Add some sweetness to that morning or post workout shake, while boosting important minerals. This relatively unknown ingredient has lots of great benefits that you will enjoy and your body will appreciate.
I am talking about Mesquite powder. In Texas we are very familiar with mesquite as a type of tree that the wood is often used for barbequing. It adds a great taste to many meats and has been used in barbequing sauces for decades. Mesquite trees also produce seedpods that have been used by Native Americans for over 2000 years as a valuable source of nutrition. This powder was so valuable to the Native American that it was used as a form of money when bartering with neighboring tribes. Today most mesquite powder comes from Peru as they have very fertile high desert areas ideal for Mesquite trees.
The Mesquite seedpods are ground into a flour-like powder which has a pleasantly sweet maple syrup-like flavor. Mesquite is rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, and zinc. It is also, high in protein, lysine, and add to that the fact that it is high in dietary fiber, making it a welcome addition to most diets. Medical studies have even found that despite its sweetness, mesquite is highly effective in controlling and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Soluble fibers in mesquite powder slow the absorption of nutrients, resulting in a flattened blood sugar curve. This is good news for diabetics, weight watchers or those who want to eat healthier. Adding a tablespoon of mesquite powder to your drink may help to stave off hunger for about 4 to 6 hours. Blending mesquite with other foods may help to lower the glycemic load of high carb foods. Some people blend it with flour to vary the taste and reap the benefits.
Ask a body builder or power lifter if lysine is important to them, and you will get an quick “Yes!” for sure. Lysine is an essential amino acid, not made by the body, which is an important component in muscle building. But it goes even beyond that in that it aids healing, absorption of calcium, maintains growth, and contributes to a lean body mass. Most people get lysine from chicken, beef, some fish, legumes/beans, and dairy. Mesquite powder offers a quick, easy, and did I mention tasty way to add lysine to the diet. Vegetarians and vegans may welcome this addition to their list of needed nutrients.
Mesquite powder is gluten free and can be used as a direct replacement for flour in baking; or mesquite can be blended with grain or rice flour using about 30% mequite to 70% flour. The sweet, nutty taste can add a new twist to traditional meals and did I mention it is 17% protein, which helps to displace some of the carbs. Try adding some to a batch of pancakes and the kids will be after you every weekend to make their new favorite meal.
Finding mesquite powder is not a hard process now that we have the internet, Amazon has many different suppliers. Do be sure and get the organic variety as we really have no way of knowing what pesticides it is sprayed with. The powder is often sold in 8 to 16 ounce bags and you will often see savings for multi-packs, which store in the pantry very easily.
Personally I put mesquite in all my post-workout shakes. Adding a little cocoa powder to the mix makes a pleasant malted chocolate drink. This is one ingredient that my sports clients keep adding to their shakes. It can also be used in smoothies, desserts, salad dressings or as a topping for vegetable dishes. Shannon will be posting a great shake recipe that even the kids will love (see Chocolate Malted Shake).