Focus on Health with Dr. Janie Unruh, PhD

Carob: A suitable chocolate substitute?

With many people allergic to chocolate, or unable to have it due to unwanted effects, it is nice to know that there is a great tasting alternative out there.

Carob comes from 50-foot evergreen trees that produce green, glossy leaves and small red flower clusters. The mature trees produce long brown hanging pods that contain five to 15 carob seeds that are covered in sweet pulp.

It is the pulp that is dried and ground into carob powder. Carob syrup is made by adding water to the powder then boiling until it reaches a honey consistency. The seeds dried are used to make carob gum, which is an additive in cheeses, ice creams and a number of other common foods to help hold the consistency and improve texture.

Carob is often used as a confectioner like on carob-covered nuts, seeds or raisins, and made into carob bars, candies, pies, puddings, brownies, breads, other baked goods and beverages.

The powder can be made into carob chips and used like chocolate chips then added to cookies and trail mixes, and melted down to be used in place of melted chocolate. Replace your chocolate recipes one for one with carob.

Carob powder contains a very impressive nutrient panel comprising of only 57 calories in one fourth cup, and an impressive amount of completely bioavailable calcium, iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium. That quarter cup brags of 23 grams of complex carbohydrates with 10 of those grams being fiber and 13 grams of natural sugar.

Carob is naturally sweet and does not need a large amount of sugar to mask its bitterness like chocolate, though it is not as rich as chocolate or cocoa.

One quarter cup also includes a negligible 8 mg of natural sodium, 813 mg natural potassium, 1.2 grams of superb, easy-on-the-kidneys, plant-based protein and only traces amount of total fat with 0.025 grams of saturated fat.

Only about two per cent of its calories come from fat compared to chocolate, which is a minimum of 50 per cent.

Carob is not fermented, contains no caffeine, is gluten free and is free of known allergic reactions for those who might be sensitive.

It is not a contributing factor to insomnia, breast cancer, muscle tremors, headaches, itching, rapid heart rate, depression, anxiety, or harmful effects on the digestive system, all of which chocolate can cause in some people.

Studies from 2010 and 2003 revealed 24 rich sources of polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant compounds, which are free radical scavengers and killers of cancer cells. Flavonoid research has shown these to be anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, prevents constipation, and lowers cholesterol due to its high fiber content.

Carob is also pet friendly since it does not contain theobromine, the compound toxic to cats and dogs in chocolate.

Pregnant women are often advised against consuming large amounts of carob.

A fun and interesting bible fact is that John the Baptist was known to eat honey and locusts, with locusts being carob, a great combination to enjoy together.

Give carob a try and your body will love you.

Just Posted

If you have N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee do not drink it

Interior Health advises N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill Coffee has been recalled

Ground breaks on new hotel project

The Best Western will add 72 new rooms for visitors

An armload of cute!

Spring is here and so are the animals

Spring has arrived!

The first day of Spring arrived today, Wednesday, Mar. 20, at 2:58 p.m.

Library fun for all ages

The Thompson Nicola Regional District Library in Barriere is offering a number… Continue reading

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read