In summer months it’s easy to make your antioxidant quota for the day with fruit and salads. Unfortunately, it’s harder in the winter months when we crave warm and comforting foods. But, Berna Harmse has the answer: healthy soups packed with antioxidants.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants offer a means of protection for our bodies.
They ‘mop up’ aggressive molecules (free radicals from smoking, pollution, stress, etc.) before they cause the damage.
Ideally, we should have enough antioxidants to deal with the free radical damage. But, in cases when the body is overwhelmed, like in times of stress, extra antioxidants are required.
Many cancer-inducing substances need to be oxidised before they can damage the cells of the body, yielding free radicals. Antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, selenium and lycopene can therefore be beneficial in preventing the oxidation of dangerous substances that induce cancer.
Try these healthy soups packed with antioxidants.
Creamy Spinach Soup
- 300g spinach leaves (1 packet)
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 litre low-fat milk
- 125ml (1/2 cup) oat bran
- ¼t salt
- ¼t mustard powder
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash spinach leaves (stalks and all) well to get rid of any sand, and place wet into a very large saucepan.
- Add the onion, cover and steam until the vegetables are soft (about 7 minutes). No water needs to be added, as there is enough moisture in the spinach leaves to cook them.
- Spoon the spinach into a blender, discarding the extra cooking liquid. Add a little of the milk and liquidise. Pour back into the saucepan.
- Mix the oat bran with some of the remaining milk and add to the spinach. Add all the remaining milk and mix through.
- Boil for 1 minute and then allow to simmer, covered, on a low heat until the soup thickens (about 3 minutes). Stir frequently to prevent the soup from catching on at the bottom of the saucepan.
- Flavour with salt, mustard powder and pepper, and heat again just before serving.
‘Winter Salad’ soup
Makes 2 litres or 8 servings
- 5ml (1t) oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped finely or grated
- 2 gloves of garlic, chopped finely or 5ml (1t) dried garlic flakes
- 1 medium red pepper, chopped finely or grated
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped finely or grated
- ¼ cabbage, shredded or grated
- 1 x 400g can tomatoes, chopped finely
- 1,5 litres (6 cups) boiling water
- 5ml (1t) dried herbs e.g. sweet basil
- 125ml (1/2 cups) soup mix and 10ml vegetable stock powder
- or 1 x 40-50g packet onion soup powder
- Heat the oil in a saucepan.
- Fry onion, green- and red pepper and garlic in the oil until soft.
- Add the cabbage and stir until well mixed.
- Add the tomatoes and 1,25 (5 cups) boiling water.
- Mix the remaining boiling water with the soup mix, or onion soup powder, and add to the soup, together with the dried herbs.
- Cover and boil for 30 minutes (if soup powder is used) or at least 60 minutes (if soup mix is used).
- 100g onion, chopped
- 500ml water
- 1 celery stick
- 200g carrots, chopped
- 450g tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cube chicken stock, crumbled
- 200g baby marrow, chopped
- 15g tomato paste
- 12ml fresh basil, chopped
- 12ml parsley, chopped
- Braise onion in a little water, stirring over medium heat until soft.
- Add water, celery, carrots, tomato and stock cube.
- Cover and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 min.
- Add baby marrows, simmer uncovered for 10 min.
- Stir in tomato paste, basil and parsley.
- Liquidise well.
- Can freeze up to two months.
MEET OUR EXPERT – Berna Harmse
Berna Harmse is a private practicing dietitian. She holds a MSc in Dietetics, and has a special interest in oncology nutrition. She is also an external lecturer at Stellenbosch University Division of Human Nutrition.