Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of carob.
If you are looking for an amazing chocolate substitute, look no further than the benefits of carob. The carob is naturally sweet, rich, and delicious.
It also contains vital nutrients, but is completely caffeine-free, making it a great option for kids and anyone who wants to keep caffeine intake low or non-existent.
The fruit of the carob tree is used to make medicinal and food products, such as carob beans. Carob is a portion of tasty food, but it is also used for a variety of health problems, including high cholesterol, blood sugar, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and even obesity.
One of the most impressive carob benefits is its scientifically proven ability to help with diarrhea.
Diarrhea is an unpleasant but common problem that many people experience for a variety of reasons.
When you deal with diarrhea, the food and liquid you drink end up passing through your system too quickly, resulting in more frequent and watery stools.
Carob powder has been used successfully to help treat cases of diarrhea in infants, children, and adults.
Why is carob helpful with this common digestive complaint? It appears to be the high tannin content of the carob, which has an “astringent or binding effect on the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract.”
What are tannins? Tannins are water-soluble polyphenols that are present in many foods and beverages, including tea, pomegranate juice, and berries, to name a few.
One trial examined the effects of carob in infants between the ages of three months and 21 months with acute diarrhea due to bacteria or viruses.
The babies were given oral rehydration fluids and randomly took a placebo or carob pod powder consisting of 40 percent tannins and 26.4 percent dietary fiber at a maximum of 15 grams per day for up to six days.
What were the results? Normalized bowel movements and body temperature occurred more quickly in the babies who received the carob powder.
They also stopped vomiting earlier. Furthermore, the young subjects accepted and tolerated the carob tree well.
One study found that the insoluble fiber in the carob has positive effects on cholesterol levels.
The study credits the rich polyphenol content of insoluble carob fiber with its ability to lower both LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and total cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.
This 2010 study randomly divided 88 subjects with hypercholesterolemia to consume carob fiber or a placebo for four weeks.
Study results reveal that carob users lowered their blood lipid levels in the following ways: overall cholesterol decreased by 6.1 percent; LDL cholesterol was lowered by 8.9 percent; LDL: the HDL ratio decreased by 14.3 percent, and triglycerides decreased 23.4 percent.
Overall, the study concludes that consuming polyphenol-rich insoluble fiber (such as the fiber found in carob) may be an effective natural way to prevent and treat high cholesterol, which makes carob lower cholesterol.
Research has shown that the fiber present in consuming carob benefits has positive metabolic properties.
As the carob contains insoluble fiber, it can help improve digestion and prevent constipation.
Carob fiber can also help consumers feel full longer, which is very helpful when trying to avoid overeating and trying to maintain or achieve healthy body weight.
Studies have even shown that eating carob fiber can lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin after a meal and improve fat oxidation, which is good news for people struggling with obesity.
According to the researchers, “carob powder could be a potential candidate in [the] diet of obese and overweight people.”
The fiber content of the carob is also great for helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Carob has a natural sugar content so you don’t want to overdo it, but in moderation, the insoluble fiber in the carob and other nutritious foods as part of an overall healthy diet can help decrease your chance of becoming type 2 diabetic.
You may already be familiar with the importance of minerals to our health, but did you know that carob is a great source of minerals?
It’s true! Carob contains significant amounts of key macrominerals (the ones you need large amounts each day) such as potassium and calcium.
When you compare 15 grams of carob powder to 15 grams of whole milk, the carob wins when it comes to calcium – milk contains 16.9 milligrams of calcium while carob powder contains 52 milligrams!
Other important macrominerals such as magnesium and phosphorus are also found in carob fruit in lower amounts. In addition, the carob tree contains traces or trace minerals, such as iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.
Carob nutrition includes some protein, fiber, and key nutrients like calcium, potassium, and iron. Carob chips are made from carob powder. Just two tablespoons (12 grams) of carob powder contain approximately:
• 28 calories
• 10.4 grams of carbohydrates
• 0.8 grams of protein
• 0 grams of fat
• 5.6 grams of fiber
• 5.6 grams of sugars
• 4 milligrams of sodium
• 42 milligrams of calcium (4.2 percent DV)
• 100 milligrams potassium (2.9 percent DV)
• 0.32 milligrams iron (1.8 percent DV)
Carob interactions and precautions
You may already know how chocolate is toxic to dogs, but can dogs eat carob? Carob is safe for dogs. According to the ASPCA, it is not toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
It is possible, although not common, to have an allergic reaction to the carob, so if you notice any allergic symptoms, discontinue use.
There are currently no established interactions with the benefits of carob. However, always check with your doctor before incorporating carob into your diet as a food or supplement if you are taking other medications or have any ongoing health problems.
To answer what carob beans are, let me first tell you what carob is and what carob powder is.
The carob comes from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), which belongs to the pea family and is native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The tree produces fruit in the form of an edible bean or pod.
Locust beans, which are generally around 50 feet tall, have these pods that contain between five and 15 hard brown carob seeds that are surrounded by naturally sweet and edible pulp.
Once these carob pods are ripe, they can be dried and ground into carob powder. Carob powder is used to make food products like carob shavings, and it is also used medicinally for a variety of health problems.
Locust bean gum is another name for locust bean gum, and it comes from carob seeds.
Locust bean gum is often used in skincare and other cosmetic products as a stabilizer, binder, or enhanced texture.
Locust bean gum is also added to many food products, such as baked goods for the same reasons.
Unlike the main ingredient in chocolate, cocoa; carob beans have a natural sweetness. The carob flavor is somewhat similar to chocolate but different at the same time.
Between the carob beans and the chocolate, who wins? Well, it’s more of a comparison between carob and cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. Let’s compare to see who wins in the carob chocolate duel:
• The carob naturally has no caffeine, while the cocoa used to make chocolate contains natural caffeine.
• It does not have oxalic acid (a natural substance found in chocolate and other foods that inhibits calcium absorption) while chocolate contains this organic compound.
• Cocoa powder has more iron than carob, but carob powder contains some iron and key electrolytes such as calcium and potassium.
• Carob is higher in beneficial dietary fiber compared to cocoa.
• Carob does not contain theobromine, which is what makes cocoa and chocolate taste naturally bitter.
Carob shavings, carob powder, carob bars, carob syrup, and carob extract can typically be found at your local health store or online.
You can substitute an equal amount of carob powder for cocoa powder. You can also use half carob/powder chip and half cocoa/powder chips in a recipe.
The carob shavings add nutrients and natural sweetness to whatever they come in. So what are some of the best ways to use carob chips?
For starters, carob beans are amazing in muffins, pieces of bread, cakes, pancakes, and cookies. You can also add carob powder to smoothies.
Scientific trials have used specific amounts of carob for medicinal purposes.
Remember to drink plenty of water when taking carob powder. For the treatment of diarrhea, 15 grams of carob powder have been used per day for children, while 20 grams per day have been used for adults.
The powder can also be mixed with foods such as unsweetened sweet potato puree or applesauce to facilitate taking carob for medicinal reasons.
Of course, if a young child has diarrhea it is important that he receives adequate hydration and is under the care of a pediatrician.
If you’ve been a fan of chocolate your whole life, I get it, but if you’ve never tried carob beans, I really think they are worth a try.
With a naturally sweet and rich flavor, you can start substituting carob shavings for chocolate chips in your next recipe.
With zero caffeine but plenty of flavor and nutrients plus impressive health benefits, carob is a great healthy treat, in moderation, of course.