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Healthy Gazpacho

December 24, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

The start of winter may not seem like the ideal time to recommend eating cold soup. But, in the case of gazpacho, a traditional Spanish soup, I simply can’t wait for the warmer days of spring or summer to sing its praises. My urgency is, in part, due to a recently published study appearing in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, the prestigious medical journal. A secondary reason is that current and prior research on gazpacho helps to prove a theory that I’ve long held: Drinking raw, blended vegetables is a wonderfully healthful practice, especially if you add some good fat to the mix.

Before we delve into the scientific facts and figures, let’s take a quick look at what a traditional gazpacho typically contains. The most prominent ingredient is raw tomatoes. Cucumbers, green peppers, onions, garlic, red wine vinegar, virgin olive oil and water often round out the ingredient list. As far as my palate is concerned, a dash or two of fresh black pepper, powdered cayenne and potassium-rich sea salt are welcome additions as well.

In the study I mentioned earlier, a group of nearly 4,000 Spanish adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease took part in an investigation which evaluated the effects of gazpacho intake on blood pressure. The results of the cross-sectional analysis revealed that moderate to high gazpacho consumption was associated with a lower risk of hypertension. In fact, the participants who ate the most gazpacho were 27% less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. Researchers postulate that this cardioprotective effect may be due to the wide range of nutrients (manganese, potassium, Vitamin C) and phytochemicals (lycopene, rutin, quercetin) that are naturally present in fresh gazpacho. The inclusion of gazpacho in one’s diet has, likewise, been shown to increase overall antioxidant and Vitamin C status, while simultaneously reducing systemic inflammation. Excess inflammation and oxidative stress have both been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and hastened aging. All told, the currently available evidence suggests that gazpacho is a valuable dietary resource for anyone interested in protecting their cardiovascular system and more.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Gazpacho Consumption is Associated with Lower Blood Pressure (link)

Study 2 - Comparison of the Mineral & Trace Element Concentrations Between (link)

Study 3 - Stability of the Phenolic & Carotenoid Profile of Gazpachos During(link)

Study 4 - Mediterranean Vegetable Soup Consumption Increases Plasma Vitamin C (link)

Study 5 - Intake of Mediterranean Vegetable Soup Treated by Pulsed Electric (link)

Study 6 - Consumption of High-Pressurized Vegetable Soup Increases Plasma (link)

Study 7 - Contribution of Oxidative Stress to Endothelial Dysfunction in (link)

Study 8 - The Role of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in the Early Evaluation of (link)

Study 9 - Inflammation in Aging: Cause, Effect, or Both? (link)

Study 10 - Brain Rust: Recent Discoveries on the Role of Oxidative Stress in (link)

Eating Gazpacho Regularly Increases Plasma Vitamin C Levels

Source: J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3021-5. (link)

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One Comment to “Healthy Gazpacho”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: Gazpacho, a cold Mediterranean soup, may reduce blood pressure and hypertensive risk …

    http://www.nmcd-journal.com/article/S0939-4753%2812%2900181-0/abstract

    Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Oct;23(10):944-52.

    Gazpacho consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in a high cardiovascular risk cohort. Cross-sectional study of the PREDIMED trial.

    BACKGROUND AND AIM: Hypertension is a major public health problem and a leading cause of death and disability in both developed and developing countries, affecting one-quarter of the world’s adult population. Our aim was to evaluate whether the consumption of gazpacho, a Mediterranean vegetable-based cold soup rich in phytochemicals, is associated with lower blood pressure (BP) and/or reduced prevalence of hypertension in individuals at high cardiovascular risk.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: We selected 3995 individuals (58% women, mean age 67 y) at high cardiovascular risk (81% hypertensive) recruited into the PREDIMED study. BP, weight, and dietary and physical activity data were collected. In multivariate linear regression analyses, after adjustment, moderate and high gazpacho consumption categories were associated with reduced mean systolic BP of -1.9 mm Hg [95% confidence interval (CI): -3.4; -0.6] and -2.6 mm Hg (CI: -4.2; -1.0), respectively, and reduced diastolic BP of -1.5 mm Hg (CI: -2.3; -0.6) and -1.9 mm Hg (CI: -2.8; -1.1). By multiple-adjusted logistic regression analysis, gazpacho consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension, with OR = 0.85 (CI: 0.73; 0.99) for each 250 g/week increase and OR = 0.73 (CI: 0.55; 0.98) for high gazpacho consumption groups compared to the no-consumption group.

    CONCLUSIONS: Gazpacho consumption was inversely associated with systolic and diastolic BP and prevalence of hypertension in a cross-sectional Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk. The association between gazpacho intake and reduction of BP is probably due to synergy among several bioactive compounds present in the vegetable ingredients used to make the recipe.

    Be well!

    JP

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