Gazpacho: the perfect healthy summer dish
If we combine the concept of Mediterranean Diet with star summer dish in Spain, results can not be more clear: Andalusian gazpacho. This “liquid salad” or cold vegetable soup, whatever you want to call, gathers some of the healthier market ingredients: tomato, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic, as well, of course, the irreplaceable olive oil. Its ingredients provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and oleic acid.
Recent studies support its many properties. For example, a study conducted recently over a year by the Center for Biomedical Research in Red-Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn) claimed that eating gazpacho regularly can help reduce blood pressure. 25% of the adult population suffers from high blood pressure and is one of the main risk factors for heart diseases. Its high content of carotenoids, vitamin C and polyphenols are responsible for the product to be heart healthy.
But it has not been the only other study conducted a while back in the U.S., by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), claimed that consumption of gazpacho increases significantly amount of vitamin C in the blood and reduces the molecules associated with stress.
Gazpacho brings a lot of fiber, from the pepper, cucumber and onion, mostly. This large amount of fiber is responsible according to some scientific studies, their benefits in preventing certain types of cancer, including colon cancer. In addition, lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for the red color of tomatoes, protects against oxidative stress, or what is the same, from the harmful effects exerted by free radicals in the body. The lycopene content is greater the red, ripe tomatoes are, as in the case of those used in the preparation of gazpacho. Cucumber sterols are excellent in reducing cholesterol and vitamins A, B and C help the immune system. If we add the diuretic and purifying action of the onion, which is able to regulate blood sugar levels and strengthen the defenses, and the resulting anti-inflammatory properties of garlic, couldn´t be better. Last but not least, the contribution of monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil regulate cholesterol levels too.
Picking ripen full flavor tomates is really important to be successful when we prepare gazpacho because tomato is the main ingredient of the dish. Summer farmers markets offer a great opportunity to find the perfect tomato for our dish. Extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar will guarantee a perfect gazpacho too.
Therefore, today I want to bring the typical gazpacho recipe that is the summer parties star in Spain
• 1 kilo of ripe tomatoes and very red
• 500 g green pepper
• 500 g of cucumber
• 200 g Onion
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• Olive oil
• Sherry Vinegar
• Hard Pan
• Cold water
The amount of ingredients is very relative and depends a little taste of the consumer. There who likes stronger, and prefer to use more amount of garlic and onion, and others prefer more predominant flavor of cucumber or pepper.
The preparation is simple: cucumbers and other vegetables all washed and chopped and passed through the blender until pureed peeled. Hard bread a bit is soaked and added to the mash. Water is added to taste (as you like it more or less thick) and season with salt, oil and vinegar (also to taste).
You can serve garnished with chopped vegetables like more tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onion or bits of bread.