Jun 02 2014

Secret Sauce Can Reduce Heart Disease

Last year the delicious tasting Mediterranean diet beat out a low-fat diet for treating cardiovascular disease and a sauce known as Sofrito was part of the dietary prescription that led to healthier hearts.


Participants on the Mediterranean diets were asked to eat Sofrito at least twice per week.   The sauce is made by slowly simmering minced tomatoes, garlic and onion in olive oil with or without aromatic herbs. Sofrito can be added to fish or poultry or to make any vegetable more interesting. Sofrito was new to me last year, I now think of it as Spanish Catsup or Spanish Salsa, and I keep a batch in my refrigerator and use it as I would salsa or catsup.


Here is my recipe for making this simple condiment:

Mince: 2 onions, 6 garlic cloves and 2-3 leeks, white part only (leeks are optional).In a medium sized saucepan slowly cook the vegetables in ½ -3/4 cup olive oil until soft. Add two 28 ounce cans of chopped or whole tomatoes. Cover and cook for 60 minutes on low heat. Break-up any remaining whole tomatoes with a spoon. Cover and refrigerate.











Serve it with eggs, chicken, pasta, – the possibilities are endless. It will add flavor to every meal and using it at least twice per week could help your heart health. Of course there is more to a heart healthy diet than Sofrito.  The general dietary guidelines in the study also recommended abundant use of olive oil, 2 or more servings of vegetables daily, 2-3 servings of fruit daily, 3 servings of legumes (beans) per week, 3 servings of fish per week , at least one servings of nuts or seeds weekly, and skinless poultry was encouraged over red meats, sausage or burgers . Donuts, cakes, candy and soda were discouraged. Wine was recommended as the main source of alcohol and good chocolate (50% cocoa) was encouraged for those with a sweet tooth.



The complete article published in the New England Journal of Medicine can be read here: Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. In short the study found the Mediterranean diet, even with no restriction on calories “resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events “.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Secret Sauce Can Reduce Heart Disease”

  1. Dianeon 02 Feb 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Just working my way through the NEJM reference material,so was glad to find this easily accessible article.Do you remember the Guidelines recommended weekly amount of Sofrito,consumed twice a week?Will take me awhile to read through all the background.Also,trying to clarify if commercially available tomato sauce has more bioaccessible micronutrients than fresh tomatoes.
    Thanks for this puece.

  2. eileenBon 10 Feb 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Hello Diane,
    If I remember correctly the participants ate sofrito at least twice per week,and canned or cooked tomatoes appear to have more health benefits than fresh.

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