Second episode of the SS series – a little more health-focused, as one of the advantages of a seasonal diet is that seasonal fruit and vegetables have much more nutrients (and flavor) than those grown all year around in greenhouses.
Today, let’s talk about carrots. They have a great color, don’t they? Their orange color speaks for them, as it tells you what nutrients they contain, thus why they are good for you.
Carrots contain a huge amount of anioxidants (carotenoids alfa and beta carotene in first place), lutein and other nutrients with healing properties, which help preventing cancer, cardiovascular diseases and keep your tissues and teeth in good health. Other important nutrients contained in carrots are vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1 and B6, potassium, manganese and folates. They help fertility, make your skin prettier and your eyes stronger. Orange carrots are the most common, but you can find also white, red or purple carrots. Also in this case, their color speaks for their nutrient content. For example, the purple ones contain a great deal of anthocyanins (the same contained in blueberries and other blue-purple fruit and vegetables), which also have antioxydant effects and health benefits against cancer and diabetes.
Our body transforms carotenoids into Vitamin A, a real treat for our health (and beauty!). However, in order to accomplish this process it and to absorb the nutrients properly, it needs fats. So, if you want to crunch on a carrot as a snack, make sure you rub it with some oil first, or dip it in some nut butter. The same applies to juicing: add some cold-pressed flaxseed oil or some good cold-pressed new extra virgin olive oil to your juice before drinking it. You beauty treatment will be much more powerful!
Plus, won’t they be even tastier?! 🙂
Carrots are better eaten raw or juiced for greater nutritional value. However, our bodies need warmth in winter, and eating too much cold food isn’t so good for your digestive system this time of the year. Well-timed steaming or slow roasting at low temperature can not only save a good part of the nutrients, but also improve our bodies’ ablity to absorb some of them-AND warm your body at the same time. Boiling is not a good idea, as the nutrients will get lost in the water. Leaving carrots whole or cut lengthwise instead of in rounds will prevent nutrient loss, too. Brush their skin clean instead of peeling them. Most of the nutrients and dietary fibers are right under the skin, so you might want to keep it on. Finally, if you find carrots with their lovely green stems (meaning they are much fresher!), don’t throw the green parts away: that’s where most of the potassium is. Consider saving them for a salad, a smoothie, or a soup.
The good news is carrots are produced all year around! But, this doesn’t mean you should buy them with closed eyes. Since they are roots and grown underground, it is very important to purchase organic carrots to avoid loading you body with chemicals used to fertilize the soil. In this way, you can eat the skin without worrying . You will have good value for your purchase.
Today’s recipe is pretty straightforward: organic carrots, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed oil is a great source of omega-3 fats, which are essential for human health and good balance. Often times we don’t get nearly enough omega-3 acids, while we consume too many omega-6 acids. Flaxseeds, flaxseed meal and flaxseed oil can help you reach the breakeven point. One tablespoon a day gives you enough omega-3. Bear in mind that it likes cold, like fatty fishes (also rich in omega-3). The best flaxseed oil is cold-pressed and organic, and it is stored in the refrigerator to save all those delicate and easy-to-damage nutrients. Use it on cold salads and other dishes: you will soon fall in love with its nutty flavor.
Cooking time here depends on the size of your carrots. Mine were medium-sized and I left them whole. If you have baby carrots, you might want to cook them a little less, same if you decide to half or quarter them. I used flaxseed oil at the end of the cooking, when the carrots had cooled down a bit, but you can use other good fats including walnut oil or green extra virgin olive oil. These carrots are great as a side, on top of your grains, or as a snack.
- 12 medium-sized organic carrots, rinsed, skin brushed (not removed!)
- 1 T extra virgin olive oiljuice of one organic lemona pinch of sea salt
- 1 T flaxseeds1 T raw mild honey (ex. acacia)
- 1 T good balsamic vinegar
- 2 T flaxseed oilsalt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, honey and vinegar. Place carrots inside the bowl and let marinade at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Place carrots on a baking sheet and pour the marinade on top.
Sprinkle with the flaxseeds. Bake for up to 1 hour, or until you can fork them easily and the flesh feels tender.
Turn them around three-four times to cook evenly.
Remove and let cool a little. Season with flaxseed oil, salt and pepper.
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