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    Archive for the ‘mesquite powder’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Fructooligosaccharides

    lucuma-powderI’m in need of your expertise after a trip to a health food store around my house.

    Some of the products I was looking at [stated] they were [a source of fructooligosaccharides].

    What is that, and why is that worth mentioning on the packaging?  I’m a little skeptical, but wanted to check with you first.

    — Robin Vulpfer
    (Location withheld)

    Fructooligosaccharides (hereby referred to as FOS, for my keyboard’s sake) are a type of indigestible carbohydrate.

    More specifically, they are short-chain molecules of fructose that are intrinsically found in certain fruits and vegetables.

    Their indigestible status means two things:

    1. Like all other indigestible components/ingredients, they do not contribute calories
    2. Unlike some other indigestible components/ingredients, they are prebiotic

    Prebiotic is a term that basically means “food for probiotic bacteria”.

    The better fed the healthy bacteria in our colon, the better off we are, for it is those bacteria that are implicated in immune health and improved digestive function.

    A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides a good amount of FOS.

    That said, I have seen FOS mentioned in containers of powdered mesquite, yacon (a root vegetable native to the Andes), and lucuma (a Peruvian fruit) at my local health food store.

    Its fine with me.  Those are whole plant foods (as opposed to, say, a 400-calorie cookie sweetened with FOS), and I think it’s worth mentioning the presence of FOS since not all fruits and vegetables offer it.

    I personally love mesquite, yacon, and lucuma, and always like to add a few teaspoons of each to any smoothie I make.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Mesquite Powder

    mesquite-powderMy local health food store now carries mesquite powder.

    Is that the same as mesquite barbeque stuff, like the flavoring in potato chips?

    What about it makes it healthy enough to be at a health food store?

    — John Amers
    New York, NY

    Many people are unaware that mesquite trees contain an array of edible components.

    The mesquite you refer to (the one used for barbecuing as well as for barbeque-flavored snacks) comes from mesquite tree wood that is processed into chips and then smoked.

    The mesquite powder sold in health food stores, however, is the end result of grinding up mesquite tree pods and seeds.

    I find that mesquite powder has a delicious caramel-like flavor.  As with maca, I love to add a heaping tablespoon (or two!) to any shake I make with cacao (the flavors complement each other wonderfully).

    I know some people also like to add it to pancake batter (it has some thickening properties and can replace a small quantity of flour) and yogurt.

    Mesquite powder is a very good source of soluble fiber, manganese, potassium, and zinc.

    While it is certainly not inexpensive, a small bag lasts me two to three months.

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