As from 21st December, the official start of winter for many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, the significant drop in temperature and loss of sunlight often affect our tonus. Nature, in an attempt to protect and preserve itself, becomes less active during this period – but of course, humans don’t follow these ecological cycles at all. Instead, we start a pretty tiring and intense season packed with end of year partying, winter holidays and general festive activities!

Lack of natural light, overeating and exercise make our bodies more fragile - stress, depression, digestive problems and various illnesses start to appear and become our main winter worries. So to stay in good health and avoid these winter health mishaps, certain foods make great remedies and are essential to calmly gliding through an otherwise ‘dangerous’ winter season!

 

Carrots – both food & medicine...

Rich in Vitamin B, C, D and in beta-carotene (provitamin A), carrots are usually used in cases of anaemia. Carrots also contain sugars, lecithin, pectin, glutamine and minerals - only Vitamin C is affected with cooking. This particular composition means that carrots can help to increase our resistance to winter illnesses, fight against mild frostbite, encourage waste elimination, help with diarrhoea or digestive problems as well as reduce symptoms of respiratory infections. Carrots also help to fight against physical and nervous fatigue.

 

How can I get the most benefits?

Carrots can be eaten raw, finely grated, mashed or even better, as fresh carrot juice.

For diarrhoea in both babies and adults, cook 500g of carrots in boiling water and then blend. Add enough boiling water to obtain one litre. This ‘soup’ should be eaten within 24 hours and replaces all other solid foods.

Fresh carrot juice should be our daily winter drink and when taken regularly, is a great way of ensuring good health. It’s perfect for babies, children, adults, pregnant or breastfeeding women and can help to prevent colds, sore throats, flu and fatigue.

Fresh carrot juice is really simple to make:

  • Simply steam-cook three or four grated carrots (200-300g) 
  • Boil 150-200ml of water and blend everything together

 

You can also add the juice of one orange, with or without ice, according to your desired temperature.

If you feel a cough coming along or you start to lose your voice, reduce the juice from this recipe on a low heat until it reaches a honey/syrup consistency*. This can then be taken throughout the day, by teaspoon or tablespoon according to age and can be kept for two to three days refrigerated.

For stomach aches and pains, usually after overeating, slice 250g carrots and boil in one and half litres of water for thirty minutes. Then drink the carrot broth during mealtimes as a drink. Alongside, carrot soup is also recommended and for little ones, can be a substitute for other solid foods.

 

* In certain countries, carrot syrup traditionally often replaced the more expensive real honey. 

It’s also possible to use carrot seeds/grains – however these do not have the same properties, they are diuretic and encourage intestinal gas elimination.

 

References 

LIEUTAGHI (Pierre) Le livre des bonnes herbes. Éd.Actes Sud

FOURNIER (Paul) Plantes médicinales. Tome I. Éd.Connaissance des mémoires européennes Société Nationale d’Horticulture de France.

GIRRE (Loïc), Les vieux remèdes naturels. Éd.Ouest-France

NON (Shaw), Phytothérapie, Guide illustré du bien-être, Éd.Köneman

MOREL (Jean.Michel), Traité pratique de phytothérapie. Éd.Grancher