Creamy Tomato Soup

I’ve always loved tomato soup. It’s so warm and comforting. This is a creamy version made without cream.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions (1 medium onion)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3–4 medium potatoes, chopped (you can also use a combination of potatoes and parsnips)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
4 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or to taste)
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes (whole or crushed), blended
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic

Heat oil in medium-size pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions turn translucent. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes, then add water and bouillon. Cook on high heat until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Transfer soup to a blender. Make sure to leave the lid partially open to release the heat while blending. Begin to blend on low speed, gradually increasing until soup is thoroughly blended and smooth. Transfer back into pot. Add blended tomatoes and granulated garlic. Cook for about 30 minutes, until tomatoes are cooked and soup thickens. Serve warm or hot. Serves 4–6.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are often considered a vegetable, though in actuality they are a citrus fruit. Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile food. They are delicious eaten raw, in salads or on sandwiches, and take on a wonderful sweetness when cooked. Their high acid content makes them a perfect food for canning. Tomatoes are such an important part of the American diet that it’s hard to believe that they were once considered toxic. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that they became a staple food in the U.S. One medium whole tomato contains around 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein and 6 milligrams of sodium. It also provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 2 percent of the RDA of iron, and 1 percent of the RDA of calcium. Here are some of the health benefits of tomatoes.

1. Ward off Cancer : Numerous studies have concluded that the more tomatoes people eat the lower their risks of certain cancers, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers. A substance called lycopene, which is responsible for tomatoes red color, is thought to be the reason for this cancer protective effect. Processed tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones. The process of cooking breaks down the cell walls, helping to release the lycopene. Eating tomatoes with a little bit of fat, such as olive oil, helps lycopene to be better absorbed by the body.

2. Prevent DNA Damage: Tomatoes are high in important antioxidants such as vitamin C and Vitamin A. These vitamins work to fend of DNA damage from free radicals. Consequently, tomatoes may help to ward off age related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes.

3. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease: Tomatoes contain important nutrients, such as niacin, folate and vitamin B6, that have associated with the reduction of heart disease risk. One study found that women who ate 7 to 10 servings of tomato products per week had a 29 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than women who consumed less than a serving and a half of tomato products each week. Results were even more impressive when the women ate oil-rich tomato products.

4. Protect Against Thrombosis: Another study showed that drinking 8 ounces of tomato juice daily reduced platelet aggregation significantly, among study subjects. Those drinking a placebo showed no benefit. It’s important to drink low-sodium tomato juice if you are trying to protect against thrombosis (blood clots in the blood vessel) , as high sodium levels can cause negative effects for this type of disease.

5. Ward off Inflammation: A double blind study found that drinking a glass of tomato juice a day can reduce blood levels of TNF-alpha by 34 percent. TNF-alpha causes inflammation. High levels have been found in individuals with most chronic, degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.

Health Benefits of Potatoes

Experts tell us that potatoes are not only tasty additions to your diet but carry enormous health benefits as well. Nutritionists at the National Institutes of Health report that potatoes are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals that protect against cancer and promote heart-health. What does this mean to family dinner time? Plenty.

Check out these Top 5 Health Benefits of Eating Potatoes. Potatoes are not only delicious but important, healthy additions to your daily diet.

  1. Eating potatoes can reduce inflammation. How? Potatoes are wholesome, nightshade vegetables, loaded with carbohydrates, protein, calcium, niacin and Vitamin C. Because of the fiber in potatoes, they are soft and easily digested. The Vitamin C in potatoes make them great antioxidants which repair cells in the body. Potatoes can relieve inflammation in the intestines and digestive track. Raw potatoes can also be mashed and applied to relieve external burns, inflammation, and so forth.
  2. Eating potatoes can increase brain function. The brain or nerve center of your body relies on several things to function, including balanced glucose levels, oxygen, Vitamin B complex, amino acids, Omega-3 and other fatty acids, among others. Potatoes contain these elements and so much more to keep your brain performing as it should.
  3. Eating potatoes can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates, protein, calcium, niacin and Vitamins C and B-complex. These properties help fight heart disease and keep blood pressure at normal levels. Potatoes also contain carotenoids, key to heart health and overall health and wellness.
  4. Potatoes may offset incidence of kidney stones. There are an increasing number of studies that indicate that potatoes may have protective health benefits. For example, potatoes are rich sources of magnesium which can offset the accumulation of calcium in the kidney.
  5. Potatoes advance skin care. Potatoes have all the right stuff to optimize health and wellness. Potatoes contain Vitamins C and B-complex, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, all excellent vitamins and minerals for your skin. Raw potatoes can be mashed and mixed with honey to make a masque for your skin. Raw potatoes can also be applied to burns and rashes to ease the swelling and pain.

The good news? Potatoes aren’t just about carbs anymore. Indeed, there’s growing evidence that potatoes may be among the most healthful vegetables around. Of course, it’s best to bake a potato to get its full health benefits. You’ll also need to limit the number of potatoes eaten with each meal, particularly if you are overweight or diabetic. Finally, it’s important to check with your doctor, nutritionist and other health care professionals about ways to appropriately integrate potatoes into your daily diet and routine.

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