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Carob – our daily fiber

Carob has rightly been called the “black gold of Crete” as, in addition to the other benefits it has for our health, it has a very high content of fiber, necessary on a daily basis for our body.

What is fiber? How many and why do we need them?

Fiber is indigestible fiber, ie it cannot be broken down and therefore assimilated by the body. They are essentially carbohydrates of plant origin that pass through the body without being absorbed. There are two basic types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is found in foods that contain complex carbohydrates and their composition does not change at all when exposed to water. When they are in the gut, they absorb water like a sponge and stimulate the gut to a soft evacuation. Such fibers are contained in carob flour, cereals, whole wheat bread, wheat bran and fruits, especially those eaten with their skins. Soluble fiber is found in some fruits, oat products, barley, dried beans, peas, etc. The recommended amount of fiber intake for a human body is 25-30g daily, depending of course on gender and age.

Insoluble fiber contributes significantly to the proper functioning of the intestine, acts against constipation and reduces the chance of hemorrhoids. Respectively, the importance of soluble fiber is distinguished in the regulation of blood glucose levels, due to their ability to slow down the process of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Also, some soluble fiber helps maintain normal cholesterol levels.

The fiber of the carob fruit

Carob is an extremely high source of fiber, mostly insoluble. It is impressive that 100g of carob contains 40g of fiber, which is what is contained in 20 slices of wholemeal bread! Such an amount exceeds the Recommended Daily Amount (160%).

 Benefits of locust fiber: cholesterol, cardiovascular, constipation, diabetes

  • – CHOLESTEROL AND CARDIOVASCULARS: Studies have been done on the effect of locust bean fiber on total and LDL, “bad” cholesterol. In particular, consuming carob fiber products every day has beneficial effects on the lipid profile by lowering both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, especially in women. These results suggest that the consumption of locust fiber can be effective in the prevention and treatment of hypercholesterolemia and better heart function.
  • – CONSTIPATION: The insoluble fiber of the carob fruit contributes to the effective treatment of constipation because they increase the volume of stool and absorb water, thus accelerating the process of defecation, relieving the annoying feeling of constipation.
  • – SUITABLE FOR DIABETICS: The fiber contained in carob normalizes the rise in sugar. In particular, carob flour, of which most of the fiber belongs to the insoluble fiber, has a low glycemic index, as its price is below 55 (specifically 40.6), while it also has a low glycemic load with a value of 31, so it is a safe choice for people with diabetes. This fact is attributed to the ingredients of the carob itself. On the one hand, carob sugars are natural sugars, which although they give a sweet taste, have a milder effect on sugar levels. On the other hand, the fiber contained in carob contributes to better sugar levels.

 

CORRECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

1) H.J.F. Zunft, “Carob pulp preparation rich in insoluble fibre lowers total and LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic patients.” European journal of nutrition 42.5 (2003): 235-242

2) Loeb H1, Y. Vandenplas, P. Würsch , P. Guesry. “Tannin-rich carob pod for the treatment of acute-onset diarrhea”. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 1989 May; 8(4):480-5

3)B Ruiz-Roso, JC Quintela, Ester de la Fuente, J Haya , L Pérez-Olleros “Insoluble carob fiber rich in polyphenols lowers total and LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic sujects’’. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Mar; 65(1):50-6. doi: 10.1007/s11130-009-0153-9

4) Food Composition Databases Show Foods List Ndb.nal.usda.gov. N.p., 2017

5) A. Mis, D Dziki, G Stanislaw,  J Laskowski, ‘’Use of farinograph measurements for predicting extensograph traits of bread dough enriched with carob fibre and oat wholemeal” Article in Journal of Food Engineering 108

6) LMD Santos, LF Campos, LT Tulio, MR Dorneles  ‘’Glycemic response to Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L) in healthy subjects and with the in vitro hydrolysis index’’ in Nutrition hospitalaria; organo oficial de la Sociated Espanla de Nutricion Paretal y Enteral 31

7 S Klenow, B Haber, M Glei, R W Owen  ‘’Carob fibre compounds modulate parameters of cell growth differently in human HT29 colon adenocarcinoma cells than in LT97 colon adenoma cells’’ in Food and Chemical Toxicology 46(4):1389-97

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