Your Vegetable Soup Secrets
A healthy diet is one of the secrets towards a disease-free life. Eating more vegetables is long-lived medical advice for a healthy diet. In fact, meals rich in veggies have been tied to reduced risks of heart attack, high blood pressure, strokes, cognitive decline, macular degeneration, digestive tract cancers among other health benefits.
Retaining as many vitamins as possible
Vegetable soup is one of the richest foods that you can prepare for your family with lots of good nutrients to offer.
However, the method used to purchase, store and prepare the veggies dramatically affects their nutritional value. Here are four vegetable soup secrets to help you reap maximum nutritional benefits from your favorite vegetable soup.
Farm to Table
When it comes to vegetables, their nutritional clock begins to tick right after being picked.
It is possible to lose nutrients as the veggies go through some processes such as transport to the distribution center, get displayed in the grocery store, purchasing and storing them in your fridge. It is, therefore, true that the more time spent away from the plant, the more the nutrients lost.
For this reason, buying the vegetables from farmers markets is never a bad idea. This will help reduce the time from the harvest to the table.
Additionally, you could also consider having a personal vegetable garden where you plant your own vegetables and herbs.
As soon as you get the vegetables from the market or farm, it is advisable to eat them right away as they have the maximum nutrient value then. However, if you have to store them, put them in your freezer or refrigerator right away.
The cold temperature will help minimize the degradation of nutrients. So you should, therefore, use a fridge immediately and preferably one where humidity is higher this will help minimize the degradation. Additionally, ensure that you store the vegetables in an air-tight container or bag.
When storing the vegetables, however, avoid cutting, chopping or trimming the vegetables before storage. This is because cutting exposes the nutrients to oxygen and light, which are prime nutrient degraders.
Additionally, chopping raises the respiration rate, making the sugars inside to break down and release carbon dioxide. This could cause a change in the texture or taste as well as increase the spoilage rate of the product.
As much as boiling is the basic method to make vegetable soup at home, it is unfortunate that it degrades most of the vitamins.
And this is primarily because of the presence of water which is an enemy when it comes to losing nutrients and vitamins when cooking. So, for this reason, when cooking your vegetables, it is essential to look for other methods other than boiling.
For instance, use steaming, which is an easy method to cook without damaging the nutrients. If you must boil the veggies, preserve the nutrient-rich water used to boil and use it as sauce or soup.
You could also consider microwaving as it outranks steaming when it comes to retaining antioxidants. Additionally, compared to pressure cooking, boiling or baking, microwaving is still the lead in maintaining the nutrients.
This is because it uses less heat and has a shorter cooking time compared to other methods. With minimal water and the right cooking time, microwave cooking is a win to maximize content in vegetable soup.
Make the Soup with the Vegetable Peels On
More often than not, the first step in preparing vegetable soup is to tear off the peel and throw them away. In fact, many times your bin is filled with skins and peels from the vegetables you prepared.
However, this makes you miss out on a lot of nutrients. For instance, an unpeeled potato has higher values of iron, fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamins K when compared to a peeled one.
Additionally, while carrots are recommended for their many health benefits, the outer flesh of the carrot contains a few non-nutritive phytochemicals compared to the inner part.
For this reason, when preparing vegetable soup, it is essential to take advantage of the peels on the vegetable to maximize their nutrient value.
In case the skin or crusts of the vegetables are hard for you, consider mixing them with a fruit in the blender to make them more consumable.
It is beyond all doubt that vegetables play a significant role in the overall health of your body.
Unfortunately, as much as the vitamins in vegetables are essential for your body, it is impossible to retain 100 percent of them before consuming them.
With the above vegetable soup secrets, it is possible to preserve as much vitamins and nutrients content as possible in your soup.