(NaturalNews) Ever wish for a sweet, nutty honey-like treat that may stabilize your blood sugar levels? The answer is Mesquite.
Described by many as a superfood, this leguminous desert plant of the Prosopis genus can be found from Northern Mexico to Kansas, Utah, Southern California, and Texas. It supports sustainable agriculture; it's low-maintenance (so low-maintenance some call it a weed); and it's very nutritious. The best-known part of the plant nowadays is its wood, commonly used to give a sweet fragrant touch to barbecues. Mesquite honey, a particularly tasty kind of honey, is also fairly popular.
But the "tree of life" can be used in several other ways, and Native Americans used it for tea, syrup, flour, medicine, and even fabrics. Historic records even indicate that almost every part of the mesquite tree has a use. Due to their soothing and antiseptic qualities, Mesquite pods have been used as eye drops, as well as to treat open wounds and skin problems such as sunburn and even as a poultice to treat sore throats. Similar uses are known of the plant's leaves and gum, while the bark and roots might have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
The most nutritionally astounding part is the flour, which has been used by Native Americans for centuries, if not millennia: the bean pods of the mesquite tree are dried and ground into a flour (pinole). This flour is rich in dietary fiber (25%) and protein (13%). It also contains significant quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine, and it's low-fat (only 3%).
Last but not least, Mesquite flour also contains elements which help stabilize glucose levels in the blood. Since its sugars consist of fructose, they don't require insulin in order to use, and thanks to soluble fibers such as galactomannin gum, it takes about 4-6 hours to digest, thus about 3 times longer than it does to digest wheat or corn. For these reasons, and due to its Quercetin content (a phytochemical with antidiabetic properties) Mesquite is becoming a key nutrient to help treat and prevent diabetes. Other phytochemicals present in the mesquite plant are serotonin (an antidepressant), Apigenin (antiallergenic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral), Isorhamnetin-3-Diglucoside (liver defense), L-Arabinose (a good source of sugar), and Tryptamine (fights off the amoeba parasite).
There are various ways to use the flour in both savory and sweet ways: nutty/cheesy sauces, sweet beverages, toppings, etc. It's used for baking when mixed with other flours and will provide an additional sweet taste so recipes can be lighter in sugar or sugar free.
Since carrots and cinnamon also have a stabilizing effect on sugar level in blood, sugar-free "flourless" carrot cake treats with mesquite is a smarter way to satisfy a sweet tooth (see recipe below). Mesquite is also a great addition to a sugar-free and dairy-free Mexican Hot Chocolate (cacao, mesquite, honey, cashew milk, cinnamon, clove, ginger and chili powder).
Mix honey, coconut oil and vinegar together with spices, ginger and mesquite. Add ground walnuts and carrots. Mix well to have a dense and sticky batter. Shape mixture into little patties and place in a dehydrator at 105 degrees for 6-8 hours or until they have the consistency you desire (they are good when still chewy). Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Alex Malinsky aka RawGuru is an award winning chef and one of the leading experts in the field of raw food. He started to learn about raw foods at the early at of 15. After 10 years on the raw food diet he continues to be on the cutting edge of nutritional research and product development. Visit Alex's website at: www.RawGuru.com for more information.