Mesquite powder, also known as mesquite flour, is derived from the dried seed pods of the mesquite tree. Due to its very high nutrient content, mesquite powder is commonly sold as a health food.
As a matter of fact, mesquite bark and the roots are used to make a tea that helps to alleviate diarrhea. In addition, boiled mesquite roots help to heal colic and wounds. Also, mesquite leaves can be made into eye drops to treat sore and itchy eyes.
Mesquite powder is also made up of sugars such as sucrose and fructose. It is also packed with fiber and contains significant amounts of protein as well. Its rich fiber content and the high protein content of mesquite powder helps to counteract some of the side effects of its high sugar content.
The Health Benefits of Mesquite Powder
Since it is loaded with minerals, polyphenols, and fiber, mesquite powder has certain potential health benefits, including its ability to relieve constipation, reduce the risk of diabetes, inhibit iron deficiency, and protect against degenerative diseases. It also contains anti-inflammatory abilities.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of mesquite powder.
Low on the Glycemic Index
Owing to its slightly sweet taste, in certain preparations, mesquite powder is effective as a sweetener. However, even with its sweetness, mesquite powder contains a low Glycemic Index (GI) rating. Studies have also shown that the low GI of mesquite powder may protect against diabetes.
In fact, foods like mesquite pods that contain a low GI score, are digested slowly, and so allow for a gradual, low increase in blood glucose levels. On the other hand, foods with a high GI score digest faster and result in a quick spike in blood glucose and insulin levels. And after a long period, meals that are rich in high GI can cause a resistance to insulin. This will, in turn, increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One of the major reasons for a low GI rating in mesquite powder is because it has extremely high fiber content. In fact, it contains 25 grams of fiber per 100 grams!
Rich in Antioxidants
According to some studies, mesquite powder contains high levels of polyphenols which possess powerful antioxidant properties. Generally, antioxidants and especially polyphenols contain a wide range of health benefits, including slowing down aging and protecting the body against the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.
Some of the benefits of antioxidants on our health include their ability to eliminate free radicals and unstable molecules created by environmental toxins such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, and pesticides.
Since mesquite powder does not create blood sugar spikes, it is excellent for treating diabetics. It possesses a unique form of fructose that does not need insulin. Some studies recommend that people who suffer from diabetes add mesquite powder to their meals.
Possesses Anti-inflammatory Properties
According to a study published in the journal Food Research International, mesquite powder made from the Prosopis alba and Prosopis nigra varieties can help prevent the pro-inflammatory mediator COX 2. The study concluded that, along with the antioxidant activity of mesquite powder, that it may be effective in the reduction of inflammation, and that it could serve as a preventative treatment against inflammatory health conditions too.
However, before you incorporate mesquite powder into your anti-inflammatory diet, you should know that there have been some reports of a controversy over the anti-inflammatory properties of beans and other legumes, with some experts believing that legumes, such as mesquite pods, may actually promote rather than prevent inflammation in some people, particularly those who suffer from an autoimmune disease.
Relieves Constipation Due to its High Fiber Content
As little as a tablespoon of mesquite powder contains 2 grams of fiber, which is about 8 percent of the fiber value per day. In fact, a major part of the fiber in mesquite powder is insoluble fiber which is believed to help alleviate constipation. However, it is important to note that chronic constipation can sometimes be a sign of a more serious health problem. Therefore, if you suffer from frequent constipation, or if it is followed with acute pain or bleeding, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
Prevents Iron Deficiency
Mesquite powder is loaded with a strong iron content. In fact, 100 grams of mesquite powder can provide 5.7 milligrams of iron, which is about 32 percent of the iron content needed by the body daily. Incorporating mesquite powder into a person’s diet may help lower their risk of developing iron deficiency, which one of the world’s most common nutrient deficiencies and a major cause of anemia, a condition that is characterized by low levels of red blood cells. Some of the symptoms linked with insufficient iron levels and anemia include fatigue, weakness, hair loss, brittle nails, and loss of appetite.
However, before you incorporate mesquite powder into your diet with the intent of boosting your iron levels, it is important to keep in mind that like other plant-based sources of iron, the iron in Mesquite is known as non-heme iron which is not as easily absorbed in the digestive tract as heme iron which is present in poultry and meat. However, vitamin C is believed to be helpful in improving the absorption of non-heme iron. Fortunately, now, you can consume some superfoods rich in vitamin C along with mesquite powder.
The Bottom Line
Evidently, mesquite powder contains an impressive range of health benefits. In fact, mesquite is a really sweet superfood that is popular for its anti-fungal properties, high fiber content, immune-enhancing abilities, low glycemic index, high protein content, and high mineral content. Mesquite powder can be enjoyed in stews, baked foods, and marinades.
When mixed with hot water, mesquite becomes the most delicious hot chocolate. It is also used in coffee, smoothies, baked foods, shakes, as well as raw desserts.