food: carob.

The carob is the fruit of a tree (Ceratonia siliqua) tied for more than a thousand years the landscape of the Mediterranean coast. It was already used in times of ancient Egypt as a sweetener. From the family of legumes, is a dark brown pod that contains a sweet pulp that surrounds the seeds. These carobs are roasted and crushed to obtain the carob flour.

The carob flour contains 40-50% of natural sugars (fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose), so that is a energetic food with short sugars, 11% protein, is rich in essential amino acid tryptophan, which is the precursor of serotonin, a substance that gives us a feeling of relaxation and tranquility, and less than 2% fat, very little, especially when compared with 23% pure cocoa.

In the same way that cocoa contains significant amounts of minerals: iron, calcium and magnesium. But the big difference is that the cocoa pod contains no oxalic acid, a substance that acts as a “thief” of minerals and prevents the intestinal absorption of iron and calcium. It contains some vitamins, especially the provitamin A (good for the eyes), and some group B (B1, B2, B3, good for the nervous system) and vitamin D (responsible for the fixation of calcium in bones) .

One of the most important therapeutic of the Carob is that is rich in fiber (13%), and also, of soluble type (pectin). Soluble fiber becomes an important substrate for the growth of intestinal flora (prebiotic effect). There are studies that link the effectiveness of carob flour against ulcers, diarrhea and infections of the intestinal mucosa and the mucosa of the respiratory system. The fiber contained in carob flour is credited with a triple effect: converts the liquid in colloidal gel and, therefore, increases the volume of the stool, relaxes the intestinal walls and stimulates peristaltic movement of the intestines.

Another important component of the carob is tannin, which belongs to the group of polyphenols and hasantioxidant and protective qualities. It acts to strengthen capillaries and may have anti-inflammatoryand antirheumatic. The big difference between carob flour and cocoa pod is that the first is not addictive.

Unlike cocoa, carob doesn’t contain theobromine. This substance we can create dependency, because it is an alkaloid similar to caffeine that accelerates the activity of the kidneys, muscles and heart and causes us a false sense of energy.

Consequently, carob flour is a very healthy alternative to help “us off” of chocolate or cocoa, and provides healthy energy without sobreestimulants or addictive effects that ultimately can lead us to the depletion of organs and psychological dependence.

[photo source: http://www.positivehealth.com | text source: http://www.etselquemenges.cat]

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