What is carob?
It is the fruit of Ceratonia siliqua tree, which grows spontaneously or is cultivated in the Mediterranean area and Middle East. Trees grow tall and strong with a height of up to 15 m.
Because it reproduces easily and withstands harsh conditions of drought, it has adapted well in countries like South Africa, USA, Australia and Mexico. Its fruits are 10-30 cm long pods, which become brown at maturity.
Residents from the Mediterranean area used the pods’ sweet floury pulp in various preparations and fermented beverages, and also as animal feed. Gradually, carob has fallen into oblivion.
It resurfaced massively on the market in the early 80s mainly in North America, where the food industry began to replace cocoa, which became expensive after a shortage period.
It provides two distinct products: carob gum and carob powder or flour.
Carob gum (E410), a common additiv
It is the result of processed seeds and it appears as a white or yellowish white powder. It is used as a thickening agent in the food industry and can also be found in beverages, ice creams, puddings, yoghurts and diet products.
It is possible, without even knowing, to eat it almost every day. In contact with water, carob gum forms a gel which, although not absorbed by the body, gives a strong feeling of fullness. Due to this property, carob gum is found in the composition of many slimming supplements.
Carob powder or flour, a healthy food
It is obtained by drying and pulverization of pods. It has the color and subtle taste of caramel, to some extent similar to that of cocoa.
Rich in pectins, quality soluble fibers and sugars with thickening properties, it has the ability to regulate intestinal transit, recommended both in constipation and diarrhea. In addition, the sugars from it are absorbed slowly and maintain steady blood sugar levels that are beneficial for the body.
Carob pods contain 30-70% carbohydrates (cellulose, glucose, mannose, fructose).
The seeds contain proteins, fats (oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, etc.), phytohormones, tannin.
Ceratonia siliqua health benefits
- It contains a large amount of own sugars, similar to fructose.
- It is an important source of minerals (calcium, iron, copper), vitamins (B2) and fibers.
- Due to its rich content of calcium and phosphorus, this powder is used in the fight against osteoporosis.
- It improves digestion.
- It inhibits the development of pathogenic intestinal bacteria (it can be used for treating diarrhea in children and adults and restoring intestinal peristalsis).
- It has a low glycemic index (GI represents the level of influence of ingested carbohydrates on blood sugar levels). It releases energy gradually, ensuring long-term satiation.
- As it is very rich in insoluble fibers, carob has the ability to naturally reduce cholesterol levels. The beneficial effects on cholesterol levels are boosted by the natural high content of lignin and polyphenols – powerful antioxidants that are usually present in plant based foods.
- It is an exceptional antioxidant.
- It doesn’t contain gluten, lactose, caffeine, theobromine.
- As an alkaline food, it induces basicity within the body; thus, it doesn’t stimulate gastric acidity.
- It contains small amounts of sodium and is recommended in hypertension.
Consumption of carob powder is currently not restricted to a certain amount. Therefore, no daily limit has to be respected. However, moderation is recommended.
Enjoy the benefits of this powder by including it in your every day eating routine, at breakfast or snacks, under various forms!