In today’s post, we’ll be going over some of the benefits of carob powder that you’ll enjoy when opting to use it in place of regular cocoa.
Carob powder is made from the ground pulp of carob pods — a fruit produced by carob trees. It has a chocolate-like flavor and is often used as a cocoa substitute for those seeking a caffeine-free alternative.
The primary benefit of carob powder comes from its natural sweetness, which makes it an excellent alternative to cocoa in recipes that traditionally call for chocolate. Because of how naturally sweet carob powder is, less sugar is required when used as a cocoa substitute.
This means that you can still enjoy the sweet, rich taste of chocolate without having to consume all of the caffeine and added sugar that typically comes with it.
There are countless claims and anecdotes about various ways in which carob can be used medicinally, but there is very little evidence to support these claims.
That being said, using carob as a substitute still comes with plenty of advantages. Here are 12 benefits of carob powder that you’ll enjoy when opting for it over cocoa:
1. Carob Contains No Caffeine
One of the biggest benefits of carob powder is that it contains no caffeine. Chocolate, on the other hand, does contain caffeine due to its natural presence in cocoa.
This means that if you want to enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate, but without the rise and crash associated with caffeine use, then carob powder may be worth considering.
2. It Is Naturally Sweet
Another pillar benefit of carob powder is its natural sweetness. This is in contrast to cocoa, which can often taste quite bitter.
Carob powder is made when the pods of the carob tree are ground, and these pods contain high levels of sucrose — a sugar that the body breaks down into glucose and fructose.
This natural sweetness means that you won’t need to add as much sugar to your recipes when using carob powder as a cocoa substitute. This can be great news for those watching their calorie intake or trying to avoid refined sugars, as less sugar also means less calories.
3. It Can Be Used In A Variety Of Recipes
Carob powder is one of the most versatile ingredients you could have in your pantry. It can be used in virtually any way that cocoa powder can, including:
- As a sweetener for beverages
- As an ingredient in smoothies and milkshakes
- An ingredient in cookies, muffins, and various baked goods
- As a topping for cereals and parfaits
Carob powder can be substituted for cocoa powder in most recipes at a ratio of 1:1.
4. It’s Loaded With Iron
Carob powder is an excellent source of iron. In fact, just one tablespoon of carob powder contains about 35% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA).
This is important because iron is essential for the transport of oxygen in the blood and plays a role in various enzymatic reactions in the body. Low levels of iron can lead to fatigue, so getting enough through your diet is key.
Those following vegan, vegetarian, or any other plant-based diet often find it difficult to reach their daily iron needs. Carob powder makes for a tasty and convenient plant-based source of iron.
5. Dietary Fiber
Another benefit of carob powder is that it’s a good source of dietary fiber. Just one tablespoon of Anthony’s Organic Carob Powder provides 3 grams of fiber -– or 11% the RDA.
Fiber has a number of benefits; including promoting regularity, aiding in weight loss, and lowering cholesterol levels.
Dietary fiber also feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which are important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
6. Contains Vitamin D
Carob powder is also a good source of vitamin D. Just one tablespoon contains 10% of the RDA for this essential vitamin.
Vitamin D is important for maintaining strong bones, as it aids in calcium absorption. It also plays a role in immune function and brain health.
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It’s also important for nerve and muscle function, as well as blood clotting.
Carob powder contains 4% of the RDA for calcium per tablespoon. This may not seem like much, but it’s actually quite more than what’s found in an equivalent serving size of cocoa powder. In fact, cocoa powder has zero calcium per serving.
What’s more, you also have to take into consideration the small serving size. That one tablespoon serving only represents 25 calories.
8. It’s Gluten-Free
Those with gluten allergies may be happy to hear that carob powder contains no gluten whatsoever.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye that can cause digestive problems for some people. If you are one of these people and enjoy baking, then you can rest assured that carob powder contains none of it.
9. Less Fat Than Cocoa
Carob powder contains less fat than cocoa powder. By comparison, cocoa powder has about 0.5g of fat per tablespoon, whereas carob powder has none.
This is due to the fact that cocoa powder is made from roasted cocoa beans, which contain more fat than carob pods.
While neither of these ingredients is particularly high in fat, it’s worth noting for those who are watching their intake.
10. May Be Helpful For Gastrointestinal Disorders
One of the lesser-known benefits of carob powder is that it may be useful in aiding with gastrointestinal disorders.
It has long been believed that carob can help relieve the symptoms of IBS and the like, but very little supporting evidence exists.
Promising results have been noted in several in vitro animal studies, but more research is needed.
11. Contains Antioxidants
Carob powder is also rich in antioxidants. These nutrients hunt down harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, leading to inflammation.
Carob powder in particular has been found to contain 24 different polyphenol compounds.
The presence of antioxidants has been linked with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
12. It’s Cheaper Than Cocoa!
Last but not least, carob powder will not hurt your pocketbook as it is cheaper than cocoa powder, even if only slightly.
This will depend entirely on the brand you choose, of course, but of the brands we surveyed, carob powder had a slightly lower price on average. This is likely due to the fact that cocoa powder is in higher demand than carob.
So there you have it -– 12 benefits of carob powder that make it a great alternative to cocoa. Give it a try in your next baking recipe or smoothie and see for yourself!