I wanted to create a carrot salad recipe that was similar to the one I had in my childhood. In the “classic” recipe, mayonnaise is often used. I wanted to forgo the mayo, but still have some creaminess. I chose coconut milk as a substitute, and to add a little tang I use a white balsamic vinegar infused with tangerine. Raisins and pecans add additional textures and flavors. A few customers came back for seconds–and even thirds! That is always a good sign.
4 cups (about 1 pound) shredded carrots*
½ cup coconut milk
⅓ cup tangerine balsamic vinegar*
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup raisins
¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Pinch of cardamom
* You can use other root veggies as well. I tried out some red daikon radish for color and taste.
** If unavailable, you can use white balsamic vinegar with orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl. Mix well. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4–6.
Health Benefits of Carrots and Coconut Milk
- Improves vision: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts.
- Helps prevent cancer: Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties.
- Slows down aging: The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
- Promotes healthier skin: Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.
- Helps prevent infection: Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed.
- Promotes healthier skin (from the outside): Carrots are used as an inexpensive and very convenient facial mask. Just mix grated carrot with a bit of honey.
- Prevents heart disease: Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.
- Cleanses the body: Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibers present in carrots help clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.
- Protects teeth and gums: It’s all in the crunch! Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
- Prevents stroke: From all the above benefits it is no surprise that in a Harvard University study, people who ate more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less.
New research has revealed that not eating enough fat can actually make you fat. According to Bruce Fife, N.D. in his article “The Fat that Can Make You Thin,” people who include more healthy fats in their diet, such as the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk, eat less than those who don’t get enough fat. While all fats help the body feel full and satiate the brain receptors that control appetite, the fat in coconut milk may increase metabolism and perhaps increase weight loss on a reduced-calorie diet.
Immune System Health
Coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which may fight the viruses and bacteria that cause herpes, influenza and even HIV. According to a study led by Dr. Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, children with pneumonia who were treated with antibiotics and coconut oil benefited more than those taking the antibiotic alone.
The medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut milk may also improve heart health. A study in “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that Filipino women who ate more coconut oil had healthier blood lipid profiles, a major determinant of heart disease. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk may also kill the three major types of atherogenic organisms — bacteria that cause plaque formation in the arteries — that may lead to heart disease.
Healthy Skin and Hair
Coconut milk is highly nutritious when ingested, and these nutrients may help fortify and condition skin and hair as well. The fatty acids in coconut milk are a natural antiseptic and may help treat dandruff, skin infections, wounds and dry, itchy skin. Furthermore, the high fatty acid content in coconut milk serves as a natural moisturizer for healthy skin and may help repair wrinkles and sagging in aging skin.