Belly Fat Fighting Mediterranean Diet Dish Lowers High Blood Pressure, Study Says

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Discover one simple belly fat fighting Mediterranean dish that researchers say contributes to lowering high blood pressure while you are taking off those extra pounds.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona report their findings from a large scale study designed to investigate whether eating a belly fat fighting Mediterranean vegetable-based Gazpacho soup known to be rich in phytochemicals, can actually lower blood pressure and/or reduce the prevalence of hypertension in individuals who are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

According to a news release issued by the researchers, hypertension is a major public health problem that affects approximately 25% of the adult population. The danger of uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure is the fact that it is the main risk factor for developing a myocardial or cerebral infarction, which are the leading causes of death in modern western populations.

The study, currently In Press in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases titled “Gazpacho consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in a high cardiovascular risk cohort” reports the results of data analyzed from 3,995 participants identified as high risk for cardiovascular disease who ate Gazpacho soup on a daily basis throughout the study period.

Gazpacho soup is just one of many old Mediterranean dishes that have previously been identified and popularly promoted as a healthful way to lose weight and achieve a healthier life in the fight against metabolic disease through a Mediterranean dieting lifestyle.

“Previous clinical and epidemiological studies associate the consumption of gazpacho’s main ingredients (tomato, cucumber, garlic, olive oil, etc.) with an arterial pressure reduction,” says the study’s lead author, Alexander Medina-Remón. “This new scientific study,” he continues, “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.”

One surprising finding of the study was that the relatively high salt content of traditional Gazpacho soup does not appear to adversely affect blood pressure.

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According to the study coordinator and co-author Rosa M. Lamuela, the Gazpacho soup sodium content factor was “…an unexpected one, as it contains salt, one of the restricted ingredients to maintain arterial pressure levels. Despite this, the results of the study describe that arterial pressure of gazpacho consumers is lower than the one of non-consumers. The reason may be that bioactive elements of gazpacho counteract the effect of salt ingestion,” she says.

The reason why Gazpacho soup may have a blood pressure lowering affect is believed to be due to the wide range of cardio-healthy nutrients found in the soup’s ingredients states the study’s authors as they conclude that their data demonstrates that eating Gazpacho soup:

“…is 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.”

“Gazpacho highly contains carotenes, vitamin C and polyphenols. 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,” says Alexander Medina-Remón.

For a simple recipe on making your own Gazpacho soup at home to treat your high blood pressure and lose weight, the following recipe is one listed online by Food Network.com from “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.”

Gazpacho Soup Ingredients

• 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
• 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
• 4 plum tomatoes
• 1 red onion
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
• 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup good olive oil
• 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over-process!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

For additional useful info about the health benefits such as weight loss from eating a Mediterranean diet, follow this link to an article titled “Why Mediterranean Diet Recipes Make The Best Flat Belly Food.”

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Reference: “Gazpacho consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in a high cardiovascular risk cohort. Cross-sectional study of the PREDIMED trial” Nutrition, Metabolism d Cardiovascular Diseases (Article In Press December 2012); A. Medina-Remón et al.

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