Nothing is more consoling than a bowl of hot soup after a day out in the wintery cold. Besides being warm and comforting, soup is a very healthy food choice. It’s delicious and can easily boost the veggie intake for picky eaters. Also, some nutrients are better absorbed in the body when they are heated. For example, cooked carrots yield more absorbable beta carotene, and cooking kale or spinach increases the amount of its B vitamin folate. 
The Comforting Effects of Soup
Soup also may have emotional benefits because of its association with love and comfort. Many people associate soup with being taken care of while being sick as a child, or some other pleasant memory.
Also, our brains tend to connect physical warmth and social warmth. This makes things like thick blankets or even holding a warm cup able to increase positive feelings toward other people, and this can extend to those who are viewed as culturally different. One study found that Japanese female college students who held a warm cup for a few minutes showed more positive attitudes toward Chinese people as opposed to another group who held cold cups.
Soup can be a delicious appetizer or a main course, but be careful of the halo effect, where people view food to be healthy and tend to eat more as a result.
“In our study, 2,075 participants from the Island of Ireland and Denmark were given the following instruction: Imagine you’re only having vegetable soup for your dinner. How much would you eat? We found that soup portion size decisions were influenced by how healthy they perceived the soup to be,” said Moira Dean, Ph.D., a professor of consumer psychology and food security at Queen’s University Belfast.
“Specifically, those who viewed the soup as healthier chose a larger portion size. Furthermore, Danish participants who were more health-conscious chose larger soup portion sizes.” 
The Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable that stars in this soup recipe. It’s low in calories and high in vitamins. Here’s a rundown of the nutrients according to the recommended dose intake:
- Calories: 25
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 77% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI
- Folate: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
The high fiber content in cauliflower can help promote digestive health and help reduce inflammation and aid in the prevention of digestive issues like constipation, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Cauliflower is also a good source of antioxidants that protect the body from inflammation and harmful free radicals. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower is high in two groups of antioxidants, glucosinolates, and isothiocyanates, that can slow the progression of cancer cells. Test-tube studies have shown these two groups especially helpful for colon, breast, lung, and prostate cancer.
This vegetable is also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory benefits that can boost the immune system.
However, for the winter months, no cauliflower recipe is as appealing as this creamy, cheesy soup that is full of the benefits of cauliflower and the soothing effects of everyone’s favorite comfort food. 
Creamy Cauliflower Soup (With Vegan Options)
- 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 ½ cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (try arrowroot as a substitute if avoiding corn products)*
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups 2% milk (or use dairy-free milk of your choice)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or use ½ nutritional yeast for a dairy-free option)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, optional
*To substitute for arrowroot flour use a 2:1 ratio (2 teaspoons Arrowroot flour = 1 tablespoon Cornstarch)
- In a Dutch oven, combine the cauliflower florets, carrots, celery, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and cover and simmer for 12–15 minutes or until vegetables have softened. (Do not drain.)
- In a large saucepan, melt the milk and cornstarch over medium heat, and whisk until it creates a slurry. Add the salt and pepper.
- Reduce the Heat, and stir in the cheese until it melts, and add hot pepper sauce if desired. Stir into the cauliflower mixture and serve!
Read More: Flu-Fighting Ginger and Garlic Soup
- Nicole Avena Ph.D. The Many Health Benefits of Soup. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/food-junkie/201807/the-many-health-benefits-soup July 30, 2018
- Linda Wasmer Andrews. Soup-ology: The Science of Soup’s Appeal. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/minding-the-body/201810/soup-ology-the-science-soups-appeal October 29, 2018
- Brianna Elliott, RD. The Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cauliflower#section5 April 14, 2017
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