In Africa, the baobab fruit has been used medicinally for centuries to treat everything from fevers, malaria and gastrointestinal problems to vitamin C deficiency.
Some of the oldest and most majestic trees in the world fall into a very special genus named Adansonia, more commonly known as baobab trees. While there are nine different species of these trees scattered across Madagascar, Africa, Australia, and other parts of South Asia, they are all closely related and share very similar characteristics. The baobab fruit, however, often gets less attention than it should, as this fruit has been considered a superfruit by some cultures for generations. The popularity of baobab fruit and its constituent powder has grown in recent years, due to the high concentrations of nutrients and minerals that it contains.
Most of the potential health benefits of baobab fruit powder and its fresh counterpart have been largely attributed to the unusually high levels of vitamin C this exotic superfood contains. A 100-gram serving of baobab fruit pulp has been reported to contain up to 500 milligrams of vitamin C – that’s nearly 10 times the amount of vitamin C found in an equivalent serving of fresh oranges.
The baobab powder may be consumed as a supplement, but also as a thickener in certain culinary preparations, while the leaves, which are also quite nutrient-rich, are considered a leafy vegetable and are sometimes harvested for their essential oils. Baobab fruit is roughly 3 lbs and resembled a coconut, with a tart taste. This has made it popular as a natural food product for thousands of years, in addition to its many medicinal uses and known health benefits.
Baobab Fruit is made up of 50% Dietary Fiber. The total fiber split is 75% soluble fiber and 25% insoluble fiber.
The human body can not make its own vitamin C (unlike other animals), so we need to make sure we get a good supply from the foods we eat every day.
A single serving of Baobab powder (10g or 2-3 teaspoons) provides:
33% of your daily Vitamin C requirement (NRV)
Vitamin C is essential to the effective functioning of our bodies for a number of reasons. It contributes to normal:
Collagen formation supporting healthy skin, teeth, gums, cartilage, bones and blood vessels
Energy release, energy-yielding metabolism and reduction of tiredness and fatigue
Functioning of the nervous system and psychological function
Protection of cells from oxidative stress
It’s an excellent source of vitamin C which also helps protect cells from oxidative stress and contributes to the normal formation of collagen in skin. Vitamin C also helps with the regeneration of vitamin E which protects and repairs your skin.
Heart and Blood Pressure
Foods that supply your body with plenty of vitamin C may also help keep your heart and overall cardiovascular system healthy.
Varicose veins and venous insufficiency are further examples of cardiovascular problems that may sometimes be alleviated by adding vitamin C rich foods, such as baobab fruit powder, into the diet. Vitamin C is needed for the manufacturing of collagen and elastin, connective tissues that help keep veins strong and toned, plus it can help boost circulation within the body.
Potassium is another important mineral constituent of baobab fruit, which is known to be beneficial for heart health. As a vasodilator, potassium is able to ease the strain on the cardiovascular system by dilating the blood vessels and arteries, thus increasing blood flow and keeping the heart from working too hard. Lowering blood pressure can also help fight against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular complications.
Liver Cleanser and Detoxifier
If your liver is not healthy, it will not efficiently do one of its most important jobs – detoxifying toxic substances, including metabolic wastes, and excreting them from your body. A high exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, alcohol and many other substances can cause damage to the liver and limit its detoxifying capabilities, but luckily there are also many foods and supplements that can get your liver back on track.
In one study, researchers tested the hepatoprotective activity against liver injury in rats (the term hepatoprotective is used in medical circles to refer to substances that are capable of preventing damage to the liver). The water-based baobab extract used in this study was found to have significant protective effects against liver damage. It has been proposed that the potential hepatoprotective properties of the baobab fruit may be linked to the presence of triterpenoids, beta-sitosterol, beta-amyrin palmitate and ursolic acid in baobab pulp.
Baobab has antioxidant levels that are off the charts. 6 times greater than Blueberries and at least twice that of Acai berries. Antioxidant levels are measured in something called ORAC. The ORAC level of Baobab Fruit Pulp powder is 1,400 per gram. Blueberries are 65, Pomegranates are 105 and Goji Berries are 125.
To help us compare the antioxidant levels of different foods there is something called ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. Scientist can measure the ORAC value of foods and this gives us a point of reference when comparing different foods. The higher the ORAC value, the more antioxidants in the food and the better its ability to fight free radicals.
Based on 12 Gram Serving of Each Fruit
Using fresh baobab pulp in cooking or adding concentrated baobab fruit powder to your favorite dishes can also supply your body with a slew of beneficial minerals including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Minerals act both individually and synergistically to perform hundreds of tasks in the human body. The following Nutrition Facts table shows the approximate concentrations of the most important minerals found in 100 grams (3.5 oz) of fresh baobab pulp:
Calcium: 295 mg
Copper: 1.6 mg
Iron: 9.3 mg
Magnesium: 90 mg
Potassium: 1240 mg
Sodium: 27.9 mg
Zinc: 1.8 mg
Two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, are present in baobab, which is why this fruit has been trusted as a gastrointestinal aid for generations. These types of dietary fiber can do wonders for the system; in addition to optimizing the digestive process and reducing inflammation in the gut, dietary fiber also helps to regulate glucose and insulin levels in the blood, and even lowers negative cholesterol, thus boosting heart health! There are also certain prebiotic properties of baobab fruit that can improve the bacteria levels in your gut and optimize digestion.
Vitamin C is always one of the first compounds noted in a newly discovered fruit, and the immune system-boosting potential of this ancient fruit is definitely a result of the high ascorbic content. Baobab is good for increasing white blood cell count and stimulating the immune system to fight off foreign pathogens, in addition to vitamin C’s antioxidant behavior.