Soups are a dish that is not consumed frequently during the summer -especially in Greece. Gazpacho soups seem to be very widespread in Spain and Portugal throughout the year. And that is because -apart from being tasty- they are, also, a refreshing cold dish. So, this dish can become a good habit and be one of the nutrient-dense meals that someone may add to his diet, especially when he follows a balanced meal plan. The particular soups usually contain tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, onion, and peppers; and because of all these vegetables, they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
One thing you should know is that the consumption of fruits and vegetables is directly linked to the reduced likelihood of developing certain chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, and dementia. We should consume at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Gazpacho soups contain a great concentration of several different vegetables and it seems that their consumption has some positive effects on our health. More specifically:
1. They seem to reduce oxidative stress.
2. Due to their high concentration in vitamin C, they boost our immune system’s proper function and protect the skin from free radicals (harmful molecules).
3. In a relevant study that was conducted in populations who have developed hypertension, it was found that due to the phytochemicals and antioxidants they contain, they help lower the blood pressure.
4. They are soups light in taste, low in calories, fats, and especially in saturated fats.
5. Consuming 500 ml to 1 L soup per day can benefit our body in many ways, making it a very nutrient-dense meal that we can have both as lunch or as dinner.
Shall we take a look at the ones I prepared for you?
An ideal alternative for vegetarians and vegans. It has only 240 calories per portion and it is a good source of fibers that help bowel movement while, at the same time, they improve digestion. Of course, it is rich in vitamin C and contains vitamin A and K, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese, nutrients necessary for the body's proper function.
Another refreshing Gazpacho soup with even fewer calories, since it contains 57 calories per portion (8 portions in total). It is rich in fibers and protein, while it is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, and folic acid. In fact, the hemp seeds it contains, are becoming more and more well-known and used in plenty of recipes. This is due to their content in protein, Omega-3, and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fact, they are consumed a lot by people who follow vegan diets and want to top up their protein intake.
And now, something different! That is, of course, a sweeter version of this soup for those of you who have a sweet tooth! The strawberry gazpacho contains only 112 calories per portion (8 portions in total) and it is high in fibers, vitamin C, and low in fats. The watermelon gazpacho, on the other hand, contains 160 calories per portion (10 portions in total) and despite the fact that it does not have the same vitamin C content as the rest, it could also become a wonderful choice for summer days.
The consumption of vegetables seems to boost our health greatly. For this reason, take advantage of the above information, the recipes, and add something even more nutritional and tasty to your diet! I can’t wait to read your comments and feedback!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
*The above information is based on published research findings.