Whether you’re sipping warm broth at the office or stirring chicken stew on a snowy day, there’s something undeniably comforting about soup. So warm. So filling. So #wholesome.
Sure, your grandma sang its praises — and you do feel awfully good after a cup ‘o noodles — but what’s the real nutritional value of soup? Is soup healthy? Or is it all in your head?
So, is soup actually good for you?
In most cases, yes!
Most soups are hydrating, filling, and packed with nutrients from veggies, slow-simmered proteins, and mineral-rich broth.
However, some may have unnecessary ingredients and a bunch of salt. So keep an eye on that nutrition label and ingredients to make sure you’re only getting the good stuff.
Feeling lukewarm about soup? Grab a spoon and take a seat.
7 ways soup is good for you
Good news! Soups are:
- tummy-filling (great for healthy weight loss!)
- easy to whip up with a stove, microwave, or slow cooker
1. Soups are nutritious
Think about the last time you cooked chicken or boiled a pot of vegetables. What did you do with the leftover stock? Did you toss it in the sink or trash?
That isn’t a thing with soup.
When soup is made from scratch, it retains whatever nutrients are in the ingredients. You’re getting all the goodness of bone stock (including collagen-packed gelatin) and veggie broth.
Head’s up: Science says the heat from cooking *does* affect vegetables’ vitamin retention — sometimes for better, sometimes worse.
2. Soups are hydrating
Your body is about 60 percent water (that’s why you always have that drip, right?). To keep all systems running smoothly, you need to top up your H2O on the reg.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your water intake can come from drinks *and* foods.
Whether you’re sipping broth, tucking into a bowl of cabbage soup, or dipping a spoon into creamy chicken noodle heaven (oy yay), you’re also hydrating.
3. Soups might keep the sniffles away
Let’s keep it 100: It’s possible to improve immune function, especially if a person is deficient in nutrients needed for immune function, or if their body is currently dealing with an infection. But there *are* lifestyle habits linked to proper immune system function as a preventative measure.
Healthy habit #1: Eat foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A review of 80+ studies found that fruit and veggie intake can be linked to better immune function and reduced inflammation. #winning
Vegetable soup is a great way to boost your overall health and support your immune system. Take tomato soup, for instance. It’s brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants like flavonoids, lycopene, and vitamins C and E.
Will chicken noodle soup cure my cold?
Health experts say this salty elixir soothes symptoms (the steamy broth could open congested airways), but it’s no magic cure.
Kicking a cold to the curb requires time, rest, healthy foods, and hydration.
4. Soups can support healthy weight loss
Yep, soups can be slimming.
Research has linked soup consumption with a lower risk of obesity. But the same study found that soup-sippers tend to eat more salt. If you’re consuming excessive salt, it could negatively impact your blood pressure.
Soup is also hella filling, which could curb snack cravings. All that broth is like chugging a glass of water with your meal. It’s hydrating and satisfying. To make soup extra, throw in a source of protein like chicken or beans. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient.
5. Soups = all the health perks, fewer calories
Because soup is high in liquid, it’s extra filling. This may help cut down on your overall calorie intake if that’s what you’re after. However, you shouldn’t try soup-only diets to promote weight loss.
These fad diets are typically super low in calories and can end up doing more harm than good when it comes to overall health. Instead, try eating soup before lunch or dinner for a filling, nourishing appetizer or enjoy a bowl of veggie and chicken soup for a nutrient-dense afternoon snack.
6. Soups are easy on the wallet
Unless you’re springing for fancy-schmancy boxed broths, soup is surprisingly affordable. Here’s why:
- Use up all the food you bought. Next time you’re tempted to toss out wilted kale or a wrinkly potato, stop. Make soup instead!
- Stretch protein portions into multiple meals. Instead of smashing a whole chicken breast in one go, cube it into a soup tureen that will last for days!
- Get less takeout. Pro tip: If you want to kick the DoorDash habit, you’ve got to keep more meals in your fridge and freezer. Make a giant batch of soup, then freeze containers for quick, cheap dinners later.
7. Soups are quick and easy
Wanna reach peak #CozyCore in T-minus 5 minutes? Heat up a bowl of your favorite soup.
Or, you could do the following:
- Toss some soup ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning.
- Set about your day.
- Have a warm, nourishing dinner waiting on you like a faithful pupper when you’re ready to wind down. 🐶
Soup is practically prep-free. (You can even nom it for breakfast.)
So, you’re now convinced that soup is cozy AF, simple, and healthy. But what type of soup is the *best* kind?
Tomatoes are brimming with healthy plant compounds. From just one tomato, you’ll get:
- 33 calories
- 7 grams of carbs
- 1.6 gram of protein
- less than 1 gram of fat
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- vitamin A
- antioxidants like lycopene
Even better: Tomato soup is great year-round. Try it piping hot in the winter and as a refreshing gazpacho in the summer.
|full of vitamins||not much protein|
|low fat||less filling than creamy, protein-packed soups|
|tasty all year||some folks can’t stomach tomatoes’ acidity|
Chicken noodle soup
Chicken noodle soup is a versatile sweater weather classic.
Make it with a creamy base for something extra lush and filling. Or opt for low sodium broth for a heart-healthy bowl of protein, veggies, and carbs.
|full of filling, energizing protein||tend to be high in sodium (read the label if you’re buying it canned!)|
|the mix of meat, veggies, and noodles = a complete meal||white noodles = lots o’ carbs, not much fiber (so try and choose whole-wheat noodles when possible)|
|the variety of chicken soup recipes means there’s something for everyone||canned varieties often include excess fat, low-quality meat, or added sugar|
Velvety broccoli-cheddar soup. Luscious chicken or veggie chili. Creamy potato soup. They’re all delicious AF — but come with a hefty dose of calories.
|tasty and satisfying||usually high calorie|
|some are packed with vitamin-rich root veggies (Whole30-friendly soups, anyone?)||often high in saturated fat|
|full of calcium-rich dairy||can be full of salt|
One ounce of miso typically has:
- 56 calories
- 2 grams of fat
- 43 percent of your daily recommended sodium
- lots of manganese, vitamin K, copper, and zinc
Miso is a fermented paste that adds umami flavor to any dish. Sippable in the morning or evening, make it a meal by adding tofu for protein and vegetables or seaweed for vitamins and antioxidants.
|typically low in calories||high sodium content|
|vegetarian-friendly||requires a protein addition to make it a meal|
You make bone broth by simmering animal bones or carcasses in water.
It’s commonly used to give sauces and gravies extra flavor. But you can also warm up a mug of bone broth, chicken broth, or beef broth and sip it as a soup.
|contains some minerals like calcium and magnesium (though amounts vary depending on preparation)||not suitable as a meal replacement|
|easy to prep||can be high in sodium|
|low calorie||more research is necessary to prove marketers’ health claims|
|warming and soothing on cold days|
What to watch out for in soup
Soup-sipping can quickly become high in calories if your soup is full of:
- added sugar
- cream or cheese
You should also pay attention to portion sizes and avoid overloading a soup with toppings like bacon, shredded cheese, crushed chips, or sour cream.
Wanna give soup a whirl? Try some of these tasty, nutritious recipes:
Is soup healthy? Usually, yes!
Soup can be filling, low calorie, nutrient-dense, and supportive of your immune system and weight loss journey.
Maximize the benefits by avoiding soups that are full of salt, sugar, or cream. Look for soups brimming with vegetables and sources of filling protein and healthy fat instead.