Carrots: better to eat them raw than cooked

These root vegetables, tasty and inexpensive, are especially popular among the French, who eat nearly eleven kilograms of them per household per year, according to the Carrottes de France association. And since they’re on the shelves all season, you can regularly include them in the menu… as long as you don’t overdo it and eat them raw in salads, not in soup or puree, as Dr. Réginald Allouche, physician, biomedical engineer and author of the book The Hepato-Detoxification Method, which has just been reissued by Albin Michel Editions.

Why are carrots such a valuable food?

Dr. REGINALD ALUSH. They are among the most useful vegetables for the health of the liver, an organ that plays a key role in the functioning of the body: it transforms the nutrients provided by food, regulates blood sugar, participates in the synthesis of many proteins, ensures the storage of various vitamins and releases the body from many toxic products. But it turns out that carrots are rich in enzymes that drain toxins and heavy metals. Therefore, it relieves the liver, protecting it from overload. It also normalizes the level of triglycerides, the fats that transport unburned sugars destined to be stored. Carrots are also rich in vitamins B, C and E, as well as beta-carotene, a very powerful antioxidant that fights cell aging and promotes healing. That’s why I recommend eating carrots regularly, but especially not every day, because excess beta-carotene can clog the liver. And in smokers and ex-smokers, it can also worsen or cause lung cancer. The right dose: twice a week.

Why do you recommend eating them raw instead?

When the carrot is raw, its glycemic index – which measures the effect of its consumption on blood sugar levels – is low (16) despite its slightly sweet taste. When cooking, this index is three times higher, which promotes weight gain, the development of diabetes and the infiltration of fat in the liver. In addition, raw carrots contain more vitamins and mineral salts than cooked carrots.

How best to season them?

For garnishing grated carrots, it is best to use a mixture of equal parts canola oil and virgin olive oil, cold-pressed first and organic if possible. These two oils complement each other: consumed together, they meet the body’s nutritional needs for essential fatty acids. As for vinegar, beware of balsamic vinegar: the one sold in supermarkets at reasonable prices is made by adding sugar to grape must. It has nothing to do with the real balsamic vinegar of Modena, the price of which is stratospheric (over 90 euros per liter). Opt for lemon juice or wine, sherry or apple cider vinegar instead. Fresh aromatic herbs, spices, pickles and capers are also welcome.

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