Carob powder, also called carob flour, is a cocoa powder alternative.
It’s made from dried, roasted carob tree pods and looks a lot like cocoa powder. Carob powder is often used as a natural sweetener in baked goods. It’s sweet and has a unique taste.
Read on to learn about the health benefits and nutrition facts for carob powder.
1. Naturally low-fat
Carob powder contains virtually no fat. If you’re on a low-fat diet, carob powder is a good option. Just keep in mind that it’s higher in sugar and carbs than cocoa powder.
Just 2 tablespoons of carob powder have 6 grams of sugar, about 1.5 teaspoons. Since most baking recipes call for up to 1 cup of carob powder, the sugar grams can add up fast. Still, if you substitute carob powder for chocolate chips, you’ll save on fat and calories.
One cup of carob powder has 51 grams of sugar and less than 1 gram of fat. One cup of semisweet chocolate chips has 92 grams of sugar and 50 grams of fat.
|1 cup of carob powder||1 cup of chocolate chips|
|Sugar||51 g||92 g|
|Fat||<1 g||50 g|
2. Low in sodium
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average American gets 3,400 mg of sodium daily. This is much more than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 2,300 mg. The American Heart Association recommends even less, just 1,500 mg daily.
Too much sodium in your diet may increase your risk of:
- high blood pressure
- heart attack
- kidney problems
Carob powder contains no sodium. It’s a great option for people following a low-sodium diet.
3. Contains calcium, but no oxalates
Calcium is a mineral. It’s important for bone health. It also helps your heart, nerves, and muscles function well. Two tablespoons of carob powder have 42 mg of calcium, or 4 percent of the RDA.
Cocoa contains oxalates, compounds that reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium. A diet high in oxalates also increases your risk of developing kidney stones. Carob powder contains no oxalates.
4. High in fiber
Two tablespoons of carob powder have almost 5 grams of fiber, over 20 percent of the RDA. Fiber helps:
- you stay fuller longer to help you eat less
- prevent constipation
- maintain healthy bowels
- control your blood sugar
- lower your cholesterol
A 2010 study found that the antioxidant polyphenols in carob insoluble fiber lowered total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.
In 2 tablespoons of carob powder, there is:
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. In some people, gluten triggers their immune system to attack the small intestines. This condition is called celiac disease. If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, you must avoid gluten-containing foods. Carob powder is gluten-free.
6. Helps relieves diarrhea
Thanks to its tannin content, carob powder has been used as a natural remedy for diarrhea. Tannins are polyphenols found in some plants. Research suggests that administering tannin-rich carob powder with an oral rehydration fluid is safe and effective for treating acute-onset diarrhea in infants aged 3 to 21 months.
Caffeine is a great pick-me-up, but too much may cause unpleasant side effects, such as:
- fast heart rate
- upset stomach
- muscle tremor
Carob powder contains no caffeine. This is good news for caffeine-sensitive people looking for a chocolate substitute.
8. Good source of antioxidants
According to a 2003 study, carob fiber is a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants. The study identified 24 polyphenol compounds in carob fiber, mainly gallic acid and flavonoids. Both gallic acid and flavonoids have been shown to reduce oxidative stress.
Gallic acid has also been found to scavenge free radicals and kill cancer cells. Research has shown that flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, and neuroprotective abilities.
9. Free of tyramine
Tyramine is a byproduct of tyrosine, an amino acid. According to the National Headache Foundation, foods that contain tyramine may trigger migraine headaches. Since chocolate contains tyramine, it’s not recommended for people who get migraines. Carob doesn’t contain tyramine and is considered safe to eat if you get migraines.
Ways to use carob
Try these ways to add carob powder to your diet:
The bottom line
Carob powder is a healthy alternative to cocoa powder, although minimally processed cocoa powder has some health benefits of its own. Since carob powder is naturally sweet, there’s no need to add sugar or other sweeteners when using it in your favorite recipes. Carob powder is generally considered safe to eat. Pregnant women should not consume carob in large quantities.
If you have pets and worry about them eating chocolate, here’s a fun fact. Carob powder is Fido-friendly. It doesn’t contain high levels of theobromine, a compound that is toxic to dogs and cats in large quantities. Many dog treats are made with carob powder. There’s no need to panic if your dog or cat gets into your stash.