Organic Andalusian Gazpacho: The Anti-aging Food
Free radicals are a major cause of cellular aging remains and the antioxidant content of food is a good tool to combat them. Gazpacho contains a significant amount of antioxidants and other healthy compounds, such as vitamins and minerals. If the ingredients are organic the value is even bigger
The origin of Gazpacho
The Andalusian gazpacho is one of the most popular and most representative cold soups of the cuisine in southern Spain, especially in the summer season, and is one of the typical dishes of the Mediterranean diet.
The origin of gazpacho is not dated, but there is an evidence of a simplified recipe, without vegetables, consumed during the 8th century in Al-Andalus, Spain. In the 19th century, the dish started to become more popular and has started being served with small pieces of vegetables. Its use in Andalusian cuisine was widespread because of its cooling and satiating effect, well suited for hot summers of this region, while there was no drawbacks like the caloric load of other summer drinks.
Although its base recipe has tomato as the main ingredient along with bell pepper, water, bread, olive oil, garlic, vinegar and salt, many variations have been developed. Vinegar can be substituted by lemon juice, often including herbs like mint or cilantro, and can accompany various vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, or fruits like grapes; or even ham or tuna. Its consistency can also be changed to make gazpacho vary from a soft drink to a thick soup by adding a bigger quantity of bread. This more consistent mixture is called salmorejo and its preparation is very simple as it is only crushing and sieving the ingredients of the mixture to remove mainly seeds and tomato skin.
Even healthier when organic
Healthy gazpacho characteristics are based on its ingredients. In the case of organic gazpacho, there are many good influences on human well-being. A few examples…
Tomato contains significant amounts of polyphenols, antioxidants of vegetable origin which have a proven effect on cardiovascular problems, degenerative diseases and cancer prevention. The science has identified up to 34 different phenolic compounds in tomatoes. The importance of having this diversity of phenolic compounds is the synergy of various substances which enhances their antioxidant effects, thus favouring the neutralization of free radicals that cause cellular aging. A study conducted by the University of Barcelona shows that organic tomato juices and ketchups contain a higher amount of the phenolic compounds comparing to conventional products. That difference is created by the production methods of organic tomatoes. The tests also indicate that during the decrease of phenolic compounds of a gazpacho was not significant even after three months of a refrigerator storage.
One of the main ingredients of gazpacho is olive oil, in the case of organic olive oil gazpacho can only be of highest quality. Next to the high level of phenolic acids, there are more healthy characteristics. A comparison, recently provided by a study in the IFAPA (Institute for Research and Agriculture and Fisheries) Formation of Córdoba, proved greater presence of flavonoids and hidroditirosol in organic extra-virgin comparing to the amount in conventional olive oil.
As in the case of organic tomato, organic olive oil adds more value to gazpacho, adding a higher antioxidant potential to the cells of our body than its conventional counterpart.
Some ecological Andalusian companies have already realised the benefits of this wonderful local cuisine and have put on the market their delicious and refreshing organic gazpacho ready to beat the summer heat by healthy recipes for elimination of harmful free radicals.