The combination of tomato, olive oil, garlic and onion in a sofrito increases the amount of polyphenols and carotenoids, which are bioactive compounds that may help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer, according to new research from the University of Barcelona.
The results were published in the Food Chemistry magazine. The researchers said their work identified for the first time polyphenols and carotenoids, which are antioxidant substances, in sofrito.
«These compounds produced by plants and which we eat are related to reduced cardiovascular diseases», said Rosa Maria Lamuela, leader of the project.
Other bioactive compounds found in the sofrito included carotenoids and vitamin C. Researchers said that the intake of carotenoids such as lycopene prevents prostate cancer, and the consumption of foods rich in beta-carotene can help to reduce the incidence of lung cancer. The researchers recommended using virgin olive oil instead of sunflower oil and said they were now looking for the ideal proportion of the four ingredients.