Ceratonia siliqua L.
Carobs are the fruits of the carob tree, an evergreen hardy tree that was first cultivated by ancient Greeks, and hence it spread all over the world, from Europe to India to Australia. Reports on their therapeutic use date back 4,000 years. Their nutritional value was just as well-known with references in the Bible, Theophrastus and Byzantine texts. The prodigal lost son of the parable desired carob pods, the ones that saved countless children during World War II.
A fruit of high nutritional value
Carob pods contain a large number of vitamins (A, B1, B2), proteins and trace elements. They have three times the calcium content of milk (350 mg per 100 g instead of 120 mg per 100 g of milk) and thus provide an ideal source of calcium, even for those who tend to build up calcium oxalate stones in kidneys since they do not have any oxaloacetates.
An ideal source of potassium for people with hypertension since they contain plenty of potassium but minimal sodium, and also phosphorus, iron, magnesium, silicon, and other trace elements, thus claiming their characterization as a food of high nutritional value.
A source of antioxidants
Carob pods polysaccharides are an excellent source of phenolic constituents and fiber. Clinical trials have shown encouraging results in the prevention and cure of diseases such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, irritable bowel syndrome and diseases of the colon.
Carob polyphenols are reported to help reduce weight and improve body composition. In addition, carobine, a protein which they contain in high concentration is rich in the amino acids arginine and glutamine which are necessary for physical exercise, the treatment of fatigue and therefore a particularly useful food for athletes.