Healthy Recipe Series
When we introduce our patients to our raw vegan soups, they are surprised at how tasty and simple they can be. And the biggest surprise is that soups, although raw, do not have to be cold. To make a warm soup you can simply add warm water to it, or an ingredient, like mushrooms, that have been cooked and it will naturally help make your soup warm. Then you can keep the soup in the dehydrator (to stay warm), or, if refrigerated, warm it at low temperatures, for example by using a double bath.
Today’s soup can be eaten both cold or warm… it is actually very common during the hot summer months for people to eat cold soups. The Gazpacho or Gaspacho is a good example; a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables, that originated in the southern regions of the Iberian Peninsula. Gazpacho is a common staple in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, especially during the hot summer months, since it is refreshing and cool.
The main ingredient of our soup is also common in Gazpacho, tomatoes!
Tomato Basil Soup
The only kitchen equipment you will need is a blender. This soup is bold in flavor, creamy, and will leave your mouth watering for more. The star ingredients are, as the name hints, tomatoes and basil. Let’s take a look at the main health benefits of those two ingredients, and also of garlic!
We discussed the health benefits of tomatoes in another wonderful recipe we have shared, Lasagna. Tomatoes are an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber! Tomatoes are also a significant source of the umami flavor!
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Tomatoes1,2,3
- Excellent source of vitamin A (833 IU per 100g; 28% RDA) and a good source of vitamin C (13mg per 100g; 21% RDA), both protective against cancer and essential for many bodily functions.
- Contains high levels of lycopene; an organic pigment called a carotenoid, that gives tomatoes their characteristic red color.
- Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, present abundantly in tomatoes, especially in ripe, red tomatoes. Dietary consumption of carotenoids, such as lycopene and α and ß-carotenes, is associated with a decrease in the risk of breast, cervical, vaginal, and colorectal cancers, and cardiovascular and eye diseases.
- Lycopene has the greatest antioxidant potential among carotenoids. The antioxidant function of different carotenoids is based on several different mechanisms: reducing free radicals, mitigating damage from reactive oxidant species, and hindering lipid peroxidation. Together with carotenoids, lycopene may help protect cells and organs in humans against harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Tomatoes also contain abundant zeaxanthin and other antioxidant flavonoids such as α and ß-carotenes, xanthins, and lutein. Diets rich in flavonoids from fruits and vegetables have been found to be protective against cancer and other lifestyle diseases.
- Good source of vitamin K and some of the B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9). B vitamins work in conjunction as co-factors for enzymes in cellular metabolism.
- Good source of minerals such as potassium, manganese, and iron.
Basil is rich in powerful plant chemicals, known for its health-promoting benefits, and it has been grown for centuries due to the medicinal properties of both its leaves and seeds.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Basil4,5
- Excellent source of Vitamin K (414.8 µg PER 100 grams of fresh leaves; 345% RDA!), essential for blood coagulation and bone health.
- Excellent source of Vitamin A (5275 mg per 100 grams of fresh basil leaves; 175% RDA), a very important antioxidant, which may be protective against several cancers, and is essential for healthy vision, skin, and mucosa.
- Abundant phytochemicals, like the flavonoids vicenin and orientin, with potential antioxidant properties.
- Source of several essential oils, with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene, and terpineol.
- Contain very high levels of beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Compounds that can offer protection against free radical damage, promoting health and preventing many diseases and aging.
- Basil herb contains a good amount of minerals like manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Garlic belongs to the genus Allium (Latin for garlic) of vegetables that includes garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. Allium vegetables offer powerful antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and unique phytonutrients with incredible health benefits. Learn more about Garlic and the Allium vegetables in our Avocado Fries recipe.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Garlic6,7,8,9,10,11,12
- Excellent source of vitamins such as B-complex vitamins pyridoxine (B-6; 95% RDA), thiamin (B-1; 17% RDA), pantothenic acid (B-5; 12% RDA), and also Vitamin C (52% RDA), a very powerful antioxidant vitamin, that helps to reduce inflammation and free radical damage.
- Amazing source of minerals, with RDAs of 73% manganese, 33% copper, 26% selenium, 22% phosphorus, 21% iron, and 18% calcium. Many of these minerals, like manganese and selenium, are essential for antioxidant enzymes.
- Contains several compounds with antioxidant effects, such as vitamin C, β – carotene, and zeaxanthin.
