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The benefits of soup for the human body

The benefits of soup for the human body

Soup is a popular dish because of its warming and cooling properties and the satiety feeling that remains long after the meal.

This article discusses the health benefits and possible side effects of eating soup and provides simple cooking ideas for delicious and healthy soups.

What is soup

Soup is a popular dish in many cultures around the globe. Eating hot soup is a perfect way to keep warm when the weather is cold, and some types of soup can help to cool off when the weather is hot. In some traditions, soup is considered an obligatory part of a daily meal plan; in others, it is perceived as an occasional dish. 

Soup is a multi-component dish consisting of a large amount of liquid and various solid components. Collins dictionary defines soup as “liquid food made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables in water.”

Each type of soup has a distinct taste and appearance, achieved by varying ingredients and cooking procedures.

Types of soup

There are several ways to classify soups that differ in terms of the grouping criteria. 

The most common classifications are as follows: 

Classification according to the serving temperature

This classification distinguishes between hot and cold soups.

Hot soups make up the most extensive group of soups. These include soups made from fish, meat, mushrooms, vegetables, legumes, and a combination of main ingredients.

Types of soup

Cold soup is the common name for the group of soups that are served cold. The temperature of a cold soup should be around 43-53 degrees Fahrenheit. Recipes for such soups, as well as their names, vary from region to region. The most well-known cold soups are gazpacho and salmorejo

Classification according to the preparation technology

Clear soups consist of solid ingredients and clear broths. Examples of clear soups are French onion soup, fish soup (ukha), and Dan Hua Tang.

Creamy soups are pureed soups. All the ingredients of such soups are mashed, mixed, or blended at some stage of cooking. This preparation method assists in the faster digestion of fats and carbohydrates. Such soups often have a relatively high-calorie count because of the ingredients added to thicken them, such as cream and potatoes.

The presence of browned ingredients characterizes roasted soups. The browning is achieved by frying ingredients in fat. For example, browned tomato puree, sometimes seasoned with flour, is added to many soups. Similarly, fish or meat can be fried before adding it to the liquid. Roasted soups are usually served with finely chopped aromatic herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, coriander, etc.), sour cream, or creme fraiche (except for fish soups). Examples of soups in this group: are solyanka soup and borscht.

Thickened soups are the ones where a thickening agent is used in cooking. These can be flour, eggs, and fermented milk products. An example of a thickened soup is brinchoba soup. 

Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

TOP-10 ingredients
for your health and
balanced meal plan
Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

As Hippocrates said, you are what you eat. The meaning of this phrase concerns every person, who takes care of his health. The food we eat has a big impact on our vital activity, state of health and quality of life.

Nowadays healthy diet is very popular and everyone knows that he should give up junk food. But not everyone knows what he must eat except for grain, vegetables and protein food.

It's essential to diversify your diet. Every bite of food should provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are necessary for good health.

So how can we have a proper nutrition plan?

We prepared a PDF-file to help you. It contains TOP-10 ingredients, which should be added to everyone's diet.

Combinedsoups are characteristic of Asian cuisine (China, Japan), where a number of components are added to the ready-made broth. Examples of such foods are ramen and pho soup.

Sweet soups are prepared from fresh, frozen, or dried fruits and berries. These include fruit soups, usually served as dessert, and some milk soups.

Classification according to the liquid used

Water is used in vegetable soups.

The broth is used in Asian soups or some creamy soups.

Milk is used in Peruvian or Polish milk soups.

Fermented milk products are used in Cypriot trahanas soup.

Classification according to the main component

This kind of classification is difficult because each soup is a multi-component dish. That’s why the division is conditional and is primarily reflective of the ingredient used in the preparation of broth.

Meat soups are made with beef broth.

Chicken soups are made with chicken broth.

Vegetable soups are based on vegetable broth.

Fish soups are either made with fish broth or contain fish.

Mushroom soups are either made with mushroom broth or contain mushrooms.

Classification by regional distribution

There are many regional differences when it comes to soup preparation. As such, this classification can be endless. Some examples include:

In Western European cuisine, soups are often clear and creamed soup types (for example, onion soup and celery root soup).

In Baltic cuisine, soup is often cooked using roasted vegetables (for example, Lithuanian borscht) and dairy (for instance, cold borscht).

Soups in Central Asian cuisine are either fried or sour-milk-based cold or hot soups (for example, Dou Jiang).

Soups in Slavic cuisine are often based on roasted vegetables or meat (for example, Ukrainian borscht, Russian shchi, and the Polish tomato soup broth), as well as cold soups (for instance, okroshka).

Health benefits of soup

A properly cooked soup contains a balanced set of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals. Depending on the cooking method and the ingredients’ quality, soups can benefit our health.

Eating soups promote better weight management and lower the risk of obesity. Some studies show that people who eat soup consume fewer calories per day than those who do not. Soup consumption among the US adults has been associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality.

