Carob flour is very nutritious and healthy and for this reason it is used instead of cocoa in the preparation of different recipes: donuts, biscuits, cakes or drinks. Do you know its interesting properties? We invite you to discover them in this article.
What is carob?
Carob is the fruit of the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua . It is a tree native to the Mediterranean basin and which belongs to the fabaceae family. Consequently, it comes in the form of a pod with seeds inside, about 10-20 centimeters in length. Once it reaches maturity, at the end of the summer, it acquires a brown hue and an interesting sweetish flavor.
To prepare the carob flour, you need to extract the seeds and then dehydrate them. Once this is done, they must be toasted and ground to obtain a very fine powder. This powder will be ready to be used in the kitchen or to be added to smoothies, yogurt or any food.
Nutritional values of carob flour
Carob flour is rich in carbohydrates and contains about 40-50% of sugars, mainly sucrose, glucose, maltose and fructose. Thanks to its fiber content, these sugars are slowly absorbed. Furthermore, its sugar content is very low compared to cocoa.
Among its components there is also a good percentage of proteins. Contains low-fat and quality, such as linoleic acid and oleic acid. Also present are the B vitamins, iron, calcium and potassium.
Carob flour has a dark brown color, is naturally sweet and has a very particular flavor. Preparations made with carob flour, mixed with cinnamon, vanilla essence or grated citrus peel, are delicious and healthy.
Health properties of carob flour
The fat content in carob flour is very low, while cocoa is high in saturated fats, which are bad for heart health. Many of the benefits associated with consuming carob flour are due to the presence of soluble fiber.
This type of fiber helps regulate intestinal function and significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, it does not contain gluten, so it is suitable for celiac and gluten intolerant people.
The main benefits of carob flour
1. Weight under control
Carob flour is practically fat-free, so if used as a substitute for cocoa to prepare desserts it will lower the calorie content. This promotes the achievement and maintenance of a healthy weight.
On the other hand, this fruit is also very rich in soluble fiber, which stays in the stomach for a long time, prolonging the feeling of satiety and reducing appetite.
2. Source of iron
Iron is a fundamental mineral to maintain the functionality of antibodies, to ensure good physical and mental performance and to produce red blood cells without anomalies. To better assimilate the iron present in carob, it is necessary to combine it with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits.
3. Calcium intake
The calcium present in carob flour offers greater benefits than that found in other sources of plant origin. This is due to the fact that carob does not contain oxalates, components that inhibit the absorption of this mineral by the intestine.
4. Lowering of blood cholesterol levels
The soluble fiber of this legume captures cholesterol and inhibits its absorption. As a result, cholesterol does not pass through the blood and is eliminated. Furthermore, it does not contain tyramine, a substance contained in cocoa and which is associated with the onset of headaches and aggravation of migraines.
5. Prebiotic effect
Its fibers balance the fermentative bacterial flora. It is therefore used as an antidiarrheal, but also as a laxative, and promotes correct peristalsis. It also accelerates healing from infections and gastrointestinal problems.
The dietary fiber present in the carob forms a kind of gel in the intestine that promotes evacuation. It also has an astringent effect due to its tannin content.
6. Source of antioxidants
Carob flour contains polyphenols, which help curb oxidative damage and keep cells healthy. For this reason, among other things, it helps prevent the effects of premature aging.
Did you know all these properties of carob flour? Now that you know how good it is for your health, don’t hesitate to add it to the preparation of your favorite recipes.