Tomato Soup: How To Turn This Classic Into A Superfood MealPosted by FJ Leto on February 4, 2022
When I think of superfoods, my mind doesn’t usually jump to tomato soup.
If you grew up in a household where Campbell’s soup and grilled cheese were dietary staples, you wouldn’t necessarily associate that combo with a plethora of health benefits – and in most cases, you would be right.
Not to pick on Campbell’s, but I will use them as an example because they are a brand many people associate with all kinds of soups, including tomato.
This is what is in a can of Campbell’s tomato soup:
Ingredients: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Water, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Salt, Potassium Salt, Natural Flavoring, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Monopotassium Phosphate, Celery Extract, Garlic Oil.
So mainly water, processed tomatoes, gluten and sugar, with a smattering of preservatives and flavorings.
Though I would not consider this a superfood meal, there is a way to turn your classic tomato soup into something your doctor and nutritionist would be proud of.
1. Use Fresh or Canned Tomatoes As Your Soup Base
Tomatoes contain a carotenoid called lycopene, which is a very well-researched antioxidant with many health benefits, including:
- Reduced cancer risk
- Reduced cholesterol
- Improved heart health
- Improved vision
- Skin protection and damage reversal
Tomatoes have more lycopene than almost any other food, and this antioxidant is what gives tomatoes their red color.
Though the nightshade family of plants (tomatoes are a nightshade) have been recently demonized for containing proteins called lectins which can cause inflammation, there are many health benefits that outweigh those potential side effects, as well as ways to reduce or remove the lectin containing compounds if that is something you are sensitive to.
By removing the seeds and skins of tomatoes you remove most of the lectins. You can do this with fresh tomatoes by boiling them for about 30 seconds, peeling off the skins, and gently squeezing out the seeds.
Much of the lycopene is found in the skins and seeds however, so note that when making your decision on removing them!
Many types of canned tomatoes have already had the skins and seeds removed. If the cans have low-quality tomatoes or are very old, much of the vitamin content will be diminished. If you get high-quality canned tomatoes, they can be nearly as nutritious as fresh tomatoes, so that’s your call when making a superfood tomato soup.
2. Add In The Alliums
Alliums, such as onions and garlic, do more than just add great flavor to the soup.
Onions contain a high concentration of the flavonoid called quercetin, which has become widely popularized during the pandemic for its anti-blood clotting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Quercetin has been used to improve respiratory health and appears to have antiviral effects as well, as can be seen in the small study.
Garlic, one of the most popular medicinal foods, has been shown to help ward off unwanted bacteria, viruses, molds and yeasts. It also is well-known for its medicinal benefits for the treatment and prevention of many serious diseases.
Though garlic has hundreds of healthful compounds within it, allicin is the most well-known for health purposes, and it is what gives garlic its taste and smell.
Allicin is formed by a chemical reaction after garlic is crushed, so it’s best to finely mince or press garlic, and then wait for 10 minutes before cooking so the allicin can form.
Don’t wait too long however, after about 3 hours the potency of allicin decreases by about 50%, and is almost completely gone after 24 hours.
Herbs are powerhouses of a variety of polyphenols and antioxidants. For most of human history, herbs have played an important role, if not the most important role, in medicines.
Each herb has different compounds, which is why each has a different taste. If you are treating a specific condition or looking for a certain benefit, choose herbs that support your goals. If you are looking for flavor only, I think basil or thyme are great choices for an amazing tomato soup!
Many healthy compounds in these foods are more absorbable when eaten with a source of dietary fat. In fact, the star of the tomato soup show, lycopene, is about 400 times more absorbable when eaten with fat.
Adding cashews to the tomato soup recipe is not only going to give this some plant-based creamy goodness, it’s going to help fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients absorb into your body as well.
The next time you’re craving a classic tomato soup, you can take these tips to turn what can often be a meal with some health hazards, into one with health boosters! Want our recipe? Click here.