Carob is native to the eastern Mediterranean, where it has been grown for 4,000 years. It has also been known since ancient times as St. John’s bread or locust bean as the plant’s pods were mistakenly thought to be the “locusts” John the Baptist ate in the wilderness.
While cacao is often praised as a superfood, a small percentage of women (and sometimes men too) have negative side effects including headaches, breakouts and irritability. Cacao is a stimulant, so even though the amount of caffeine is minimal, those who are sensitive can have difficulty sleeping or feel “wound up” from using cacao. In these cases, or if you’re feeling like a new flavor, carob can be a wonderful alternative!
And even though carob can never replace the true taste of chocolate, there are reasons to enjoy this superfood on for its own wonderful health giving effects. It tastes similar to chocolate with caramel notes, and it’s often found in powdered form but comes from a bean. Carob is also a smart choice for children because it’s not a stimulate, and can also be enjoyed by nursing mothers since cacao can aggravate babies tummies who are still nursing.
Research shows that carob can improve digestion, help to soothe sore throats and coughs, and lower cholesterol. It is also naturally sweet, low in calories, virtually fat-free and rich in protein, as well as vitamins A, B and D and minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, barium, nickel and copper. Carob is also generally found in products that are also dairy, gluten and wheat-free, making it an ideal alternative to chocolate if you avoiding eating any of these other types of ingredients.