Gazpacho: Stop stroke with delicous cold soup

Juicy Tomatoes
Inspired by National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and a week of 90 degree temps, I whipped up my favorite no-cook supper, Gazpacho. Why not give this sophisticated summer soup a whirl? It's a simple recipe that never fails to wow.
 
Not only is this classic soup delicious, but recent research from Barcelona suggests that gazpacho consumption may help protect against BP and hypertension. The study of almost 4,000 Spaniards concludes:

"Gazpacho consumption was inversely associated with systolic and diastolic BP and prevalence of hypertension in a cross-sectional Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk."

What accounts for the beneficial effects -- 27 percent less hypertension, for instance, with only one cup a week of gazpacho? Likely it's due to synergy between the bioactive compounds in the tomatoes, olive oil, and other vegetables, the study found.

Rustic Gazpacho (a chunky version of Spain's most popular soup)

Total prep. time: 20 minutes, plus time to chill
Servings: 2 cups

  • 2 large juicy ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB red-wine vinegar

Using a blender or food processor, pack the tomatoes in first, then the other ingredients, and puree until chunky. Season with salt and pepper and chill (or refrigerate overnight). Serve as-is, or garnish with hot sauce, more olive oil, pesto, croutons, crab or shrimp.

Variations are endless. Sub in chunks of red or yellow bell peppers, onions, scallions or sprigs of parsley or cilantro. Just maintain similar proportions between tomatoes and other ingredients.

How does cold tomato soup sound to you? Let us know what's cooking in your kitchen.

Jebra Turner is a health reporter and former H.R. director for an ergonomics-focused firm, where she oversaw workplace health and safety training programs for staff and clients. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and you can visit her online at www.jebra.com.

Source: PubMed.gov http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23149074