Mesquite powder is an increasingly popular pantry staple made from the pods of the mesquite plant (also known as algarrobo). Once ripe, these pods are harvested, dried and then finely ground to make a powder that is mildly sweet and carries a slightly nutty, caramel-like flavor.
The plant was traditionally used by Native Americans as a flour, but nowadays it is heralded as a superfood for its many health benefits and uses in the kitchen. It is sometimes sold as “mesquite flour”, but is simply the same thing.
Mesquite Powder Nutrition – What You Need To Know
Every spoonful of mesquite powder packs a ton of healthy nutrients. For starters, it is a great source of fiber, and has a low overall glycemic index.
It is also a great source of zinc, iron and potassium, and even has more calcium per gram than milk. What’s more, it’s an excellent non-meat protein source, containing amino acids which are hard to find in other plant protein sources, such as lysine.
Besides this, it also contains various polyphenols such as quercetin, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids. And it brings all these nutrients in a versatile, easy-to-use ingredient that is tasty and healthy at the same time.
The Health Benefits Of Mesquite Powder
The various mesquite powder health benefits cannot be understated. Its high fiber content makes it great for promoting good digestion and a healthy gut flora.
Also, its high amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols can help to prevent cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, as well as slow down the effects of aging in general.
Its sweet flavor and low glycemic index means it can help lower blood sugar, making it a great natural option for replacing sugar in your diet.
The Omega-3 fatty acids contained will also help in promoting cardiovascular health. And combined with its rich polyphenol content, mesquite powder can reduce inflammation throughout your body.
Studies also show that mesquite powder has anti-fungal properties, and can also boost your immune system. What’s more, it’s high protein and mineral content can support bone health and muscle recovery.
What Are Some Mesquite Powder Side Effects?
With all its health benefits, there are a few things to watch out for when using mesquite powder.
Firstly, a sudden high intake of mesquite can cause minor side-effects in some individuals, such as mild headaches and chills.
However, these effects are all symptoms of detoxification (i.e. the removal of toxins from the body), and will only last for a short time. No long-term side effects have ever been recorded.
Mesquite powder does contain sugar. The good news is that about 93% of this is sucrose, which requires more time and energy before it is absorbed into the body.
But despite its high fiber content and overall low glycemic index, those who are suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure should still monitor and limit their daily intake because of its sugar content.
How To Use Mesquite Powder
Mesquite powder is a very versatile ingredient that can be used as part of recipes, to enhance dishes and drinks, or to replace other ingredients in your diet.
For example, you can use it to replace sugar in your morning cereal, or to substitute wheat flour in your favorite recipes.
Or you can simply add it to smoothies, desserts, and even coffee for a mild but rich caramel taste. Its unique flavor pairs very well with chocolate.
It can also be mixed with homemade treats like cupcakes and brownies, or used as a topping on ice cream.
There are also recipes designed around mesquite. For example, it can form part of a seasoning mix, or made into unique breads and wraps.
What To Use For A Mesquite Powder Substitute?
In many cases, mesquite powder itself is used as an alternative for less-healthy ingredients such as sugar or flour.
However, if your recipes specifically call for it, there are a few substitutes you may consider.
Monk fruit and stevia are two options if you are in need of a low calorie sweetener. Neither of these choices will contain the various nutritional benefits that mesquite powder has. But on the other hand, they both contain close to zero calories.
If your recipe calls for a flour alternative, you may consider other options such as almond flour or coconut flour. They will bring different nutritional benefits to the table, but remain healthier than regular white flour.
Where Can You Find It?
Though mesquite powder has been rising in popularity, it may still be hard to find in certain locations. Your best bet would be to look for it in a health foods specialty store.
Alternatively, you could easily order it online and get exactly what you’re looking for!