Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
I watched a programme on T.V the other day, they were testing the effects of food on various people and for different reasons. The test that caught my interest the most was the results of eating tomatoes, or in this case tomato puree daily. The tolerance of the skin to U.V rays was tested and then re-tested after the trial.
The results showed a huge difference, the skin that had burnt quickly, was able to tolerate more sun without burning, after just one month of eating 50grams of tomato puree daily.
I find that particularly interesting living in Spain as the locals consume vast quantities of tomatoes in every form, fresh, bottled, paste and tinned. Itís very rare that I ever see a Spanish person that is sunburnt.
Nature is amazing.
The traditional Spanish soup - Gazpacho has also been studied recently. The Journal of Nutrition reported that after a two week trail with volunteers eating two bowls of Gazpacho every day for two weeks, amazing results were discovered.
The volunteers showed a significant increase of Vitamin C in their blood levels, and a decrease in key stress molecules. Gazpacho is rich in anti-oxidants, and delicious chilled on a hot day, and as the report shows, is incredibly good for us in more ways than one.
The soup is made from raw vegetables that would have been to hand in the garden, most probably in abundance in Andalucia where it originates.
This recipe is even better if itís made the day before and kept in the fridge.
2 large tomatoes (about 1 kg)
1 medium cucumber, peeled if the skin is tough, and roughly
1 red or green pepper, seeded and chopped
One medium onion
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic
5 tablespoons water (vary according to the consistency you prefer)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Sieve the puree. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Some people add bread, that has been soaked and then squeezed. This gives the soup a thicker consistency.
To make garlic croutons:
Diced cubes of day old bread
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Using a frying pan heat the oil gently and add the garlic, cool over a fairly low heat watching it doesnít burn.
Turn down the heat and add the bread cubes.
Cook slowly turning continually until golden brown.