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The name may seem exotic to those who don't live where a certain plant grows but them carob they can also grow in Italy, indeed, they are the fruit of an evergreen tree that grows spontaneously in our Sicily. The good news is that they can use Carob beans instead of cocoa. The tree can reach ten meters in height and live for 5 centuries and produces these curious fruits with a shape that resembles the pod of peas or beans but brown in color and larger in size. We find this plant, and therefore also its fruits, as well as in Sicily also in Sardinia and Tuscany and in other areas bordering the Mediterranean.
We also find carob in religion and history. They are associated with the figure of St. John Baptist who ate them when he was in the wilderness. In Arab culture we find the word carob instead associated with the idea of carat because they were thought to have the property of always having the same weight, and therefore of being able to serve as a currency of exchange. I have my doubts, unfortunately, but we can get to know the true properties of the carobs, confirmed and very useful to all of us.
Carob instead of chocolate
Rich in fiber but at the same time with slimming, astringent and anti-haemorrhagic properties, carob beans have been elected among the best chocolate substitutes. This is useful information for those who are on a diet and decide to give up chocolate, but also for those who must exclude it from their diet for various indisputable reasons. For example for allergies or intolerances to cocoa.
Another advantage that carob beans have over cocoa is that they do not contain caffeine etheobromine. It is also an ingredient used in some products that want to be sold even to those who have problems with chocolate.
Carob: nutritional values
In a hectogram of carob we find little more than 220 Kcal. Let's see what is in these fruits:
- 10% water,
- 8.1% protein,
- 34% sugars,
- 31% fat,
- fibers and ashes.
There is no lack of vitamins, especially those of group B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12) but also vitamin C, vitamin E, K and J and then dietary folate. Regarding the Mineral salts, instead, we have a predominance of some ess such as potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron.
The presence of many dietary fiber makes carob a food to recommend to those who want to lose weight because it is satiating and not caloric. It interacts with digestive enzymes and makes us feel full so that we cannot eat more than we should.
We complete the overview of the properties of this food that we have seen can be successfully used instead of chocolate. It is slimming, astringent and antihemorrhagic but not only. It is slimming and antacid, and gastric antisecretive. In addition to being able to be taken by those who have an allergy or intolerance to cocoa, carobs can also be eaten by those suffering from celiac disease because they are a food gluten free.
In case of diarrhea, we can find the flour obtained from these fruits useful because it is able to absorb water. However, let's not get confused with the fruits taken in their natural state which instead have the opposite action, laxative.
Among the various occasions in which we can do use of carobs, here are some not exactly pleasant, such as catarrhal enteritis, early childhood enteritis, gastritis, gastrointestinal infections, stomach acid, irritable bowel syndrome
We have mentioned the flour obtained from these fruits and its extraordinary properties. Let's deepen. To obtain this powder it is necessary to do dry the fruits and then grind them. In this way you have a remedy for example against high cholesterol and to regulate the level of sugar in the blood.
It is precisely carob flour that can be used instead of cocoa powder, even if only by those who are afraid of having digestive problems or irritable bowel syndrome. Even those who love chocolate are not on a diet, but suffer from insomnia, it is better to focus everything on the carob beans and put the cocoa aside for at least a while. The difference lies in the presence of caffeine, or in the absence. This substance that we find in cocoa but not in carob beans works almost as a stimulant and can create sleep problems, make us irritable and nervous.
The carob fruit can also be eaten fresh, it is composed of pulp and seeds and the pulp is eaten but it is not very convenient. The most frequent mode of consumption is that from dried or in the form of flour, a flour rich in soluble sugars and carbohydrates, but also in insoluble fiber.
For those who want to taste carob flour and maybe start cooking some desserts with this ingredient, there are some good offers on Amazon.
- Carob seed flour in powder - Jar 250 g
- Indigo Herbs Organic Carob Powder 500g
- Dried carob beans - 1Kg