Healthy, slimming and bloat-free: The best of soup

Whereas many comfort foods are indulgent and less than figure friendly, with the right components soup can be a slimmer's best friend.

A piping hot bowl is the ultimate winter warmer, better still if it is prepared at home with the freshest ingredients.

And soup not only fills you up, it banishes bloating, boosts your metabolism and helps you sleep, according to nutritionist and author, Fiona Kirk, whose latest eBook is Soup Can Make You Thin.



But with a homemade soup you can guarantee that goodness goes into the pan with no hidden nasties or excessive amounts of salt or sugar.

In Japan, Korea and Sweden it is not uncommon to start the day with a bowl of soup. Incidentally all three countries have some of the lowest obesity rates on the planet.

Soup's slimming properties are largely to do with its liquid consistency.

Our digestive system has a different way of dealing with liquids and solids. Liquids inhibit the production of ghrelin, the hormone that tells your brain you are hungry.

Confusing as it may seem, increasing your liquid intake actually helps to reduce bloating. Depriving your body of water makes it hold on to it, causing bloating. Eating soup, as well as drinking plenty of water, will help alleviate discomfort.

A salt-heavy diet lacking in potassium is another reason for bloating. Having these two minerals in sync is vital for cells to be able to hold on to nutrients and get rid of waste.

So load your soup with veg, a good source of potassium, and by making the soup at home, you will keep salt levels in check.

If you are pushed for time you can double up on quantities and have enough to see you through the week. Many recipes are also suitable for freezing.

Blenders at the ready, try making one of our healthy, hearty soups:

Cod and Tomato Chowder

Watercress Soup with Goat's Cheese

Beetroot and Orange Soup

Sophie Conran's Root Soup

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