BLOG: According to the National Weather service, last month recorded many of the coldest temperatures in decades. Regardless of the groundhog’s predictions, you only need to step outside to realize that the cold air is here to start February as well. All the talk of the “polar vortex” has found me searching for warmth in everything from hot coffee to freshly cooked soups and chili.
From a nutritional perspective, my cravings for warm drinks and hot food may be beneficial to fighting cold and flu symptoms. Hot liquids, such as coffee, tea, and soup broth, have been shown to relieve congestion. These warm liquids can soothe the throat and also speed up the movement of mucus. This limits the amount of time viruses and bacteria are in contact with the nose, throat, and sinuses. Equally as important, liquids can help to keep your body hydrated. The importance of hydration during the winter months was the topic of a recent post and is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Aside from its warming sensations, soup can provide additional health benefits. The process of making soup preserves more nutrients than other cooking methods. Many vitamins and minerals are water soluble, and therefore lost in the liquid used to cook or steam vegetables. Soup, however, preserves this liquid and maintains the original nutritional benefits of fresh veggies. Unfortunately, preparing your own recipe can be time consuming and many revert to canned soups that are laden with unhealthy amounts of fat, sodium, and calories.
Stewart’s solution to this winter dilemma is simple: just stop in for a fresh cup of your favorite hot soup. New and fresh soups are available each day at your local shop. I recommend the chicken noodle or chicken pasta Italiano soups as they only contain 80-calories/1g fat and 170 calories/5g fat respectively. The chicken pasta Italiano and sausage minestrone soups are also great sources of vegetables, containing vitamins and minerals from mushrooms, carrots, onions, and green and red bell peppers! I recommend grabbing a fresh roll or whole wheat English muffin from the counter for enough fiber and carbohydrate to complete your meal.
Different selections are warm and waiting for you every day at Stewart’s. This allows you to try all the great fresh flavors without leaving your neighborhood! Better yet, Stewart's is your one-stop shop for all things cold and flu, so grab soup, orange juice and maybe even some cough drops before you head home to get the rest and relaxation you really need to stay healthy.
-Christine Sloat, RD, RDN
About Christine: Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, with clinical training at Albany Medical Center. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.