Mesquite Flour Benefits for Type 2 Diabetes

Learn How to Incorporate it Into Your Meal Plan

By Sue in az (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mesquite meal or flour is made from the dried seed pods of the mesquite tree, a common tree in the American Southwest. In fact, the tree and its pods were an important food staple of the Native Americans, who would grind them to make sweet flour that could be used for soups, drinks, puddings, porridge, and dried cakes. The dried pods also were picked right off the tree and chewed on. They continue to be a favorite treat for local critters like squirrels and birds.

Some people say the seed pods taste similar to slightly sweet Cracker Jack snack food.

Type 2 diabetes was virtually unheard of in Southwestern tribes as many of their native foods had protective properties and helped keep blood sugar levels low and stable. As mesquite meal or flour began to be replaced with white flour (and other unhealthy foods were added to their diet), type 2 diabetes became a problem. In fact, tribes in this area now have the highest rates of diabetes in the world.

What Makes Mesquite Flour a Superfood? 

The word "superfood' is a term we use when a specific food contains nutrient-rich properties that can improve health. This doesn't mean that the food contains magical powers that can cure a disease, rather that the properties are healthy when added to a balanced diet. Mesquite is a high-protein, highly nutritious food, rich in iron, lysine, manganese, potassium, and zinc.

Studies have shown that diets rich in potassium, an essential mineral and electrolyte, can help to prevent stroke and high blood pressure, and increase bone mineral density. Mesquite flour is also low on the glycemic index, which can help to keep blood sugars controlled, and is gluten free. In addition, it is a good source of soluble fiber, tannins, inulin, and mucilaginous polysaccharide gums that can help maintain blood sugar control.

 

How Does Mesquite Flour Taste? 

Mesquite has a smoky flavor and can be a great for adding smoky sweetness to barbecue food. You can use also mesquite meal or flour in recipes that use flour, such as cookies, cakes, and bread. Because it is naturally sweet, using mesquite flour in recipes may allow you to lower the amount of sugar added to recipes. Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and sugar can help to keep blood sugars controlled.

When cooked, the flavor of mesquite becomes stronger and can be overbearing. To tone the flavor down, it is best to include a mix of mesquite meal and 100% whole wheat flour in recipes. Replace 1/4 to 1/2 of each cup of wheat flour with mesquite flour.

Other Ways to Use Mesquite Flour

Mesquite meal or flour can also be sprinkled on hot cooked cereal as a replacement for sugar. It can also be added to smoothies or meal replacement shakes to boost nutrition content - adding fiber and protein. There are traditional simple recipes using mesquite meal for porridge and drinks called pinole and atole that are usually not much more than just mesquite meal and water.

Interested in learning how to use mesquite flour? Try out this recipe for Arizona Waffles 

What is the Nutrition in Mesquite Flour? 

Two tablespoons of mesquite meal or flour contains: ~ 30 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, and 1 g protein.

Resources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Potassium. Accessed on-line. September 5, 2015: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/potassium/

Calorie Count. Mesquite Flour. Accessed on-line. September 5, 2015: http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-barry-farm-mesquite-flour-i129940

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