Carobs are flowering evergreen trees or shrubs that are part of the legume family. Native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the edible pods of this plant have a similar flavor to chocolate, and possess some health benefits. Why is it good for you? Carob can:
- Reduce obesity
- Prevent oxidative damage and related diseases
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduce severity and risk of type 2 diabetes
Among its many other functions. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at:
- What carob is and how it’s processed
- What carob is used for
- Health benefits of carob
What is Carob?
Carob trees produce an edible pod similar in appearance and taste to cocoa beans. Carob powder is processed from fruit, high in sugar and fiber, and contains some protein . To make the powder, the pods are cooked or boiled to soften, cut apart (to remove the seeds), and dried before being ground into a fine powder . You can now purchase carob products like syrup, coffee, candies, and chocolates that are sweetened or flavored with carob powder .
Health Benefits of Carob
it is high in fiber
This can change depending on how the carob is processed, but fiber is necessary for your diet. Insoluble fiber (the type found in carob pods) provides the nutrients our gut bacteria need to function [4, 5].
Bacteria in the gut are responsible for preventing disease and extracting nutrients from food. Eating its fiber can help you hit your daily fiber intake goal and keep your gut bacteria healthy, preventing disease.
Also, its pods and leaves possess gastrointestinal effects beyond their fiber content, showing anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, and anti-constipation effects in different lab tests . Carob fiber can lower your cholesterol, too [7, 8, 9].
it is high in amino acids and minerals
Amino acids are the building blocks that make new muscles, tissues, organs, and its pods are rich in amino acids. WHO’s standards for protein state that carobs are a “good source” of amino acids. Besides, its fruit can help get enough minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, and many others. This makes the carob a great addition to your daily diet .
it is high in antioxidants
Carob fruit and pods are high in polyphenols such as gallic acid and quercetin antioxidants [11, 12, 13]. Antioxidants can get rid of free oxygen radicals produced by our metabolism and cause disease, turning them into harmless compounds.
Try to find sources of carob that are less processed, as processing can reduce the antioxidant potential. Getting some of it in your diet can prevent oxidative diseases and keep your body running as it should .
If you are looking for a great antioxidant, check out “Health Benefits of Macadamia Nut Oil.”
It is being tested as a treatment for diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, characterized by the inability to allow sugar from your blood into the cells where it is needed, is on the rise due to our high-sugar, junk food diets. Carob is rich in fiber and polyphenols, both of which can improve severity and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. It is currently being tested as a treatment for this condition .
It could reduce obesity-associated inflammation
In obese mice suffering from chronic inflammation due to their weight, eating extract of carob leaves showed an improvement in their inflammatory condition. Researchers noted inhibition of inflammation markers and immune cells responsible for causing inflammation in the mice [16, 17]. These results have not yet been tested in humans, but this is a promising start!
It could improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome
Mice with metabolic syndrome fed with carob reduced cardiometabolic changes and improved symptoms like inflammation, oxidative damage, and hypertension . Could it be the answer to improving these symptoms in humans, too? Time (and more research) will tell.
The antioxidant effect of carob pods reduces non-alcoholic fatty liver disease severity
Reducing oxidative stress has several benefits in terms of dropping disease risk. One of the diseases that can arise from this condition is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
In studies with rats, those on a high-fat and high-sugar diet who later consumed carob had less severe disease than those who didn’t eat it . More testing remains to be done, but this snack formulation of carob pods could be a useful (and tasty) disease intervention for NAFLD.
In conclusion, why carob good for you?
It is extremely good for you. Whether it is organic or non-organic, it can be used for a variety of applications and foods and has various health benefits, too. Carob has gained popularity for its cholesterol and weight-lowering effects, disease prevention, and the gut and inflammation health improvements seen in animal studies. So help yourself to carob products today, and reap the benefits of this tropical fruit.