Article written by Katia Kyriacou, Clinical Dietitian
Although black with a woody texture and a sweet taste, carobs are a golden childhood memory for most Cypriots and a nutritious delicacy! Carob honey and carob flour have been used for ages to improve digestion, constipation, diarrhea heart burn and in recent years proven to aid in the reduction of serum cholesterol.
The above are mainly due to its high insoluble fiber content (1Tablespoon of carob flour contains 2gr of Fiber), pectin and lignin. Carob flour dosage of 15-20gr daily are useful for the treatment of diarrhea as well as lowering cholesterol effect. Always keep in mind, as with all fiber rich products, should be consumed with plenty of water.
A study published in 2006 “Journal of Nutrition” found the consumption of carob fiber may have beneficial effects on calorie intake and body weight. According to the study consumption of carob flour – a polyphenol rich insoluble dietary fiber may increase fatty acid oxidation. The US National Library of Medicine reports fatty acid oxidation has been linked to the improvement of obesity and general weight loss.
In addition to the high fiber content, both carob honey and carob flour are rich sources of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Although calcium bioavailability may be affected by the tannin content of carobs, the phosphorus content enhances calcium absorption.
Custodio et al (2011) evaluated the antioxidant and cytotoxic activity of carob tree flour and results were published in Plant Foods Human Nutrition. Researchers concluded that the extracts were rich in Phenolic compounds showing to have a considerable antioxidant activity. As mentioned in earlier articles on our site Antioxidants have a protective effect in health by 1. Reducing inflammation 2. Reducing cardiovascular risk factors due to the reduction in LDL- Cholesterol or bad cholesterol oxidation and 3. Anticancer activity.
The natural sweet taste can help you with your sweet tooth graving. With a glycemic index (GI) of approximately 41 carob flour is placed in the low GI foods category. Substitute sugar with carob flour and carob honey in recipes or simply indulge yourself by adding carob honey to yogurt or to tahini. Use carob honey to rediscover a healthy sweet pleasure!!!
Always read the ingredients list before purchasing carob flour or carob honey products because sometimes sugar or fats are added making the product less healthy.