Carob comes from the pod of a tree that grows along the Mediterranean Sea. The pod contains a sweet, edible pulp. Once dried and roasted, the pulp is ground into a powder which can further be processed into carob chips. Carob is often used as a chocolate substitute for those avoiding dairy products or opting for a healthier alternative. Unlike chocolate, carob is naturally sweet, low in fat, high in fiber, has calcium, and contains no caffeine. Carob is also rich in protein and contains phytonutrients that protect against cancer and cardiovascular problems.

Disease/Ailment:

Diarrhea
Heartburn
Celiac disease
Elevated cholesterol
Cardiovascular disorders
Cancer prevention

Health benefits:

Lowering cholesterol: Fiber in carob lowers cholesterol that is present in the bloodstream. The insoluble fiber present in carob and many other plant sources contain polyphenols, which lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

Antioxidant: Carob is high in antioxidants. One study showed that carob germ flour showed not only antioxidant but also cytotoxic activities. The flour has the capabilities to attack and target specific cervical cancer cells and thus help the body repair free radical damage.

Gastrointestinal support: Caron has a binding action within the intestinal tract. This helps absorb liquid and aids problems such as diarrhea. In addition, carob contains chemicals called tannins, which decrease the effectiveness of certain enzymes that aid in digestion.

Good source of:

B-complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, iron

Purchasing storing, and enjoying:

Purchasing: Carob can be found in some grocery stores in the baking section and all health food stores.

Storing: Store carob is a dry cool place away from the sun. It can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to extend shelf life.

Enjoying:

  • Powder: Replace cocoa powder for carob powder in recipes.
  • Chips: Carob chips are used to replace chocolate chips in baked goods.

Resources & recipes:

  • Gluten-free, vegan carob cookies: http://www.feastie.com/recipe/healthful-pursuit/spiced-carob-cookies-grain-free-vegan
  • Carob chip cookies: http://vegspinz.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-best-vegan-carob-chip-cookies.html
  • Carob Peanut Butter Pudding: http://veganyumminess.com/carob-peanut-butter-pudding/
  • Hot Sppiced Carob: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/hot-spiced-carob

 

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-321-CAROB.aspx?activeIngredientId=321&activeIngredientName=CAROB

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/carob.html

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4748

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11130-009-0153-9

http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/fn/fn453/Project_Archive/Fall_2011/Carob_substituted_for_chocolate_in_chocolate_covered_pretzels.pdf

Birketvedt GS, Travis A, Langbakk B, Florholmen JR. Dietary supplementation with bean extract improves lipid profile in overweight and obese subjects. Nutrition 2002;18:729-33.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 — Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid= 786bafc6f6343634fbf79fcdca7061e1&rgn=div5&view= text&node=21:3.0.1.1.13&idno=21

“Plant Foods for Human Nutrition”; Phytochemical Profile, Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities of the Carob Tree ( Ceratonia siliqua L.) Germ Flour Extracts; L. Custodio, et al.; March 2011

“Plant Foods for Human Nutrition”; Insoluble Carob Fiber Rich in Polyphenols Lowers Total and LDL Cholesterol in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects; Baltasar Ruiz-Roso, et al.; January 2010


About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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