Soup as a Comfort Food: Exploring the Psychological and Emotional Benefits

The feeling that you get when you enjoy your favorite bowl of soup not only comes from the flavor but the emotional benefits you get when you hold that bowl in your hands.There are obviously lots of physical health benefits to a bowl of soup, but the way that it can clear your mind when you are experiencing emotional drainage is unmatched.

If you enjoy soup regularly, then it is important you understand the positive impact soup can have on your emotional and psychological health. There are so many aspects that it offers and can help you with no matter what you may be experiencing currently.

Sense of Stability

The idea of soup is that it is meant to emotionally take you home, even if you really aren’t there. For someone who is away from their family for long periods of time, a bowl of soup can help ease that homesickness that you are feeling. The warmth and flavors that you mix in the bowl can be a recipe from home, and it tastes like you are right there, even if it is just for a minute.

In college, this was my go-to meal to enjoy when I wanted to go home but could not make it. I would call my mom or my grandmother and have them give me recipes that I wrote down for my favorite vegetable with beef soup and tomato basil soup so that I could make it and feel like I was right at home.

Since then, I have moved to implementing soup in my own home and trying to pass that stability on to my family so that they always enjoy it and get a sense of comfort whenever they eat what I am making. Soup is stable, and even when I travel I love to purchase a bowl as a meal or appetizer just to give my mind that home connection.

Soup is Medicine

Some of the ingredients in many soups have truly healing potential to help you restart your body and adjust to what you need. Psychologically, we turn to soup as a natural medicine and depend on it for healing properties in the physical sense. It does not just stop there, though. Our cognitive functions and emotions are also chemically based and require certain nutrients to maintain positive mental health.

Some of the healing ingredients commonly found in soup include the following:

  • Minced garlic
  • Ginger
  • kale
  • Lemon juice
  • Boiled chicken fat
  • Tomatoes

From all of these different ingredients, the soup is able to provide your body with the things you need to improve your psychological and emotional health.

In most of my soups, I try to find a way to implement at least one or two of these ingredients to my soups so that I can keep my head clear throughout the winter months. Seasonal depression can be severe, and this is a great way to try and beat it.

I will admit that I keep both lemon juice and minced garlic on hand at all times because just a splash or a spoonful can go a long way in almost any soup. These ingredients also work as antioxidants, which can remove unwanted toxins in the body which could also be impacting your psychological health.

Opportunity to Grieve

One of the most emotional times in your life is when you need to grieve the loss of a loved one or a pet. You may feel drained, cold and not have the energy to do much of anything. With a warm bowl of soup, you can slowly gain that comfort and loss back over time. Because soup is packed with nutrients, you can keep your physical health in good condition while you grieve so that your emotional health doesn’t drain your physical health.

When I have experienced personal loss, I found soup to be easy, because, emotionally, I didn’t have the energy for a standard meal, even one of the quick thirty-minute ones. A great slow-cooker soup is always my go-to.

I also try to prepare one of these soup dishes for families in the communities who have lost loved ones. While others are brining in loads of take-out and pounds of fried chicken, I am coming covered with large pots of soup to give the family options and a chance for comfort.

Establish a Healthy Diet

When you decide to implement more soup into your life, you are improving your overall diet, whether you intend to or not. This is something that truly snuck up on me when I started adding more soups to my rotation, and I saw the benefits in myself and my family in no time.

A variety of the different nutrients and vitamins found in most of the soups include:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Amino Acids

While these are critical for your overall health, vitamin D and magnesium offer your psychological health the things it needs to help improve these areas and fight the mental fog you may be experiencing.

When you have a healthy diet and your body is functioning properly, you maintain a healthy mood that will help you feel better but not sluggish and slowly regain the energy you need to get back to life before a slump.

Make Soup Any Time

The benefits of enjoying a bowl of soup should not stop because the weather changes. While there is still the idea of soup season and that it is only good when the weather is cold, that is something that you can remove from your mind.

Soup is a great dish any time of the year, and you should start to feel comfortable making your favorite dishes whenever you want them, especially if they help improve your emotional and psychological health. Your body is only as healthy as your mental health, and you should always strive to keep everything empowered, not just the physical part of your body.

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