Exposing Soup: Why a Healthy Diet Is Possible Without It
In the POST-SOVIET SPACE AROUND SOUP a whole cult has arisen – many argue that without it a healthy diet would not exist. At the same time, they don’t specify which soup is meant, although they can radically vary in nutrient and energy content, not to mention texture and temperature. We understand when soups appeared, how they are useful and whether they really can prevent stomach ulcers.
Archaeologists claim that the first stew appeared in the diet of our ancestors about 20 thousand years ago – this was due to the invention of pottery. Then, in the Late Paleolithic, the climate on Earth was especially cold. During excavations in the Xianen Cave in Jiangxi Province, fragments of ceramic products were discovered that, judging by the traces of the fire, were used for cooking and served as boilers. Apparently, it was in them that the first soups began to be cooked.
In the modern sense, they are more like liquid cereals, the basis was fried and chopped cereal grains. Similar observations were made in other regions, although many of them relate to later periods. When nations discovered pottery, they used it to create containers for cooking.
The word “suppa” itself came from Germanic languages - it meant “bread soaked in broth.” Today, soup variations exist in all world cuisines – and this dish can even serve as a snack or dessert.
Another important phenomenon in the history of mankind is associated with soups – the origin of restaurants. In the main book of the history of French culinary “Larousse Gastronomique” it is said that in 1765 a Parisian street seller of soups by the name of Boulanger opened a restaurant in which “restorants” were served – the French word for liquid food that was used to restore strength and was essentially exactly soup.
The fact is that many residents of 18th-century Paris did not have kitchens and they were forced to eat in city taverns and small hotels, which served simple products – boiled or baked meat without spices or sauce, with seasonal vegetables as a side dish. Street vendors were also popular. A peculiarity of the Boulanger restaurant was, oddly enough, the possibility of choice – he offered lists of dishes that could be prepared by order of the visitor. Our usual menu then became a revolutionary innovation for the world of culinary.
Some historians are inclined to believe that this is a legend and no Boulanger existed: “Larousse Gastronomique” at the moment is the only source indicating that such a person was. Nevertheless, it can be argued that restaurants are a French invention and their name is associated with the preparation of soups.
Soups and Health
Vegetables, which are found in almost any soup, contain water-soluble vitamins and minerals. Under the influence of boiling water, they are “washed out” from plant cells into a liquid in which vegetables or fruits are boiled. True, high temperature and oxygen destroy some substances, in particular vitamin C, and the longer the exposure period, the greater the loss. Nevertheless, the broth makes water-soluble minerals more affordable than in fresh vegetables.
The fact is that each plant cell is surrounded by a cellulose wall – these cell walls are not digested in the human body and can only be destroyed physically, during chewing and during contractions of the gastrointestinal wall. In the normal digestion process, the substances contained in the plant’s cells seem to be “squeezed out”, and indigestible residues move through the intestines until they reach the last destination. Soups allow you to store some nutrients that go from vegetables to water, but at the same time they are a source of dietary fiber (indigestible components of fruits and vegetables) that help the normal functioning of the digestive tract.
A positive quality is the high water content in soups, which allows the body to make up for the lack of fluid. Daily recommendations for consuming fluids include not only clean water, but other products. And if office workers who do not lose a lot of water with sweat can get enough liquid from drinks and other products, then it’s hard to imagine something more convenient than soup to restore people who do heavy physical labor. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating chicken soup as a first meal more effectively helps you feel full than drinking water with a similar composition.
A whole cult arose around the soup in the USSR and in the post-Soviet space. Surely many have heard from parents or relatives that digestion problems, such as a stomach ulcer, may appear without soup. Also, according to popular opinion, soup can be used only as a first course – so as not to eat “dry food”.