- Research indicates that garlic possesses many health benefits, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, immunomodulatory, cardiovascular protective, anticancer, hepatoprotective, digestive system protective, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, neuroprotective, renal protective, antiarthritic, antithrombotic, antitumor, hypoglycemic, and hypolipidemic activities.
- Allium vegetable consumption has been associated, in epidemiological studies, as protective against cancers, particularly cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, and the consumption of garlic has been indicated as providing strong protection against cancer risk.
- Garlic contains diverse bioactive compounds, such as allicin, alliin, diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, ajoene, and S-allyl-cysteine. Many of these compounds, like diallyl trisulfide, allicin, diallyl disulfide, diallyl sulfide, and allyl mercaptan have been shown to have an anticancer action.
- Some of these compounds, like allicin antiviral, exhibit antibacterial, and anti-fungal activities.
- In terms of cancer, studies highlight the beneficial action of sulfur-containing compounds present in Allium vegetables, which may produce effects on “each stage of carcinogenesis and affect many physiological processes that modify cancer risk11.” These compounds act through several mechanisms, including “decreased bioactivation of carcinogens, antimicrobial activities, and redox modification11.”
- Studies published in 2021 and 2022, concluded that the “bioactive molecules in garlic were found to inhibit the various phases of cancer12” and that “Garlic extract, its phytocompounds and their nanoformulations have been shown to inhibit the different stages of cancer, including initiation, promotion, and progression6.”
- Garlic metabolites also have the potential to alter the peroxidation of lipids, the activity of nitric oxide synthetase, nuclear factor-kappa B, epidermal growth factor receptor, protein kinase C, and regulate cell cycle, and survival signaling6,12.
Here is the full recipe for a refreshing or warming Tomato Basil Soup!
- Makes: 4 cups Prep time: 15 minutes • Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup cashews*
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 3 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
- ½ tsp salt Black pepper to taste
In a high-power blender, combine the water, sundried tomatoes, cashews, and garlic. Blend on high until smooth. Add the diced tomatoes and blend until smooth (or pulse to retain some chunky texture, if desired).
Mix in the basil and black pepper. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some extra basil, if desired.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
*If you do not have a high-power blender, either soak the cashews before blending or substitute with 1 Tbsp cashew butter.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Tomatoes, orange, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170502/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
- Nutrition and You. Tomato Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/tomato.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
- Pradhan SP, Padhi S, Dash M, Heena, Mittu B, Behera A. Chapter 7 – Carotenoids. Kour J, Nayik GA, editors. Nutraceuticals and Health Care. Academic Press; 2022. 135-157p. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-89779-2.00006-5.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Basil, fresh. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172232/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
- Nutrition and You. Basil Herb Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basil-herb.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
- Mondal A, Banerjee S, Bose S, Mazumder S, Haber RA, Farzaei MH, Bishayee A. Garlic constituents for cancer prevention and therapy: From phytochemistry to novel formulations. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Jan;175:105837. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2021.105837. Epub 2021 Aug 24. PMID: 34450316.
- Asemani Y, Zamani N, Bayat M, Amirghofran Z. Allium vegetables for possible future of cancer treatment. Phytother Res. 2019 Dec;33(12):3019-3039. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6490. Epub 2019 Aug 29. PMID: 31464060.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Garlic, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169230/nutrients, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
- Nutrition and You. Garlic Seed Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/garlic.html, accessed Jun 23, 2023.
- Shang A, Cao SY, Xu XY, Gan RY, Tang GY, Corke H, Mavumengwana V, Li HB. Bioactive Compounds and Biological Functions of Garlic (Allium sativum L.). Foods. 2019 Jul 5;8(7):246. doi: 10.3390/foods8070246. PMID: 31284512; PMCID: PMC6678835.
- Nicastro HL, Ross SA, Milner JA. Garlic and onions: their cancer prevention properties. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Mar;8(3):181-9. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0172. Epub 2015 Jan 13. PMID: 25586902; PMCID: PMC4366009.
- Rauf A, Abu-Izneid T, Thiruvengadam M, Imran M, Olatunde A, Shariati MA, Bawazeer S, Naz S, Shirooie S, Sanches-Silva A, Farooq U, Kazhybayeva G. Garlic (Allium sativum L.): Its Chemistry, Nutritional Composition, Toxicity, and Anticancer Properties. Curr Top Med Chem. 2022;22(11):957-972. doi: 10.2174/1568026621666211105094939. PMID: 34749610.
Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica. Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.
Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection. She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.