I can eat soup all year round. I love the whole process of making soup - the chopping, the dicing, the sauteing, the simmering. Since I follow a sodium-restricted diet, I can't eat canned soup. The sodium in a can of soup is way too high for a single serving! While you may know that salt and sodium is not very good for your heart and cardiovascular system, did you know it is also bad for your gut?
Too much salt in your daily routine can alter the beneficial bacteria that lives in the gut. The most prevalent genus of good bacteria in our gut is Lactobacillus. The most commonly known bacteria, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, is most often taken as a supplement to stay healthy when traveling. It helps our bodies adapt to foreign foods and beverages by fighting pathogens.
There was a study performed in Germany to identify how does gut bacteria react to a high sodium diet. Scientists studied what happens when we eat too much salt and the impact on our gut. The scientists used mice for the study. The scientists gave mice a high-sodium diet and discovered that the excess salt wiped out the good levels of Lactobacillus. The scientists noted that this reduction impacted a type of immune cell that is involved in autoimmune diseases and hypertension. (Source: GutMicrobiotaForHealth.com)
The implications of having too much salt daily is just not worth it. Yet salt is everywhere! It is in bread, pasta, frozen foods, canned foods and snacks. In addition, when we eat we may add more salt! While we need to have some salt in our daily routine to maintain balance in the body, the typical American diet has way too much. The best way to reduce salt intake is to reduce the amount of processed foods in a day.
Eating more fruits and vegetables, making your own sauces and soups, are tactics that can help reduce the amount of salt that is eaten in a day. Making your own soup can be so rewarding and tasty. Soup can be a slow process, when we have time to cook in the kitchen, or can be put together and cooked quickly. When I am crunched for time, I rely heavily on frozen vegetables that are already chopped. This is a huge time saver.
Even though I watch the amount of sodium I eat daily, I will use canned beans in soups. I just don't have time to soak beans and then cook them for hours. A quick tip is to rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking with them. You can reduce up to 25% of the sodium just by washing the beans.
Another time saver tip is to use reduced sodium broths. Another little trick is to use only half the amount of liquid required in the recipe from broth and the other half in purified water. This also helps to reduce the amount of sodium. Soups are also a great way to reduce food waste by using leftover veggies and proteins. Food waste happens most often at home not at restaurants or grocery stores. Making soup is a great way to use up leftovers that may not have another home.
Below are some really great recipes and products to try. Simply click on the name of the recipe to be brought to the actual recipe.
Broccoli & Cheese Soup: You can make this vegetarian by swapping vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Also, you can substitute nut milk for the 1/2 & 1/2. I recommend cashew milk or full fat coconut milk because it has a thicker texture.
Garden Minestrone Soup: A great way to maximize your daily vegetable and fiber in-take is by eating Garden Minestrone Soup. You can swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make this vegan. Also, if you don't have one of the vegetables on hand, substitute with whatever vegetable you have. This is one of the beauty's of soup! Anything goes!
Pasta e Fagioli Soup: A classic! This recipe calls for sausage but you can omit if you are looking to make this vegetarian. Is vegetarian a theme in this post? Eating more plant-based meals helps keep us healthy.
Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup: Using a crockpot makes it easy to make your own soup without a lot of hassle. Simply put all of the ingredients into the crockpot and let it cook on it's own. This soup uses apples for sweetness and coconut milk for creaminess.
If you aren't interested in making your own soup, I found a company, Frontier Soups, that has a ton of healthy, no salt containing, soup mixes that come together quickly. You can add protein and/or more veggies to increase the nutritional content. Here are some of my favorites. Feel free to click on the product to buy them on amazon.
There are also some great lower sodium options that are frozen. I recently tried Bonafide frozen bone broth and it was really good. Not only do they have plain broth but they also sell soups like Roasted Tomato Basil and Butternut Squash. All of them are made with bone broth. Plus, they have Keto approved soups if that is something you are interested in.
If you try any of the recipes or products I shared, leave me a comment below to let me know what you thought.
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