Choose Healthy Carob Treats

Treat your loved ones to carob instead of chocolate, or try baking a healthy carob cake.  

Chocolate or carob sweets?

Carob is known as a substitute for chocolate, but this enticingly sweet food has its own flavor and benefits of its own. It has the same color as dark chocolate, although the taste is noticeably different, with slightly nutty and bitter overtones.

Carob is slightly sweeter than chocolate and is therefore an ideal alternative to chocolate, and much healthier.

Chocolate contains stimulants such as theobromine, which are highly toxic. There is also a small amount of caffeine in chocolate, enough to bother caffeine sensitive people. The phenylethylamine found in chocolate can cause headaches and migraines.

Carob, of course, does not contain any of these substances. In addition, processed cocoa products often contain large amounts of toxic lead, which is not found in carob.

Chocolate has a bitter taste that is often masked by excess sugar and corn syrup. Carob is naturally sweet and can be enjoyed without the addition of sweeteners. It also contains no dairy additives, making it suitable for a vegan diet.

The carob tree is a legume and grows in Mediterranean areas. It grows best in dry conditions, which are naturally unfavorable to fungi and pests, so virtually no chemical sprays are used in its cultivation. This large tree grows up to 15 m in 50 years. It does not produce any fruit during the first 15 years of its existence, but bears fruit well thereafter. A large tree can produce one ton of beans in one season.

Carob is a pod containing sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, heat treatment and grinding, the fruit turns into a powder similar to cocoa.

One tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder has 25 calories and 6 grams of carbs and is free of saturated fat and cholesterol. In comparison, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder has 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 3 grams of carbohydrates, and no saturated fat or cholesterol.

One of the reasons why carob is a great health food is that it contains a huge amount of essential nutrients such as copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium and selenium. It is especially rich in calcium and iron. It also contains vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and D. Carob also contains two to three times more calcium than chocolate, and it doesn’t have the oxalic acid found in chocolate that interferes with calcium absorption.

Carob powder is an excellent source of natural dietary fiber, containing two grams of fiber per tablespoon of powder. It contains pectin, which helps to eliminate toxins.

When replacing carob powder with cocoa powder, replace one part cocoa with 2-1/2 parts by weight of carob powder.  

Judith Kingsbury  





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