Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach Charlotte Lau explores the benefits of incorporating another healthy ingredient into our diets. This month it’s root veg
Root vegetables are starchy vegetables including sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrot, beetroot and turnips. Low cost and readily available throughout the winter, they are delicious roasted, cooked in stews, mashed or served warm in salads. Root vegetables are not only low in fat, cholesterol and calories but are packed with fibre, which is crucial in supporting our digestive health.
Dietary fibre takes on many times its own weight in water and swells in the digestive system. This stretches the gut wall and causes receptors to stimulate the rhythmical contraction process that moves the contents of the gut along through the various stages of the digestive system.
Foods bright in orange pigment, like carrots and sweet potatoes, contain high levels of beta carotene. This is a fat-soluble antioxidant which supports skin health, offering protection from free radical damage. Inside the body, beta carotene is turned into vitamin A which, in addition to helping your eye health, supports a healthy immune system.
Fibre rich roast root vegetables
with lentils and tahini dressing
- 1 packet of pre-cooked puy lentils
- 1 courgette, sliced
- 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 aubergine, sliced into moons
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
- a handful of rocket
For the tahini dressing:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp cold water
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Chop and place all the vegetables on a large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, until golden.
- Heat half the lentils according to the instructions (usually 2 minutes in the microwave) and gently mix into the vegetables.
- Stir through a handful of rocket.
- For the dressing, mix the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup and cold water in a jam jar or small jug and whisk until combined. If the dressing is too thick, gradually add more cold water to thin.
- Share the lentils and roast vegetables between two plates and drizzle with the dressing.
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