Uses and applications

The nutritional properties of the carob make it an exceptional food for both human and animal consumption, with a wide variety of useful and functional applications.

 The carob’s high alcohol, fibre and polyphenol content make it a prime material containing bioactive compounds, which is of major interest to the food industry

Carob for ANIMAL use

usos_02Kibbled carob can be used as an ingredient for producing animal fodder by mixing it with other prime materials, while granulated fodder can be obtained by applying heat and compression. It is also used for the extraction of substances with unique properties for animals.

Kibbled carob is typically high in carbohydrate content (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides) and is thus considered highly energetic. It also contains pinitol (representing 10% of sugars), which increases muscular mass (increases muscle performance), among other properties.

It contains large amount of polyphenols and natural extracts of some antioxidants. Of particular note among these polyphenols are tannins, which are considered to be powerful antioxidants. Anti-inflammatory properties, along with the capacity of tannins to stimulate the immune system, protect it from certain pathogenic microorganisms, thus benefitting intestinal flora and protecting the mucous in the intestinal membrane, reducing diarrhoeas, nutritional disorders and the incidence of ulcers in animals.

Carob for HUMAN USE

usos_03Kibbled carob is typically high in carbohydrate content (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides) and is thus considered highly energetic. It also contains pinitol (representing 10% of sugars), which has a hypoglycaemic effect and increases muscular mass (increases muscle performance), among other properties.

It contains large amount of polyphenols and natural extracts of some antioxidants. Of particular note among these polyphenols are tannins, which are considered to be powerful antioxidants. Anti-inflammatory properties, along with the capacity of tannins to stimulate the immune system, protect it from certain pathogenic microorganisms, thus benefitting intestinal flora. The antioxidants include proanthocyanidins (14-15%), which have demonstrated functional effects and properties.

Carobs are rich in potassium, magnesium, phosphorous (0.2-0.4%), iron (10-60 mg/kg), calcium (0.2-0.4%) and silicon.

It does not contain caffeine or theobromine.

Traditional applications

usos_01The main applications of the carob for human consumption include the fact that it is an excellent ALTERNATIVE to cacao (toasted carob powder), once it has been toasted and processed. It can be used in an endless number of foods, such as pastries. It’s considered an interesting option because it doesn’t contain theobromine, it’s cheaper than cacao and it has a peculiar taste and a lovely sweet smell. It is also used in drinks as an ingredient for making teas and coffees, making it the perfect choice as a substitute for either of these as it doesn’t contain caffeine.

Another traditional application of carob is the extraction of its sugars for use as a drink or food sweetener, and for making carob syrups, which are commonly consumed in Mediterranean countries by adding them to yogurts, desserts, salads, drinks, etc.

New applications

usos_04At present, new research is showing that due to the bioactive components of the carob, it can be considered a functional food, as it has a demonstrated healthy effect on human health.

These bioactive compounds particularly include certain sugars like pinitol, polyphenols (tannins) and dietary fibre.

The health effects of carob polyphenols particularly include their use in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases as they:

  • Reduce bad cholesterol levels by up to 20%,
  • Reduce the concentration of triglycerides,
  • Increase the concentration of good cholesterol

The health benefits of D-pinitol include the fact that it efficiently contributes to hyperglycaemia control, meaning it is of special interest for the diet of diabetics. It also increases muscular mass, so extracts of this compound are often used as a supplement to improve sports performance.

Meanwhile, the dietetic fibre of the carob helps to regulate intestinal functions.