Regular consumption of cold gazpacho soup can help to battle high blood pressure and cut heart disease risk, say researchers.
The new research paper, published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, analysed the effect of gazpacho consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in nearly 4,000 people.
Led by Alexander Medina-Remón from the University of Barcelona, Spain the study finds that consumption of the cold vegetable soup is inversely associated with the incidence of high blood pressure (hypertension), which itself is “an unequivocal risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and is the main risk factor for stroke in both men and women.”
Medina-Remón noted that previous clinical and epidemiological studies have linked consumption of gazpacho’s main ingredients – such as tomato, cucumber, garlic, olive oil – to reductions in arterial blood pressure.
“This new scientific study states for the first time that a regular consumption of gazpacho is as beneficial as the consumption of its ingredients individually; so gazpacho can reduce hypertension,” he said.
The experts used statistical techniques to work out to what extent the consumption of gazpacho could reduce the risk of suffering hypertension, finding that “the risk could be reduced up to 27 % in some profiles of consumers,” said Medina-Remón.
The research team analysed whether consumption of gazpacho had an effect on cardiovasiular risk factors in 3,995 Spanish participants from the PREDIMED study, which analyses the effects of Mediterranean diet on the population at high cardiovascular risk to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
The team found that in addition to cutting overall blood pressure by up to 27%, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were inversely associated with gazpacho consumption.
Professor Rosa Lamuela, who coordinated the research study, said the cardio-protective effect of gazpacho on arterial pressure has been an ‘unexpected’ finding due to the salt content of the soup.
“Despite this, the results of the study describe that arterial pressure of gazpacho consumers is lower than the one of non-consumer," said Lamuela.
“Gazpacho highly contains carotenes, vitamin C and polyphenols,” explained Medina-Remón. “The final balance of the bioactive elements of gazpacho and its salt content makes it to be cardio-healthy; in other words, at the end, the positive effect of all the ingredients that contribute to the reduction of arterial pressure prevails over salt’s effect”.
Source: Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.07.008
"Gazpacho consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in a high cardiovascular risk cohort. Cross-sectional study of the PREDIMED trial"
Authors: A. Medina-Remón, A. Vallverdú-Queralt, S. Arranz, E. Ros, et al.