As the summer season starts to really sizzle, “soup” is often the furthest thing from any of our minds. After all, when the temperature spikes and the sun is hot enough to melt pavement, many of us are looking for ways to cool off, not try out a new chowder recipe. But for many cancer patients, including those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, a simple soup can provide a lifeline to a balanced, nutritive diet that helps keep the body strong, while preventing dehydration, weight loss or muscle wasting. A bowl of soup can be a great comfort to patients who may be experiencing a change in appetite due to cancer treatment, or for whom chewing or swallowing solid foods is difficult or painful due to the mouth tenderness and sores some experience as a side effect.
So what’s the solution, when the mercury is rising and the birds are so hot that they’re walking from tree to tree, instead of flying? Chilled soups. Cool, hearty, nutrient-dense soups can provide the calorie levels that patients need, and may be even easier to eat than hotter foods. What’s more, chilled soups provide an opportunity to introduce additional potentially cancer-fighting foods into your diet.
Our chilled tomato soup with cucumber and avocado is similar to a Mexican gazpacho, but with milder flavors (and not an ounce of spiciness). It’s an efficient way to pack fresh seasonal tomatoes into your diet, which are high in lycopene and may help prevent against certain types of cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, are some of the best sources among all fruits for folate, potassium and magnesium. Avocados are one of the few foods
that contain significant levels of both vitamins C and E. Vitamin C plays an important role in recycling vitamin E to maintain circulatory antioxidant protection, and vitamin C may contribute to overall vascular health.
Chilled Tomato Soup With Cucumber and Avocado
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed, large dice
- 1/2 cup red onion, peeled, diced
- 3/4 cup cucumber, washed, seeded, diced, (reserve 4 thin slices for garnish)
- 1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 lime, washed, juiced
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/16 tsp black pepper
- 1/16 tsp Kosher salt
- For Garnish - 1 cup julienned cucumber
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, fresh chopped
- 1 each avocado, seeded, peeled, quartered, sliced and fanned
- In a blender, combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, garlic, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, cumin, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth.
- Taste, and adjust seasoning with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar as desired.
- Chill for at least an hour to give flavors an opportunity to meld.
- Serve in a chilled bowl & garnish with cucumber, cilantro, and avocado and serve immediately