Hot temperatures translate into higher blood pressure – aggravating the hypertension that afflicts 1/3 of the adult population. Fortunately, a seasonal favorite may help: Gazpacho regularly consumed may help balance blood pressure.

Over the course of a 5-year study of nearly 4,000 seniors, those who consumed the most gazpacho (more than 1/2 cup per week) were 27% less likely to have hypertension. Why might this be? Gazpacho’s ingredient base – tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic – serve up a potent mix of antioxidant carotenoids like lycopene and beta-carotene, which can help reduce inflammation and arterial pressure.

The high veggie content may help in other ways as well: British researchers found that those who derive more protein from veg sources enjoy lower blood pressure than those who eat more meat.  Another plus: Soup of all sorts can help you manage your weight – a key factor in keeping blood pressure under control.  Studies show soup can fill you up – even as you take in fewer calories. The nutrient density of soup may also translate into greater satiety; by giving your body the nutrition it needs the brain gets the signal you’ve eaten enough.

Published August 1, 2013