Healthy Carob

By: Ron Lagerquist

A healthy Alternative To Chocolate

“How would you like to have the delicious flavor of chocolate without the unhealthy properties of cocoa?”

Everybody loves the taste of chocolate. Chocolate pudding, chocolate milk, chocolate pies, chocolate almonds, chocolate bars, chocolate covered ants and the list goes on of the huge number of treats commonly eaten from the cocoa bean. The problem is that cocoa contains caffeine, making it addictive and unhealthy for children who are large consumers of chocolate.

Caffeine is a stimulant. In the bloodstream, it acts as a vascular constrictor which causes the arteries to contract. The excess acid required to break down caffeine increases calcium loss. Caffeine has also been linked to male infertility and birth defects. Research done by Dr. Bruce Aims, from the University of California, discovered a substance called theobromine that is present in cocoa. This substance encourages certain carcinogens to be present in the cell, which can damage DNA. Caffeine increases heart rate and adrenaline in the bloodstream, forcing the body into wakefulness. The problem is that our body adjusts to the stimulation, causing us to become dependent on caffeine to maintain mental alertness. Cocoa is a common substance that causes allergic reactions. It is also linked to the all-too-common problem of acne amongst teenagers.

How would you like to have the delicious flavor of chocolate without the unhealthy properties of cocoa? To have your chocolate cake and eat it too! Like cocoa, carob is bitter and not palatable alone. When mixed with Sucanat or honey or added to nut butters, it becomes a safe healthy alternative. Carob’s nick name is St. John’s bread because it is suspected of being one of the foods that sustained John the Baptist in the wilderness.

 Carob is grown in the Middle East producing a long pod which is ground into powder. It contains a high amount of carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, silicon, iron and is plentiful in trace minerals. It is also a good source of B vitamins, thiamin riboflavin and niacin. It is approximately 7% protein and has a very small amount of fat. Carob is an excellent source of pectin which makes it a good colon cleanser. Carob flour has been used widely in controlling diarrhea in children during sickness. One tablespoon in a cup of water, a few times a day, will be highly effective. Carob powder and carob products can be found in your local health food store. You can use it in any of our nut butters. Mixed with Sucanat it makes an excellent garnish on fruit salads or breakfast mixtures. Works well in avocado milk-less milkshakes, and nut milks.

Related Article: Healthy Sweeteners

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