Soup can be wonderfully satisfying and phenomenally healthy if you make it with the right ingredients. In this case, the “right” ingredients include warming herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric, and pepper, combined with creamy coconut and a hint of carrots and sweet potato for a bit of sweetness.
Two words: whole foods. Each ingredient in this carrot coconut soup is real; there’s no modified food starch, potassium chloride, soy protein isolate, caramel color, or monosodium glutamate (MSG), which are examples of the additives commonly found in canned soups. When you make homemade soup, you control the ingredients, which means that the end product is not only far more delicious but far healthier, too. In the carrot coconut soup recipe that follows, for instance, you’ll find a rich assortment of veritable superfoods, which you get to enjoy in each and every bowl.
Coconut milk is made from the expressed juice of grated coconut meat and water. About 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that can actually destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as Giardia lamblia.
Lauric acid is a type of medium chain fatty acid (MCFAs), which is easily digested and readily crosses cell membranes. MCFAs are immediately converted by your liver into energy rather than being stored as fat.
There are numerous studies showing that MCFAs promote weight loss, including one study that showed rats fed MCFAs reduced body fat and improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Yet another study found that overweight men who ate a diet rich in MCFAs lost more fat tissue, presumably due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation from the MCFA intake.In addition, coconut milk is rich in antioxidants and nutrients, including vitamins C, E and B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene (pre-vitamin A), vitamin K1, vitamin C, and calcium. Carrots can protect you against heart disease and stroke while helping you to build strong bones and a healthy nervous system. In particular, carrots are associated with a 32 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and a lower risk of heart attacks in women.
Antioxidants in carrots, including beta-carotene, may also play a role in cancer prevention. Research has shown that smokers who eat carrots more than once a week have a lower risk of lung cancer,while a beta-carotene-rich diet may also protect against prostate cancer.
Using carrots in soup may be ideal, as the nutrients such as beta-carotene and phenolic acids appear to increase when carrots are cooked.
Onions are rich in sulfur-containing compounds and other phytochemicals that may boost heart health, offer protection against cancer and diabetes, boost bone health, and more.
They’re anti-allergic, anti-histaminic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, and onions have a particularly high concentration of beneficial polyphenols, with more polyphenols than garlic, leeks, tomatoes, carrots, and red bell pepper.
Onions contain numerous anti-cancer compounds, including quercetin, which has been shown to decrease cancer tumor initiation as well as inhibit the proliferation of cultured ovarian, breast, and colon cancer cells.
Fresh garlic is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agent with immune-boosting effects. Other health-promoting compounds include oligosaccharides, arginine-rich proteins, selenium and flavonoids. Research has revealed that as allicin digests in your body, it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts with dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound.
Ginger is one of the best natural remedies if you struggle with motion sickness or nausea, and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which makes it a valuable tool for pain relief. Ginger also has broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties, to name just several of its more than 40 pharmacological actions. Ginger shows promise for fighting cancer, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, asthma, bacterial, and fungal infections, and because it is a thermogenic substance, it also has beneficial impacts on metabolism and fat storage.
Turmeric contains curcumin, the polyphenol identified as its primary active component and which exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Curcumin is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, which is one reason why it holds promise as a neuroprotective agent in a wide range of neurological disorders.
Curcumin also has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer.
This soup takes only about 30 minutes to make, but is packed with flavor and nutrition:
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
1. Chop onion and let it sit for at least five minutes to bring out its health benefits.
3. Add garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another minute.
4. Add curry powder or turmeric and mix well with onions.
5. Add carrots, and sweet potato and simmer on medium high heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Add coconut milk.
7. Blend in batches making sure blender is not more than half full. When it's hot, and the blender is too full, it can erupt and burn you. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Return to soup pot and reheat.
Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola
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