Mesquite, what do we know about it? It’s a tree; it grows in arid regions of the world and using it to smoke meat results in a deliciously flavored meal. But how did we discover this bad boy and does it have any other benefits? Well let me tell you.
Mesquite is actually a member of the legume family and it enriches the soil around it with nitrogen, which is unlike other plants, as most plants take nitrogen out of the soil. However, most people see it as an ugly, noxious weed that injures their cattle with its 2 inch long thorns and inhibits the growth of grazing areas as it sucks up more than its fair share of water. And yet on the plus side the beans these mesquite trees produce can be used as food for livestock.
But lets not judge it too strongly mesquite has also been a useful resource used as far back as 1841. When the men on the Texas Santé Fe Expedition ran out of food they turned to eating immense amounts of Mesquite pods by either roasting or boiling them. During the Civil War the beans were used to make what people thought was a “passible coffee”. With 40 species of mesquite found around the world and 7 varieties being found in Texas alone this tree is slowly gaining more popularity popping up in super markets all over the U.S. as a powder, a seasoning and of course as planks for smoking.
But lets not stop there in 2013 a study found that mesquite extract is a natural resource of antioxidants which can protect the cardio vascular system of the body. Mesquite leaves contain polyphenols, which are a major group of natural antioxidants. These polyphenols protect the body’s cells from being damaged by free radicals and help to prevent hardening of the arteries.
So maybe add some mesquite to your diet and give it a little antioxidant boost! Try Pacific Resources Mesquite Salt which contains up to 6.9mg/mL of polyphenols.
García-Andrade, M., González-Laredo, R., Rocha-Guzmán, N., Gallegos-Infante, J., Rosales-Castro, M., & Medina-Torres, L. (2013). Mesquite leaves (Prosopis laevigata), a natural resource with antioxidant capacity and cardioprotection & potential. Industrial Crops & Products, 44336-342. doi:10.1016/j.indcrop.2012.11.030