A few weeks ago I enjoyed spending a wet and rainy afternoon making a healthy cleansing vegetable soup, and yesterday, during another heavy rainstorm, I did the same. Last night’s soup (recipe borrowed from health and nutrition coach Ross Bridgeford), is one that is intended to nourish, repair, and replenish the gut. Here’s what Ross says about each of the ingredients:
- Lentils: contain heaps of folate, fiber, manganese, iron, protein, vitamin b1, b6, zinc and potassium. Lentils promote good heart health, stabilize blood sugar and most importantly, contain gut healing properties. The insoluble fiber in lentils helps prevent IBS, discomfort and diverticulosis.
- Sweet potato: Vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6 rich, sweet potato is also an incredible source of manganese, fiber and potassium. Sweet potato is an antioxidant rich food that also serves as an anti-inflammatory, which is critical for gut health. Nothing damages the gut more than inflammation.
- Spinach: Spinach is a super-superfood. Chlorophyll rich, it is one of the most impressive of the ‘dark leafy greens’ which are ALL incredible. In terms of gut health, spinach is also a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and contains huge amounts of vitamin K, A B2, B6, B1, vitamin C and omega 3.
- Carrot: packed with vitamin A and C, carrots are mega-antioxidants – particularly their high carotenoid content. Brilliant for gut health due to their high content of Vitamin A, C, E and fiber.
- Bell Pepper: also high in Vitamins A, C and E, bell pepper is a strong antioxidant which can support gut health, with bountiful amounts of carotenoids and flavonoids.
- Avocado: full of healthy omega 3s (specifically ALA), avocado is also a strong anti-inflammatory, containing high levels of phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, and vitamins A, C and E.
- Dill: supports proper digestion by stimulating bile and digestive juices found in the stomach, while also a powerful anti-oxidant. Studies have shown that dill activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase which increases your antioxidant potential and reduces free radicals in the body.
- Cashews: equally high in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Cashews are a powerfully antioxidant rich food that also support heart health, bone strength and are proven to help lower weight.
- Garlic: a potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral.
- 1 1/2 cups dried lentils (drained and washed)
- 1 avocado
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large handful of spinach
- 2 carrots
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped dill
- 1 handful of cashews (roughly chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 brown onion
- 200ml vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Additional broth (for the lentils, and a little more if you desire a more liquid soup)
- Prepare the lentils; rinse and drain, then cook. I simmered mine for 35 to 40 mins in approximately 1 cup vegetable broth and 3 1/2 cups water).
- Next, roughly chop the onion and garlic and warm gently in a very large saucepan with the coconut oil.
- While these are browning and flavouring up, chop the sweet potato and carrots roughly, add to the pan and get it all mixed together and coated in oil. Stir for about 2 minutes.
- Now add the vegetable broth and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are just warmed through but not overcooked.
- Turn off the heat and add the still-warm cooked lentils.
- Next, transfer to a blender or food processor (do in batches if your blender isn’t big enough to do all of this at once) and add in the avocado, roughly chopped red pepper, spinach and dill. Here is where you may want to add more broth if the consistency is too dense for your liking.
- Blend until smooth and serve with a few sprigs of dill and chopped cashews.