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Cozy winter nights with carob hot chocolate

A nice alternative to the sugar loaded hot chocolate, and oh so good on a cold night."

All cocoa, from which chocolate is made, contains tannin. Among its ill effects, tannin interferes with the release of digestive enzymes, which leads to indigestion. It also is a dehydrator, leading to constipation and dry skin.

Methylxanthines, of which caffeine and theobromine are two, are linked to increase cell growth in certain glandular tissues. They interfere with enzyme signals, which can result in uncontrolled cell growth: the development of cysts and benign tumors, especially in the breast.

Carob, in favorable contrast, is worry-free. It contains no tannin, no theobromine, no caffeine and no methylxanthines. Carob requires no fermentation to develop its flavor. Unlike chocolate, carob is naturally sweet and is three times richer in calcium than chocolate, but with one-third fewer calories and seventeen times less fat. Carob is also a rich source of pectin, the substance which makes jams and jellies “jell.” Recent research indicates that pectin may be helpful in lowering your cholesterol level. Both carob and chocolate contain a variety of B vitamins, but carob contains higher concentration of these essential nutrients, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. Neither is a good source of vitamin B12, which is found mainly in animal products. Both carob and chocolate are also sources of many essential minerals. Carob is particularly high in calcium, containing nearly 100 milligrams per ounce. Calcium is an important mineral for maintaining bone health, according to Medline Plus. Both are rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, but chocolate contains higher concentrations of each of these minerals.

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