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Carrots, oligosaccharides and gut health

Of late I've become addicted to Purple Carrots.

Love the taste. Now readily available.  They've even been dubbed 'the new superfood'.

Since they are currently 'out of season' I've had to make do with the standard red carrots. But it it turns out that even 'normal' carrots have some extraordinary attributes.

In a segment on the German program -- The Health Show (segment begins at the 20 minute mark ) -- there is a fascinating discussion about the medical use of carrot soup to treat diarrhoea in children. That's instead of relying on antibiotics.

Why? What's so special about carrot soup? Therein  hangs a tail  about the power of oligosaccharides. When oligosaccharides are consumed, the undigested portion serves as food for the intestinal microflora -- and as chance would  have it, carrots are dense in oligosaccharides.
...oligosaccharides are carbohydrates which have 3-10 simple sugars linked together. They are found naturally, at least in small amounts, in many plants. ... Recent interest has also been drawn to oligosaccarides from the nutritional community because of an important characteristic: the human digestive system has a hard time breaking down many of these carbohydrates. Almost 90% escapes digestion in the small intestine and reaches the colon where it performs a different function: that of a prebiotic.
Prebiotic is a kind of an odd term, fairly recently coined to refer to food components that support the growth of certain kinds of bacteria in the colon (large intestine). At first it was thought that oligosaccharides were the main prebiotics, but it turns out that resistant starch and fermentable fiber also feeds these bacteria. We’re learning now that a whole other digestive system is happening in the colon, with important influences on the rest of the body [Source:Oligosaccharides and Prebiotics.]
The point about carrot soup is that the carrots are not raw and the extended cooking of the carrots ( simmer for approx  40-60 minutes) releases the  oligosaccharides more effectively so that they can get going in prebiotic mode.

Since I'm a probiotic aficionado -- dedicated , as I am , to  the celebration of lactobaccilus et al --  with all my yogurt and sauerkraut making and consumption -- the carrot story rang a few bells.

I eat yogurt and  sauerkraut daily. For instance, for lunch I usually have a yogurt drink made up of yogurt  combined with something else (eg: pawpaw, berries, avocado, or garlic, etc).

I love my liquid lunches. So quick, tasty, cheap and easy.

Well now, I'm thinking I get to enrich the experience by heating up some carrot soup (carrots, onion, garlic, ginger -- gotta have ginger) and eating it with dollops of yogurt. 

The taste is superb. 

I'm usually known -- when in catering mode -- for my carrot Moroccan  salad/dip which always amazes folk when they eat it. If you want to understand and relate to the taste potential of carrots -- this recipe is the one to tune you in.

So whether it's gonna be souped or dipped -- carrots are go.

You gotta love em...and  your insides are sure to thank you for your indulgence.


 

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