Get super! Mesquite is a delicious and nutritious super food that can be added to a variety of drinks and foods to increase flavor and nutrition! Learn how to make it part of your diet!
While many “superfoods” such as spirulina or goji berries are becoming more well-known and popular, there are other lesser-known but equally as amazing superfoods out there that are available to us. One such superfood is mesquite. Though you may not have heard about this delicious and nutritious food, it is one that is a tasty way of nourishing your body and is easily added to the diet.
The mesquite tree is primarily native to South America and even the southwest part of the United States, but can also be found in Australia, Asia, and Africa. They tend to do just fine in drier areas, as they grow relatively slowly and require little water to live. The edible portion of the mesquite tree comes from the pod, which is typically ground into a powder, flour, or sweetener. The mesquite powder has a wonderful flavor that is generally described as a caramel-like flavor.
Because of its delicious taste and its ease of use, many people use mesquite powder to add to their coffee or other drinks, smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, sauces, or even used simply as a sweetener in place of sugar.
So, eating something that tastes like caramel can actually be good for us? The answer is yes! Mesquite not only has a wonderful, sweet flavor, it also provides some powerful nutrition. Though mesquite is sweet, is actually is a low glycemic food, which means it’s low in sugar and is a great sugar replacement for any of us, but especially for those with diabetes. Additionally, mesquite is high in fiber, is high in minerals (especially zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and copper), has anti-fungal properties, boosts the immune system, and has a good amount of protein (including the amino acid lysine, which is typically not found in plant sources).
Lysine is not only an amino acid that boosts mesquite’s protein content, but it also is a great immune-boosting agent, as it helps in the process of antibody production. Antibodies are the immune system’s first defense against foreign invaders and pathogens, so having an efficient, healthy antibody production and management system is vital to a strong immune system and optimal health.
The soluble fiber found in mesquite is needed by the body for good digestion and maintenance of a healthy gut flora. Sufficient soluble fiber intake helps keep you regular, while also boosting the immune system, cognitive functioning, and preventing certain cancers such as colon cancer. The fiber is also what helps make mesquite a low glycemic food, as it slows the absorption rate of the sugar that is contained in it. Furthermore, mesquite does not contain fructose, which further helps with blood sugar control. Fructose sugar can be stored by the body as fat for later energy needs, so not consuming high amounts of fructose is helpful for liver health and for helping with weight management.
Another great benefit of mesquite is that it naturally contains omega-3 fatty acids. Especially in America, most people tend to get far too many omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats, which puts you in a pro-inflammatory state. The omega-3 fats found in mesquite help to balance out the ratio of these fats, and leads to an anti-inflammatory situation, which can lead to many desirable health outcomes and symptom alleviation. The omega-3 fats aren’t the only powerful anti-inflammatory agent found in mesquite; also present is good amounts of the antioxidant quercetin. High amounts of naturally-occurring antioxidants is a powerful way of preventing or treating many diseases, as most (if not all) disease is found in an inflammatory state.
When purchasing mesquite powder, always try to choose brands that are certified organic, with clear sourcing and processing methods. Stay away from any product or brand with too much added sweetener or other unnecessary filler ingredients. Like mentioned above, mesquite powder or flour can easily be added to just about anything, both sweet and savory. Some of the most popular ways of incorporating mesquite are to blend it into smoothies or juices, in sauces, or in desserts and baked good items.