Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

I like to  prepare this soup during the cooler seasons. One of the ingredients (garam masala) is a warming spice blend, as in the internal warmth generated by the body when it imbibes certain spices. Garam masala is a popular blend prepared all around the northern, eastern, and western regions of India.

Ingredients

3 tbs. coconut oil
2 cups chopped onions
6 cups cubed sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sweet potatoes)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garam masala
6-7 cups water
1 (13–14 oz.) can coconut milk
2 vegetable bouillon cubes, or to taste (I use Rapunzel brand)

Heat oil in a medium–large size soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add sweet potatoes, salt, pepper and garam masala—and sauté for another 3–4 minutes. Add water, coconut milk and bouillon cubes, and cook on high heat for approximately 30 minutes, until sweet potatoes completely soften. Transfer soup to a blender. Be sure to leave the lid partially open to release the heat of the soup when blending. Begin to blend on a low speed gradually increasing until mixture is thoroughly blended, creamy and smooth. Transfer back into the soup pot and cook for another 5–10 minutes. Serve warm or hot. Serves 6–8.

Health Benefits of Garam Masala

In India, garam masala is a popular blend of dry spices. The literal translation of the spice’s name is “heat spice” or “hot/warm spice.” Garam (meaning “warm,” as in the internal warmth generated by the body when it imbibes certain spices) masala (“blend”) is known as a blend of warming spices that is prepared in homes all around the northern, eastern, and western regions of the country.

The spice traditionally is a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, bay leaves and nutmeg. The healthy ingredients of Garam Masala:

  • Cinnamon
    An anti-microbial as well as anti-inflammatory. It’s high in calcium and fiber and helps control blood sugar by helping to increase insulin production while lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Cumin
    Helps stimulate digestion, helps relieve nausea and indigestion, enriches with iron and can act as a property to fight against cancer.
  • Coriander
    An ingredient used to control blood sugar levels and to lower cholesterol. It helps stimulate digestion.
  • Black Pepper
     Increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and proteins. It’s high in fiber content, which reduces calorie intake, and it’s a natural metabolism booster. It helps break down fat cells, and is high in vitamin K and manganese, which also helps break down fats and carbs. Black pepper also fights against skin cancer and helps improve skin complexion.
  • Cardamom
    An anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic. It helps to flush out toxins from the body, relieves heart burn, reduces the formation of blood clots, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation, relieves gas, and soothes upset stomachs.
  • Cloves
    Contain a purifying property that helps support the immune system. Relieves tooth aches, boosts the metabolism, removes toxins from the blood stream, helps prevent the formation of blood clots and regulates blood sugar levels.You might not guess, but cloves are higher than any other food in antioxidant content. They provide an excellent source of calcium, omega 3, and vitamin K.
  • Fennel
    Relieves indigestion, diarrhea, heartburn, intestinal gas, and bloating.
  • Bay Leaves
    A powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent cancer, arthritis, and ulcers. It also helps in healing wounds and mosquito bites. Garam masala is a multipurpose spice that helps promote health in almost all aspects of our body. So the next time you cook, add some extra kick to your recipes with this health promoting Indian spice.
  • Nutmeg
    Prized for its aromatic qualities, nutmeg also delivers a big punch in terms of health benefits, including its antibacterial and anti-cavity properties. Like cloves, nutmeg aso contains eugenol, a compound found to be beneficial to the heart, as well as myristicin, when inhibits the enzyme in the brain, thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive function.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

  • They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
  • They contain Vitamin Dwhich is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
  • Sweet potatoes contain iron.Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
  • They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that helpregulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
  • Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
  • Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging.Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
  • They are versatile.Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad.
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