Anti-Aging Vitamin A: Raw Creamy Carrot & Pumpkin Soup

Given the chilly, wet weather of late I have been feeling like soup most days.  Not to mention I have been lazy as!  Blenders are a God-send in these situations.

This soup is rich in Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that also moonlights as retinol.  Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy teeth, skin, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes; and aids immune function by providing a barrier against infections of the skin, lungs and mouth.

It comes from two main types of foods:  retinol and carotenes.  Veges such as carrots, sweet potatoes and rockmelons are orange-coloured due to their carotene content. 

raw carrot + pumpkin

raw carrot + pumpkin

Slurp this up regularly and you’ll have glowing skin without the pricey moisturisers and exfoliators!  The vitamin A neutralises the adverse effects of free radicals, the number one culprit of age-related degeneration and disease.

Vitamin A Anti-aging Soup

2 carrots, chopped
2 cups butternut pumpkin, chopped
handful of raw cashews (soaked the night before)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3-5 dates (soaked the night before)
sea salt and black pepper
1-2 cups water

Put all ingredients in a powerful blender and whizz until it becomes thick and creamy.  Add more or less water depending on how thick you want the soup to be.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Best eaten immediately.

vitamin A power

vitamin A power

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Cal C, Bio C… how ’bout homemade Vit C?

After the chilly weather we’ve been having lately, it seems like an appropriate time to write about vitamin C.

Vitamin C plays a part inn maintaining healthy tissues and a robust immune system, helping iron be absorbed more effectively into the body.  It’s included in many over the counter supplements, and has long been an ingredient in beauty products, heralded for its ability to protect the skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals.

Historically, vitamin C was instrumental in the fight against scurvy.  Sailors who embarked on voyages for months on end with no adequate supplies of fresh fruit and veg were especially susceptible to the illness.  Nowadays it’s the usual remedy for the common cold.

There is some thought that vitamin C may help the heart and blood vessels due to its traces of rutin and hesperidin. It is used for hardening of the arteries, clot prevention in veins and arteries, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The bioflavanoids have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and the monoterpenes expedite wound healing.

Did you know orange peels contain higher levels of vitamin C than its juice?  Per 100g, orange peel has 136 mg of vitamin C while its flesh contains about 71 mg/100 g.  Fruit peel is rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, calcium, selenium, manganese, zinc to name a few – containing many times more of the “good stuff” than its pulp.  You can read detailed nutritional info on the orange here.

Day 1 in the sun

Food sources rich in this vitamin include guava, citrus fruits, red capsicum, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, brussel sprouts and rockmelon.

Browsing the shelves at a local chemist, I found some processed vitamin C supplements selling for over $32!  Crikey!  One must wonder the efficacy of these products, given the exposure to heat during the manufacturing process and the widespread use of (cheap) genetically-modified food sources such as corn.  Go figure.

Dr Ben Kim, a Canadian chiropractor and acupuncturist, gives a low-down on vitamins quite eloquently:

  • “The majority of commercial vitamin supplements are made up of synthetic vitamins
  • Synthetic vitamins do not perform the same functions in your body as vitamins found naturally in whole food
  • Many synthetic vitamins deplete your body of other nutrients and tax your kidneys before being excreted through your urine

Vitamins do not exist as single components that act on their own. Vitamins are made up of several different components – enzymes, co-enzymes, and co-factors– that must work together to produce their intended biologic effects.”

In the ingredient list of vitamin C supplements, the majority contain only ascorbic acid or a compound called ascorbate, which is a less acidic form of acorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C. It represents the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex, much like an orange peel that serves as a protective shell for an orange. “

He states naturally present vitamins from food sources are complete in terms of their necessary components.  Synthetic vitamins (majority of supplements on the market) are merely isolated portions of vitamins that occur naturally in food.

Authentic vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables contains the full suite of the elements below:

  • Rutin
  • Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)
  • Factor K
  • Factor J
  • Factor P
  • Tyrosinase
  • Ascorbinogen
  • Ascorbic Acid

For next to nothing anyone can make their own vitamin C powder out of orange peels, complete with live enzymes to ensure 100% bioavailability of the vitamin in your body.

Homemade Vitamin C Powder

Orange peels
Sunlight
Powerful blender / spice grinder / coffee grinder

We’d just chowed down on about half a dozen oranges so had plenty o’ peel to spare!  Make sure you wash your peels first.

Place the peels in the sun to ensure they fully shrivel and dry out.  I left mine out for 2-3 days.

Put dried peels in your blender / grinder and pulverise until the consistency of a fine powder.

Store your homemade vit C powder in an airtight container.  I keep mine in the fridge.

OMG.  The aroma when I opened the lid of my blender can only be described as intense citrus utopia!

IMAG0480

Day 3 in the sun

Just 1 teaspoon provides more than the daily dose of vitamin C your body needs, regardless of age or size.

Another idea could be to put some dried peels in with your favourite teas (orange ginger, anyone?), however the high temperature is likely to destroy the enzymes.

I’ll be adding my vit C powder to my usual breakfast smoothie and even sprinkling it on top of salads!

C no evil, hear no evil

C no evil, hear no evil