Soup and satiety
Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults

Soup helps to increase vegetable intake. Many people do not like vegetables, but some soups (like creamy or mashed ones) are an excellent way to smuggle more plant-based food, fiber, vitamins, and minerals into the diet. Higher fiber intake and other benefits associated with eating vegetables in soups correlate with better health and fewer chronic diseases. Eating vegetable soups is also associated with a more prolonged feeling of satiety.

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption of US Adults by Level of Variety

Soups also help to prepare the gastrointestinal tract to digest more complex food. This is why traditionally, soups are served as starters or appetizers, followed by the heavier main dish. 

Proteins from soup are easy to absorb. This is because the structure of the protein molecules is partially destroyed during boiling, which contributes to their better breakdown by the gastrointestinal tract enzymes.

Soups made with fish, meat, or bone broth are an excellent source of collagen, essential for the beauty and health of the intestines, connective tissues, and brain.

Collagen and gelatin
Collagen VI in healthy and diseased nervous system

Soups provide internal warmth in cold weather and can serve as a cooling agent when it is hot outside.

Soup can help restore the fluid balance in the body. This is because soups, water, beverages, and fruits, are counted towards the total daily water intake.

Water Intake, Water Balance, and the Elusive Daily Water Requirement

Potential harmful effects of certain soups

Everything can have side effects, and soup is no exception. Soups are not for everyone, and individual health conditions should always be considered. 

Those suffering from diseases associated with high acidity (e.g., gastritis and ulcers) should avoid sour and fermented soups, which can irritate the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. Instead, it is best to opt for soups cooked in bone broth.

Soups with fatty broth are not recommended for people with duodenal ulcers, peptic ulcers, inflammation of the stomach, and cardiovascular diseases. This is because these conditions are associated with problems relating to fat absorption. 

Mushroom soups have a high nutritional density and low-calorie content but contain a large amount of extractives that stimulate the gastric secretion and are not always well tolerated, especially by people who suffer from stomach and duodenum-related diseases. In addition, mushroom protein is difficult to absorb and can cause discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract.

Mushroom soups

Soups with cabbage can be a good low-calorie meal but are not suitable for those who suffer from flatulence, bloating, and pain after eating such soups.

Pea soup is a source of minerals (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, and iron), vitamins (B, A, C, E, PP), and vegetable protein necessary for muscle tissues. This soup contains indigestible dietary fiber that improves intestinal motility and helps to prevent gastrointestinal diseases. But along with beneficial properties, it has contraindications that include individual intolerance and allergy to peas. Also, pea soup is not recommended for people who suffer from constipation and hemorrhoids.

Soups based on meat broth can contain a lot of purines. Because excessive consumption of foods rich in purines increases the risk of urate stones, these soups are not recommended for people with urolithiasis. In this case, it is better to choose soups with fish, vegetables, or bone broths.

Common myths about soup

  • Soup has no vitamins

Although considered a myth, this statement has some foundation. This is because the heat treatment reduces or completely eradicates certain nutrients in the ingredients. But at the same time, the thermal preparation amplifies the effect of other nutrients.

For example, vitamin C is no longer present in the carrots after boiling, but beta-carotene (vitamin A) is much better absorbed from cooked carrots than raw carrots. Another example is the soup broth because the minerals and extractive substances it contains are formed during the cooking process. 

  • As starters, soups dilute gastric acid and reduce the concentration of digestive enzymes, thereby impairing the absorption of food

This statement is incorrect because gastric acid and digestive enzymes are secreted whenever solid food needs to be processed. Bigger pieces of food stay in the stomach for relatively long periods, allowing them to be ground into a liquid slurry known as chyme. By contrast, liquids leave the stomach almost immediately and require only a small amount of gastric acid and digestive enzymes.

So, the amount of gastric acid and digestive enzymes needed for digestion depends on a soup’s composition, as its components are sorted in the stomach into liquid and solid parts, which are digested in different ways.

The configuration of the human gastroduodenal junction in the separate emptying of liquids and solids

  • Soup is a dietary product that promotes weight loss

This depends on the kind of soup and the amount consumed. For example, vegetable soup with low-fat chicken broth has a low-calorie count and is excellent for losing weight. But a pureed soup made with cream, butter, and fatty croutons has a high-calorie count and will not help with weight loss.

If you want to use soup as a weight management tool, choose soups rich in plant fiber (vegetables, legumes) that contain no or little thickening agents, such as cream, butter, or mashed potatoes. Low-fat meat, fish, or bone broth-based soups are also good options because such soups are rich in protein which is necessary for a balanced diet. 

