Cold comfort

Tomato soup is an old favorite in the pantheon of mid-winter comfort foods. And a new study shows that it might offer the same soothing benefits to your blood pressure, too.

Assuming you slurp it down cold, that is.

Researchers looked at the eating habits of more than 3,000 subjects at high cardiovascular risk. And they found that consumption of chilled gazpacho was inversely related to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

In fact, results suggest that eating more of this Spanish summertime standby could lower your overall blood pressure by as much as 27 percent.

This benefit comes in spite of gazpacho’s salt content, which the researchers cite as a surprise. (Honestly…the old salt routine is really getting tired.)

But they also attribute the soup’s effects to the mélange of phytochemicals you can find in its ingredients. (For you non-foodies, a typical gazpacho recipe features tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, peppers, and onion.)

I have to agree with them here. This study is certainly a glowing testament to the power of fresh produce–and all the carotenes, vitamin C, and polyphenols that it offers.

But more importantly, it’s proof positive that healthy eating is anything but boring.

“Gazpacho consumption is associated with lower blood pressure and reduced hypertension in a high cardiovascular risk cohort. Cross-sectional study of the PREDIMED trial.” Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Nov 10. pii: S0939-4753(12)00181-0. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.07.008. [Epub ahead of print]