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Carob is a fruit of the carob tree, which is a shrub, and has the same shape as a pod, having 8 to 12 brown seeds inside and a sweet taste.
This fruit is rich in antioxidants, mainly polyphenols, and can be used as an alternative to cocoa powder or chocolate, as it has a similar flavor. In addition, carob has few calories and is an excellent source of fiber and B vitamins, calcium and magnesium.
You can find carob powder, gum or cream in supermarkets, he alth food stores or online stores, and can be mixed in milk or added to recipes traditionally made with chocolate such as cookies and cakes.In addition, there are also industrialized carob products such as cereal bars and jellies, for example.
In addition to being used as a substitute for chocolate, carob can bring some he alth benefits, the main ones being:
1. Improves gastrointestinal he alth
Due to the fact that it contains fiber and tannins, carob helps to improve the functioning of the intestine by reducing diarrhea, improving acidity, preventing acidity, reducing vomiting and maintaining the he alth of the intestinal microbiota.
Also, carob has anti-reflux action and, therefore, is a good ingredient to be used in infant formulas.
2. Cholesterol control
Carob is rich in antioxidants, which helps to lower the levels of bad cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, and thus promotes the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, for example, as antioxidants prevent the deposition of fats in the arteries and the decrease in the absorption of fat by the body.
3. Diabetes management
Because it is rich in fiber, such as pectin, it is possible to avoid glycemic spikes and reduce the amount of sugar circulating in the body. In addition, when foods are enriched with carob, their glycemic index may decrease, which also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
4. Promotes bone he alth
Carob is rich in calcium and magnesium, which helps to improve bone density and, consequently, strengthen bones and teeth, for example, and prevent fractures and osteoporosis.
5. Promotes weight loss
Carob has few calories, is rich in fiber and has a fat content, so when it is part of a he althy and balanced diet, it can promote an increased feeling of satiety, favoring weight loss.
6. May improve sleep quality
Because it does not contain caffeine and has a sweet taste, carob can be used as a substitute for chocolate or cocoa, and can be consumed at night without interfering with sleep quality, in the case of people sensitive to caffeine.
7. May have anticancer action
Because it is rich in antioxidants, carob could protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, in addition to exerting anti-inflammatory action, which could help prevent cancer. However, more studies are needed so that this effect of carob can be confirmed.
Carob powder information
The following table gives the nutritional information for 100 grams of carob powder, also known as carob flour:
|Energy||368 kcals||Vitamin B3||1, 3 mg|
|Carbohydrates||85, 6 g||Vitamin B6||0, 37 mg|
|Proteins||3, 2 g||
|Fat||0, 3 g||Folic acid||29 mcg|
|Fibers||5 g||Potassium||830 mg|
|Vitamin A||1 mcg||Calcium||350 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.05 mg||Magnesium||54 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0, 46 mg||Iron||3 mg|
How to use carob
Carob can be used in powder form in the preparation of foods such as cakes, puddings, cookies and sweets as a substitute for cocoa powder or chocolate.
In addition, locust bean gum serves as a thickener, emulsifier and gelling agent in various industrialized products. The gum can also be used in some infant formulas as a thickener and to reduce reflux and vomiting.
Locust bean gum for vomiting or reflux
Mix 1 tablespoon of the gum with 1 glass of water and drink next. For babies, the measure should be 1.2 to 2.4 g of starch per 120 ml of milk.
Carob flour for diarrhea
Mix 25g of flour in 1 cup of warm water or milk. Drink after each diarrhea. This carob flour recipe when mixed with sunflower seed and rice flour can be used against diarrhea even for babies and pregnant women.
Recipes with carob powder
The following are some recipes that can be prepared using carob flour:
1. Gluten-free carob cake
This recipe is easy to make and does not contain gluten, making it a good option for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
- 350 g brown sugar;
- 5 eggs:
- 150 ml of soybean oil;
- 200 g plain yogurt;
- 30 g carob powder;
- 200 g cream of rice;
- 150 g of sweet flour;
- 150 g potato starch;
- 10 drops of vanilla essence;
- 10 g of baking powder.
Beat the eggs, oil, sugar, natural yogurt and vanilla essence in a blender. Then add the dry products, mixing well until you get a uniform mass. Finally add the yeast and stir gently to mix well. Bake in a greased and floured pan for 25 minutes, at 210ºC.
2. Carob cream for dessert
- 200 ml of milk;
- 2 spoons of cornstarch;
- 2 spoons of carob powder;
- 1 spoon of sugar;
- 1 cinnamon stick.
Mix the cornstarch with the milk while it is still cold and after it has dissolved, add the other ingredients and bring to a low heat for a few minutes, until it thickens. When it reaches that point, turn off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick, distribute in small molds and take it to the fridge for 1 hour. Serve cold.
3. Carob and Quinoa Pancakes
- 1 tablespoon carob flour;
- 1 cup quinoa, oat or almond flour;
- 1 egg white;
- 1 cup rice milk or any other plant-based milk;
- 1 teaspoon stevia;
- 1 pinch of s alt;
- 1 pinch of baking soda.
Beat the egg white and then add the milk, stevia, s alt and mix well. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Heat a skillet over medium heat and grease it with a little oil.
Then, place a ladle of the mixture in the skillet and let each side cook for 5 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface. Serve with cheese, honey or jam.