How to cook a delicious soup full of beneficial properties

An important factor influencing soup’s nutrient content is its cooking method. The following tips will help to maximize the benefits of soup:

  • Soups should be cooked on the second broth. This means that the first broth should be discarded soon after the water boiled and replaced with fresh water. This manipulation will help eliminate some harmful substances present in meat or fish and make the broth clearer.
  • Remove fat and foam from the broth for the same reason as above.
  • Add salt as soon as the water starts to boil.
  • Avoid adding too much salt because excess salt negatively affects blood pressure.
  • Use spices and herbs to enrich the soup with antioxidants and add additional flavor.
  • Cooking on low heat helps preserve more vitamins.
  • Avoid varying temperatures during cooking. It is best to maintain a gentle simmer throughout.
  • Add the most hard-to-digest ingredients first to allow enough time for them to cook.
  • Add ingredients in turn, allowing the water to return to simmer before adding the next ingredient.
  • Add any acidic foods last because some vegetables do not soften well in an acidic environment. 

Easy and nutrient-dense soup recipes

Spicy one-pot bean and pumpkin soup

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 30 minutes, 4-6 servings.


  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini or pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 ½ cups of vegetable broth 
  • A handful of pecans or walnuts
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp black or white ground pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh parsley (for a garnish)


Chop onions, bell pepper, nuts, and garlic. Rinse and drain the beans. Put all the ingredients into a pot. When the soup boils, cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with fresh parsley.

Creamy tomato and bell pepper soup

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 40-50 minutes, 4 servings.

Creamy tomato and bell pepper soup


  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ⅔ cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Chili pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Wash the peppers and tomatoes and cut them in halves. Remove the seeds. Peel the onion and cut it into 8 pieces. You can peel the garlic, but it is not essential.

Heat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a large baking sheet, cover it with baking paper, and lay out the vegetables – peppers skin-side up, tomatoes skin-side down with onion pieces and garlic in between them. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Put the baked peppers in a plastic bag and leave them aside for a couple of minutes. This will help separate the skin from the flesh. When the vegetables cool down, remove the skin from the tomatoes, garlic, and peppers.

Pour the broth into a pot and add all the vegetables. Season the soup with salt, ground black pepper, and balsamic vinegar. You can add chili pepper to taste. Cook everything together over low heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mix. Add the basil leaves and remove from the heat. Wait for the soup to cool down and mix with a blender. 

Minestrone soup

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time about 60 minutes, 6 servings.


  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 20 oz pumpkin
  • ¼ celery root
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1 onion
  • 3 ½ oz leek
  • 7 oz carrots
  • 7 oz zucchini
  • 7 oz potatoes
  • 7 oz cabbage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can cannelloni or pinto beans
  • 5 oz green beans (can be from frozen)
  • 7 ½ cups of broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 3 ½ oz of thin pasta
  • Fresh parsley for seasoning
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit (no fan). Cut peppers and tomatoes into halves and remove the seeds. Remove the seeds and fibers from the inside of the pumpkin. Peel the celery and parsley roots. Place the vegetables on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil, and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the tray.

Peel and dice potatoes and set them aside. Cut cabbage leaves into squares and set aside. 

Peel the onion, leeks, and carrots. Together with zucchini, cut into small cubes. Place on the baking sheet, season with salt, and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and place in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, mix well, and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Remove the skin and roots from the tomatoes and peppers. Puree the tomatoes. Cut bell peppers, pumpkin, celery root, parsley root, onion, leek, zucchini, carrots, and potatoes into cubes.

Add olive oil, cabbage, bay leaves, and garlic to a soup pot. Sauté over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add rinsed and drained beans and green beans. Mix well. 

Add the rest of the vegetables to the soup pot. Pour in the broth, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for about 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the uncooked pasta five minutes before the end of cooking.

Fish soup

Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 20 minutes, 4 servings.


  • 17 oz pollock or cod fillets
  • 2 tbsp wheat or rice flour
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 6 1/3 cups of vegetable broth
  • ½ onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsley root
  • Fresh dill and parsley for seasoning
  • Spices: salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup of 18% fat cream (optional)


Peel the onion and cut into cubes. Peel garlic and cut in half. Sauté onion and garlic in a wide pot in oil and butter. Add peeled and grated carrots and parsley root. Fry for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fish soup

Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, a pinch of chili powder, and nutmeg powder. Add a bay leaf and allspice. Cook covered for about 10 minutes.

Cut the fish fillets into pieces. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of paprika, and roll in flour. Fry in a pan. Transfer the fish to the broth and cook for 2 minutes over low heat. Add mustard, chopped dill, parsley, and cream (optional). Cook over low heat for a couple more minutes. 

Bon Appétit!


Soup and satiety

Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption of US Adults by Level of Variety

Collagen and gelatin

Collagen VI in healthy and diseased nervous system

Water Intake, Water Balance, and the Elusive Daily Water Requirement

The configuration of the human gastroduodenal junction in the separate emptying of liquids and solids