Carob flour is a type of flour that is obtained from a legume. The carob is very nutritious and healthy. For this reason, it is used as a substitute for cocoa in the preparation of multiple recipes, such as biscuits, cookies, cakes or drinks. Do you know their interesting properties and carob flour benefits? We invite you to discover them in this article.
What is Carob?
The carob tree is the fruit of the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua. It is a tree native to the Mediterranean Basin and belongs to the family of the Fabáceas. Therefore, it is presented as a pod with seeds inside. The carob is a pod of about 10-20 centimeters in length. When it reaches maturity, at the end of summer, it acquires a brown color and its interesting sweet taste. To make carob flour, the seeds must be removed and then dehydrated. Then they are roasted and ground to obtain a very fine powder. This powder is ready to be used in the kitchen or to add to smoothies, yogurts or any food.
Nutritional Composition of Carob Flour
Locust bean flour is rich in carbohydrates and contains approximately 40-50% sugars, mainly sucrose, glucose, maltose, and fructose. Despite being rich in sugars, because of their fiber content, these sugars are absorbed more slowly. In addition, its content in sugars is still much lower with respect to cocoa.
In its composition, there is also a good percentage of proteins. In addition, it is low in fats and these are quality, such as linoleic acid and oleic acid. Vitamins of group B, iron, calcium and potassium are also present. The carob flour has an intense brown color, is naturally sweet and has a very peculiar flavor. The preparations made with carob flour combined with cinnamon, vanilla essence or citrus zest, are delicious and healthy.
Healthy Properties and Carob Flour Benefits
The fat content of carob flour is very low, while cocoa is rich in saturated fats, which are harmful to the health of the heart. In addition, many of the benefits associated with the consumption of carob flour are due to the presence of soluble fiber. This type of fiber helps regulate bowel function and significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels. It is free of gluten, so it is suitable for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
The Main Carob Flour Benefits
1. Weight Control
The carob flour is practically null in fat and, therefore, the preparations made with it contribute fewer calories than if they had cocoa as an ingredient. This favors the achievement and maintenance of a healthy weight. On the other hand, this legume is also very rich in soluble fiber, which remains a long time in the stomach, prolongs the feeling of satiety and reduces appetite.
2. Iron Source
Iron is an essential mineral to maintain immune function, have good physical and mental performance, and produce normal red blood cells. To better assimilate the iron present in the carob, it is necessary to combine it with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus.
3. Contribution of Calcium
The calcium present in carob flour is used better than other plant sources. This is because the carob does not contain oxalates, compounds that inhibit the intestinal absorption of this mineral.
4. Reduction of Blood Cholesterol Levels
The soluble fiber of this legume captures cholesterol and inhibits its absorption. As a result, cholesterol does not pass into the blood and is eliminated. In addition, it does not contain tyramine. This substance that does contain cocoa, is related to the appearance of headaches and aggravation of migraines.
5. Prebiotic Effect
Its fibers help to improve the fermentative intestinal flora. It has been used as an antidiarrheal, but it is also laxative and favors the correct peristalsis. In addition, it promotes the healing of infections and gastrointestinal problems. The alimentary fiber present in the carob tree forms gels in the intestine, which favors the evacuation. In turn, it also has an astringent effect due to its tannin content.
6. Source of Antioxidants
Carob flour contains polyphenols that help reduce oxidative damage and keep cells healthy. That is why, among other things, it helps to prevent the effects of premature aging. Did you know all these properties and carob flour benefits? Now that you know how good it is for your health, do not stop using it in the preparation of your favorite recipes.