Healthier diets usually mean eliminating sweets, but now there's a way consumers can essentially have their cake and eat it too—while also getting nutrient benefits. The ingredient is called carob kibble which comes from a tree native to the Mediterranean region and produces pods with seeds known as locust bean that are a rich source of dietary fiber and bioactive compounds. In a new review article from the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), authors reviewed the composition, health benefits, and food applications of carob kibble.
Bioactive compounds in carob kibble have been found to be beneficial in the control of many health problems such as diabetes, heart diseases, and colon cancer due to their antidiabetic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Carob kibble can be roasted and milled into a fine powder and used as cocoa powder replacer in a wide range of foods. Unlike cocoa powder, it is almost free from caffeine and theobromine (stimulants) and oxalic acid (a potential source of kidney stone formation). In addition, it shows promise as a natural ingredient for food preservation (shelf-life extension).
Carob kibble has a great potential to be used as an ingredient in developing new functional foods, a growing sector of the food industry driven by economic and social trends especially awareness of health benefits.
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Syed M. Nasar-Abbas et al. Carob Kibble: A Bioactive-Rich Food Ingredient, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (2015). DOI: 10.1111/1541-4337.12177