Gazpacho is one of the most famous traditional Spanish dishes and a perfect reflection of why the Mediterranean Diet is becoming more and more popular throughout the world, as a way to improve health and well being.
Often referred to as a liquid salad, this refreshing cold soup’s 6 main ingredients, tomatoes, olive oil, cucumbers, red bell peppers, onions, and garlic, are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
One of the primary ingredients in gazpacho is tomatoes, which are high in lycopene, powerful antioxidant thought to provide beneficial protection from prostate cancer in men. But, one new study from the Research Group on Natural Antioxidant of the UB is proving the benefits of gazpacho actually go far beyond the prostate.
According to the study, approximately 25 percent of adults have high blood pressure, but regular consumption of gazpacho lowered blood pressure significantly. Additionally, researchers found that eating the soup’s main ingredients separately also contributed to lowered blood pressure rates.
Tomatoes contain carotenoids, such as lycopene and beta-carotene, powerful antioxidants that are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots and other red and orange foods. These antioxidants play a key role in detoxifying and removing free radicals in the blood system and from body tissues.
Another effective tomato carotenoid called lutein acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and the carotenoid zeaxanthin helps to prevent eye damage, such as cataracts and other diseases that damage the eye.
Time: 15 minutes
4 large heirloom Tomatoes
4 Celery stalks
4 small Persian cucumbers, peeled
1/4 red Bell Pepper
1 clove Garlic
2 tbsp red Onion
1/3 cup of Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Finely dice the first 6 ingredients and toss them into the food processor and top it off with the juice of 1 lime and a bit of salt and pepper.
2. Pulse the processor just a few times while adding olive oil.
3. Chill, then serve with a garnish of sliced avocado.
Heirloom tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C, which helps nourish the adrenal glands and reduces stress. One medium heirloom varietal provides 40 percent of your daily requirement of this immune-building nutrient.
Tomatoes also protect cardiovascular health. They are rich in potassium, helping to lower blood pressure, and folate, which has been shown to help with a lower incidence of heart attacks.
Photo Credit: Kerem Hanci Photography
If you want to maintain a healthy diet, but don't necessarily have the ability to travel to Spain, try this delicious recipe and take a historical culinary flight into delight.