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If you want a deliciously quick bite of more than three dozen natural chemicals that lower the risk of both cancer and heart problems, all you need is a frying pan, olive oil, onion, garlic, tomato, thyme and bay leaf.
When researchers at the University of Barcelona analyzed a dish called sofrito, a Mediterranean mixture consisting of onions sautéed in olive oil with garlic, tomato and spices, they found 40 different health-boosting phytochemicals (disease-fighting substance in vegetarian foods). These include a broad mixture of carotenoids, vitamins, polyphenols and other antioxidants that help the body fight off chronic illness.
According to the researchers, their experiment “revealed the presence of polyphenols never previously reported in Mediterranean sofrito.”
As reported by Conner Middelmann-Whitney, “the researchers recommended using virgin olive oil, rather than sunflower oil, to prepare sofrito; indeed, they found that recipes where olive oil made up 10% of the dish had particularly beneficial properties.”
Whitney recommends sautéing the onion until translucent, and then adding the other ingredients and cooking on the stove for another 15 minutes. Sofrito can be added to other dishes like stews and soups. You can also add other vegetables to the sautéed mixture.