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( — Did you know that January is National Soup Month?

Maybe just one of the many reasons that soup is so celebrated is because of its well-known healing powers that both scientists and grandmothers can agree on. From simply warming you up on a below-zero day to helping you lose weight, soup is one of the staples that no kitchen should be without. Below are just some of the amazing benefits:

1. Lose Weight

Obesity in the black community is an ever-present threat, as well as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, which are all closely associated with obesity. But eating at least one bowl of soup a day can help – nutritious, low-sodium soup provides nourishment as it flushes excess waste from the body. In fact, studies have proven that people who eat one serving of soup per day lose more weight than those who eat the same amount of calories, but don’t eat soup. Homemade soup, preferably with organic vegetables, is your best bet, since many canned soups can be overloaded with excessive salt and chemicals.

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2. Build Your Immunity

Your immune system needs minerals to function properly, but most adults don’t come close to getting all the daily vitamins and minerals they need. When you slowly simmer foods over a low heat, you gently extract those therapeutic nutrients. Keep in mind that boiling can destroy half the vitamins found in vegetables, so only cook soup over a low heat.

Immune-Boosting Soup

Simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes: cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, onion, oregano, shiitake mushrooms (if dried, they must be soaked first), the seaweed of your choice, and any type of squash. Cabbage can increase your body’s ability to fight infection, ginger supports healthy digestion, and seaweed cleanses the body. Shiitake mushrooms contain coumarin, polysaccharides, and sterols, as well as vitamins and minerals that increase your immune function. The remaining ingredients promote general health and well-being. Eat this soup every other day to build a strong and healthy immune system.

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