Vegetables and fruits make up the cornerstone of a healthy diet, but only one in nine Americans actually consume enough of them each day, according to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Vegetable soup provides one way to boost your veggie intake. Some vegetable soups contain large amounts of sodium, which can pose a health risk, but lower-sodium soups make a healthful addition to your diet.
Vegetable soup contains iron, an important mineral if you follow an active lifestyle. You need iron to produce energy. Iron helps your muscles store oxygen — which they can use during physical activity — and helps your red blood cells supply your tissues with fresh oxygen. A 1-cup serving of vegetable soup contains about 1.7 milligrams of iron — 21 percent of the recommended daily intake for men or 9 percent for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Stir cooked beans to your vegetable soup to boost its iron content — a half-cup of kidney beans adds 2 milligrams of iron.
Vegetable soup serves as an excellent source of vitamin A. Each cup of soup contains up to 6,000 international units of vitamin A, or your entire recommended daily intake, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Getting enough vitamin A helps you maintain healthy tissues — it guides the development of new cells, so that they can mature into functional tissue. Vitamin A also regulates the activity of immune cells to boost your immunity, and plays a role in healthy vision, especially in low light.
Vegetable soup also increases your vitamin K intake. Vitamin K helps activate a range of proteins, including those involved in depositing new bone tissue. It also activates compounds important for blood coagulation, and getting enough vitamin K in your diet protects you from excessive bleeding. Consuming a cup of vegetable soup provides you with 19.8 micrograms of vitamin K. This contributes 16 percent towards the recommended daily vitamin K intake for men or 22 percent for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Considerations and Serving Tips
Regular canned vegetable soup contains 404 milligrams per cup — and if you eat the whole can, you’re looking at a sodium intake of 889 milligrams, almost two-thirds of your recommended daily intake. “Low-sodium” soup doesn’t fare any better — it contains 491 milligrams of sodium per cup. Make true low-sodium soup by making your own vegetable soup at home, using no-sodium chicken or vegetable broth along with your favorite vegetables. Experiment with pureed vegetable soups — carrot, ginger and apple makes a bright-tasting and affordable soup, while roasted red pepper and tomato makes for a heartier option.