Nothing beats sipping warm soup when it’s cold outside. Soup has been part of people’s diets since the early ages, and it’s generally considered a staple comfort food when you’re not feeling well.
But you don’t need to be “under the weather” to enjoy a good bowl of soup. In fact, this healthy soup recipe may even help you avoid getting sick in the first place.
Mercola.com reader Margaret LaValley shares her delicious and hearty Roasted Pepper Soup recipe. It not only sits high on the flavor scale, but it also gives you a variety of nutrients so you can feel healthy and happily full.
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour
3 to 5 organic red bell peppers
1 organic red onion
1 1/2 lbs. ripe organic tomatoes or 3 lbs. of organic cherry tomatoes
8 organic garlic cloves
1 to 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 Tbsp. coconut oil or avocado oil
6 to 10 fresh organic basil leaves, or more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Quarter the peppers and remove the seeds.
Halve the tomatoes (if using cherry tomatoes, keep them whole) and roughly chop the onion.
Put all the vegetables, including the garlic and basil, in a baking dish.
Mix balsamic and oil and pour over the vegetables, making sure everything is well-coated.
Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes turning occasionally.
When vegetables have softened, put in a blender. Blend until liquefied.
Place in a pot and reheat on the stovetop.
Add black pepper to taste.
Tip: If you find the consistency too thick, you can thin it down with homemade chicken or vegetable broth, or just filtered water.
Why You Should Love Bell Peppers
The soup’s main component is red bell pepper, which also goes by the name capsicum and sweet pepper. Bell pepper comes from the Solanaceae family, the same as tomatoes and the potato. It’s technically a fruit, but is eaten as a vegetable.
Bell peppers come in different shapes and colors, varying from green, yellow and red. Green bell peppers are unripe and usually develop a yellow or orange color through maturation, which then develops a red hue. Red bell peppers are “fully ripened,” and have the sweetest taste compared to the green, yellow or orange bell peppers. Because these bell peppers are the most mature of the bunch, they have a higher concentration of nutrients and minerals.
Red bell peppers contain antioxidants and vitamins, which make it a great addition to your diet. It’s only 31 calories per 100 grams and has 11 times more beta-carotene than green bell peppers. Bell peppers can power up your immune system, slow down the signs of aging and also may help prevent certain diseases.
The Benefits of Eating a Tomato-Rich Diet
Another major ingredient in this soup recipe is tomato. Tomatoes are actually the most popular “fruit” in the United States, with more than 60 million tons produced annually. One of the reasons why this fruit is popular is because of the numerous health benefits it offers. Tomato contains high amounts of vitamins A and C and fiber. It is also cholesterol-free and has very low caloric content. Some of the health benefits of adding tomatoes to your diet include the following:
Supports Bone Health
Tomatoes contain a high amount of vitamin K and calcium, which helps strengthen and repair your bones and bone tissues.
Controls Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
The potassium in tomatoes serves as a vasodilator, and is responsible for reducing the tension in blood vessels.
Assists the Immune System
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was observed that people who ate a tomato-rich diet sustained 38 percent less damage to their white blood cells. Tomatoes also contain high amounts of lycopene and antioxidants, which help the immune system deal with free radicals that damage and destabilize your cells.
Helps Repair Lung Damage From Smoking
Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which protect the body from carcinogens brought on by cigarette smoking. The high amount of vitamin A also shows an effect on the countering of carcinogens and the development of cancer cells in the lungs.
Maintains Digestive Health
Tomatoes are high in fiber, which helps the digestive system efficiently digest the food you eat. It also helps regulate digestion, thus helping prevent diarrhea and constipation.
Tomatoes also contain high amounts of lycopene, a carotenoid that lends it its distinct red color. Lycopene is found in other foods, like watermelon, as well. It is said to be far more powerful than beta-carotene and alpha-carotene carotenoids.
One study, which focused on the effect of lycopene on stroke risk, revealed that people who had a higher lycopene level in their blood had 55 percent less stroke risk. Lycopene is also shown to have anti-cancer properties because of its antioxidant properties.
A note when buying tomatoes: Be sure to choose organic varieties. Tomato is actually one of the first genetically modified fruits, as it was specifically engineered to have a longer shelf life. Most of the tomatoes sold in the market nowadays are also treated with ethylene to speed up the process of ripening. This might seem harmless, but ethylene actually has a far greater negative effect on the taste and texture of the fruit, as well as the health of consumers.
The next time you crave a hot and comforting home cooked dish, try this roasted red pepper soup. Not only does it offer a different take on the traditional taste of soup, but it also gives you your much needed dose of vitamins and antioxidants.
By Margaret LaValley
(Source: mercola.com; December 15, 2016; http://tinyurl.com/jmbgk4b)