What is carob?
The carob pod comes from a type of tree, the Ceratonia siliqua. Carob powder, also known as carob flour, is a cocoa powder substitute. It’s formed from dried, roasted carob tree pods and has a similar appearance to cocoa powder. Carob powder is commonly used in baked goods as a natural flavor. It’s slightly sweet and has a distinct flavor.
This powder is used as a flavoring agent and a chocolate alternative in baking and beverages. Carob flour and extracts are also utilized as food additives.
You can actually find carob being used in numerous commercial foods under the name of “carob bean gum” or “locust bean gum”. It is used as a common thickener and emulsifier, and even as a substitute for gluten. Cheeses, sauces, syrups, ice cream, and many more foods will commonly have carob bean gum in their ingredients.
What is carob’s origins?
The ancient Greeks were the first to cultivate carob trees, which are today spread around the world. A carob tree can yield pods after six or seven years.
When a female carob tree is fertilized, hundreds of pounds of dark brown pods loaded with brown pulp and small seeds are produced. The pods are about a half-foot to a foot long and an inch broad. Pods are harvested in the fall.
Carob also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. It contains the following vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-3, and vitamin B-6.
The minerals copper, calcium, manganese, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are also present. Carob also contains a lot of fiber, pectin, and protein.
If you are wondering why you may want to forgo the usual cacao and try carob, here are a few benefits to consider:
Carob provides nutrients
Carob is an excellent source of dietary fiber. The pods and pulp are mostly made up of insoluble fibers, whereas the seeds are mostly made up of soluble fiber. Its soluble fiber is composed of polysaccharides, which are long sugar chains (of mannose and galactose). Bean gum is another name for carob seed extract.
Carob, as a member of the legume family, includes anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and lectins. Because they are mostly found in seeds, you can limit your consumption by avoiding seeds. Heating also aids in the destruction of anti-nutrients. For people with sensitivity, roasted carob powder will be more bearable than raw carob powder.
The good news is that it does not appear to decrease nutritional absorption from the diet. In one study, carob gum had no effect on mineral balance when taken before a meal. Instead, it operated as a stool-bulking agent without interfering with mineral absorption from the diet.
Alternative to chocolate
Carob is a non-dairy chocolate substitute for persons who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk. It has fewer calories, fat, and caffeine than chocolate, making it a good option if you’re attempting to lose weight. While it has some naturally occurring sugar, as a stand-alone ingredient, it is bitter. However, you will need to add less sugar than you would for chocolate.
Alternative to coffee
Roasted carob beans have been made into a coffee substitute. This is perfect for those who miss the taste and routine of your morning coffee, but cannot tolerate it anymore or wish to avoid caffeine.
Gluten is a protein component found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye that contributes to the viscous elasticity of bread and baked goods. Gluten cannot be consumed by people who have celiac disease or who have sensitive digestive systems. They can use gluten-free carob flour, in addition to all-purpose gluten-free flour, as a binding agent for making bread, cakes, and sweets. Locust bean gums are used in many gluten-free items on the market.
Carob is a medicinal plant that has traditionally been used to treat gastrointestinal ailments. It’s phytochemical components and pharmacological actions on the gastro-intestinal tract are being investigated. The study on carob leaves and pods revealed a high concentration of carbs, minerals, dietary fiber, flavonoids, and polyphenols, as well as low content of fat and protein. In the gastrointestinal tract, the plant exhibits antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-diarrhea, anti-constipation, anti-ulcer, and anti-glucose absorption actions.
Based on chemical and pharmacological characteristics, it is inferred that this species has therapeutic and preventative activities in the digestive system.
Helps to improve cholesterol levels
Carob pulp contains insoluble fiber, which, like soluble dietary fiber, has been shown to influence blood lipids in animals. The study was designed to look into the effect of carob pulp preparation on blood cholesterol in adults.
Regular consumption of carob fiber-rich foods improves the human blood lipid profile by lowering bad cholesterol levels and improving the LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio. The ingesting carob fibers efficiently prevent and cures hypercholesterolemia. It may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks.
According to the findings, polyphenols derived from Carob pods exhibit strong free radical scavenging inhibition against beta-carotene discoloration.
The study established the phytochemical content, cytotoxic activity, and antioxidant capacities of Carob tree methanol extracts. According to research, carob extracts include a high concentration of phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties by mending cell damage caused by free radicals in the body and also inhibiting the growth of cervical cancer cells. Cervical cancer cells are poisoned by carob. Polyphenols’ antioxidant properties help to eliminate damaging free radicals from the body.
After two days of treatment, tannin-rich carob pod powder improved the state of diarrhea in newborns, according to a study on using it for treating acute-onset diarrhea. It brought feces and body temperature back to normal and reduced vomiting. According to research, carob pod powder provides a rapid antidiarrheal effect on newborns.
Carob has a low sugar level, a third of the calories, and a little amount of fat. It aids in the avoidance of blood sugar rises and is regarded as a healthy dietary choice for diabetic individuals. As a result, it is a better substitute for chocolate and also contains fiber and protein, both of which are lacking.
Help reduce your weight
Carob contains fiber, which inhibits the secretion of postprandial ghrelin, a hormone that alerts the body that it is hungry and is released occasionally after eating. It can also help you lose weight by lowering your risks of overeating.
Treatment for the common cold
It is high in antioxidants, vitamin E, and phytonutrients, which aid in the treatment of illnesses such as the common cold and flu. Gallic acid, found in the carob, has anti-allergic, antiseptic, and antibacterial activities. It is also used to treat coughs and anemia.
Uses in traditional medicine:
- A pulp decoction is used to treat diarrhea, heartburn, and to relieve irritation in the gut.
- Coughs are treated with seed pods.
- It is also used to treat nausea, coughing, and obesity.
- It aids digestion and is used to treat bacterial infections.
- Carob powder is beneficial in the treatment of prostate infections and prostatitis.
- Carob is used to get rid of warts, and pods can aid with a chronic cough.
- A face mask containing seed pod powder cleanses and tones the skin.
- Pods were used to treat low vision, intestinal worms, and eye infections.
- It helps pain alleviation.
- It’s mineral content can help you avoid anemia and osteoporosis.
A few precautions
- Use it as a supplement only under the guidance of a medical professional.
- Excessive use is not recommended. Most recipes will not call for very much, so this should not be an issue.
Carob for dogs
Carob does not contain theobromine, the compound in chocolate that makes it toxic for dogs and other animals. It also contains no caffeine, which is also not good for dogs either. It is full of nutrients, and as such, it actually has been used as a high energy feed for livestock.
Now, it is commonly found in doggie desserts to mimic chocolate, such as puppy chocolate chip cookies. You can even find dog-friendly dessert recipes that call for carob powder or chips as a fun addition for your pet.
Should carob be avoided?
Carob, in general, is a healthy food that does not represent a significant risk to humans. Due to its inoffensiveness, many people consider it a healthier alternative to chocolate.
However, obviously, if you are allergic to carob, do not consume it.
Carob in summary:
Carob has its own distinct flavor and should not be compared to chocolate because the flavors are so dissimilar. However, if you’re seeking a caffeine-free way to produce a hot beverage known as carob tea or carob coffee, give it a shot. It is a great substitute for chocolate, especially if you have digestive or other dietary difficulties.
In almost all recipes, you may use carob powder and chips in the same manner that you would chocolate. You may also enjoy your favorite sweet sweets while consuming fewer calories, fat, and sugar.
Carob powder is generally regarded as safe to consume. However, it should not be consumed in significant amount by pregnant women, as not enough studies have been done on any possible effects.
More vegan ingredient information:
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