Seven International Soups to Help Fight the Effects of Age
With these healthy soups, your spoon becomes a powerful tool in your antiaging arsenal.
I adore summer, but I confess: as soon as the evening temperatures dip into sweater territory, I reach for my soup recipes. And relishing the approach of fall doesn’t mean you have to welcome all the results of the passage of time. Each of these soups contains multiple ingredients that fight the less desirable effects of age—as well as a deeply comforting taste of another culture.
Icelandic Veggie and Oat Soup (Iceland)
Age-fighting ingredients: oats, leeks
Oatmeal is just a breakfast food, right? Not in northern Europe and Iceland, where the versatile, health-boosting grain is featured in all manner of savory dishes. Along the way, oatmeal also flushes out “bad” cholesterol with tons of soluble fiber, and helps your cells fight the damage that comes with age with an array of antioxidants. That’s great news for your skin. This delicious traditional soup from Salt & Wind is loaded with veggies, and blends oats and leeks, which contain kaempferol, a potent antioxidant.
Egg Drop Soup (China)
Age-fighting ingredients: eggs, sesame oil, green onion
Wouldn’t you know it, eggs are good for you, after all. Very good, in fact; these little bundles of nutrition have been found to bolster continued eye health, replenishing lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the main protective antioxidants found in the retina’s macular region.
This bright golden egg drop soup from Gimme Some Oven, a five-star version of the Chinese restaurant staple, can be on the table in 15 minutes flat. Green onion adds the anti-aging powers of the allium family, and a drizzle of sesame oil contributes a gorgeous base note along with sesame’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Kharcho (Eastern Europe)
Age-fighting ingredients: walnuts, tomatoes, coriander
Even well-traveled foodies may not have heard of kharcho, a soup that showcases the flavors of Georgia, a tiny country with a surprisingly sophisticated east-west cuisine. This recipe from Food.com calls for walnuts and coriander to create a heady, unforgettable soup that tastes both familiar and exotic.
Walnuts are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids that preserve brain function and decrease gut inflammation, particularly for women. Coriander has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, and its nutrients (folate, antioxidants, vitamin C and beta-carotene) protect cells against oxidative stress.
Tomato Soup with Basil (Italy)
Age-fighting ingredients: tomatoes, holy basil
The ubiquitous tomato often plays backup singer to other ingredients, but its complicated sweetness is the undisputed star of this Italian-inspired soup. And tomatoes deserve to shine: loaded with lycopene, they have long been known to be an anti-aging superfood. Lycopene protects skin from sun damage, inhibits the breakdown of collagen, promotes tooth and gum health, and protects against toxins—and tomatoes are the main source of lycopene in a Western diet.
This Italian soup from The Forked Spoon marries tomato and basil, and it’s a match made in heaven. Trade Italian sweet basil with its Indian relative holy basil, which protects against cancer-causing free-radicals and has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, to supercharge this summer-light soup.
Kimchi Jjigae (Korea)
Age-fighting ingredients: kimchi, tofu, mushrooms
Once available only at specialty stores, the culinary scene-stealer that is kimchi is suddenly in stock at grocery stores near you. Known in Korea as a folk ingredient that adds dimension to any dish and just happens to keep you looking young, the spicy fermented cabbage’s rumored anti-aging properties have now been confirmed by research: in addition to its plentiful vitamins, the probiotics in kimchi have anti-inflammatory and cortisol-regulating properties.
Kimchi jjigae, here in a version by My Korean Kitchen, is a staple soup in Korean households, partners kimchi with two other anti-aging superstars, mushrooms and tofu, for a dish that’s much more than the sum of its parts.
Peanut Soup (West Africa)
Age-fighting ingredients: peanuts, ginger, tomatoes
Peanuts have been used in Africa’s cuisines for centuries. West African peanut soup takes ordinary store-cupboard staples and transforms them into multidimensional deliciousness that tastes like you’ve been cooking all day. It’s also an anti-aging triple threat. Sweet potatoes contain a host of nutrients, including beta-carotene, which supports skin rejuvenation, and anthocyanins, which sweep up free radicals. Ginger slows down the aging process with gingerol, which reduces inflammation and protects cells from collagen degradation. Ginger’s warming properties also encourage circulation, giving skin a healthy glow. Try this recipe, from gluten-free site A Saucy Kitchen.
Red Pepper and Tortilla Soup (Mexico)
Age-fighting ingredients: red bell peppers, garlic, onion
This Mexican-inspired roasted red pepper and tortilla soup showcases the flavor depth of roasted red bell peppers, which are a rich source of polyphenols, an antioxidant that flushes free radicals, combats cancer cells, and helps regulate blood pressure. It also folds in onions, which are full of anti-inflammatory quercetin, and garlic, which helps neutralize the free radicals that have been found to be one of the roots of aging and age-related disease. You won’t be tempted to lick the bowl because it’s healthy, though. That would be because roasted red peppers in soup form are one of the more delectable ingredients ever. Cookie + Kate, a site with vegetarian recipes, offers a roasted red pepper soup recipe here.