The Mediterranean Diet is associated with an improvement in cardiovascular health due to the high consumption of bioactive compounds. The benefits of this diet are less visible in non-Mediterranean countries due to cultural differences, especially in the way food is cooked.
Traditional Mediterranean cuisine presents unique characteristics when processing food that can influence the content of bioactive compounds. One of these culinary techniques is sofrito, which consists of frying onion and garlic with olive oil to start the preparation of a dish or sauce, such as tomato sauce.
The consumption of sofrito is associated with an improvement in cardiovascular parameters, insulin sensitivity and less aggressiveness in the symptoms of prostate cancer.
The tomato sauce has more than 40 different polyphenols and a high content of carotenoids. Each ingredient and the synergistic effect between them contribute to increase the benefits of this sauce. Extra virgin olive oil acts as an excipient and contributes to extracting bioactive compounds from the food matrix, promoting absorption.
We have demonstrated that the presence of onion prevents the oxidation of polyphenols from the other ingredients and favors the isomerization of carotenoids in more bioavailable forms. Furthermore, we show that the ingredients used in the sofrito increase the bioavailability, bioavailability and prevent the oxidation of polyphenols and carotenoids when preparing this food.