any soup.
Leeks: This food may not be on your regular grocery list but it should if you’re hoping to improve your heart health. Leeks contain both polyphenols and kaempferol which help protect blood vessels that are essential to the normal flow of blood to and from the heart and throughout the body. Additionally, leeks have a healthy dose of folate that also has cardio-protective properties. Add chunked leeks to any soup or puree it for a creamier option.
Tomatoes: These juicy red fruits contain fabulous antioxidants like Vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, folate and lycopene. Studies show that tomatoes lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, plaque buildup in arteries, blood pressure and inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Tomatoes are a great addition to soups, stews and chili, or try a tomato-base soup spiced to your individual taste.
Chicken: Among animal protein sources, chicken is certainly one of the best because it is naturally low in fat. Chicken is a wonderful way to make a hearty soup without using fattier and cholesterol-laden red meat. Also, a chicken bone broth is full of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It helps reduce inflammation that con lead to cardiovascular problems.
Vegetables: There are countless vegetables that support heart (and whole body) health. From green leafy cruciferous vegetables like kale, spinach and cabbage, to brightly colored veggies such as peppers, sweet potatoes and squash, they are all packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phyto-nutrients that are fantastic for the heart. It’s important to include a range of vegetables in your diet to ensure you are getting the diverse nutrients plants have to offer.
Miso: Miso, which comes from soybeans, contains isoflavones that make it a proven way to lower cholesterol. In fact, it is often a natural alternative to prescription cholesterol medications. You may know miso as a Japanese-style soup with seaweed and tofu. You can also create other soups using a miso broth as a base for heart health.
Wishing you warmth and heart health this season and always!
Sources: American Heart Association, Active, Eating Well, Everyday Health, The World’s Healthiest Foods, Mind Body Green and Miso Recipes
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