When any new organic produce is thrown into the market and assigned the prefix ‘super’, most people tend to a be sceptical at first.
After all, most of the produce section in markets these days are filled with these so-called superfruits.
Some of these products are not as ‘super’ as they have been claimed to be however there is one that is special enough to be called that: Baobab.
Related: What is Baobab Powder?
Baobab is one such superfruit that has been growing in popularity over the years, especially in the western world.
While it is relatively new in European and America, various species of the baobab tree can be found scattered across Africa, Australia, Madagascar and even parts of South Asia.
Baobab trees are regarded as one of the most majestic and oldest trees in the world. They are extremely large angiosperm trees that can grow up to 30 metres long and 15 metres wide.
The trees are regarded as the longest living on earth and experts believe that they have been in existence for over 100,000 years.
Each individual tree can last up to and over 1000 years, with the oldest known as Grootboom which was dated and found to be at least 1275 years old.
Various parts of the tree can be put to different uses. For instance, the bark of the tree can be turned into clothing or rope.
In addition, the leaves can be ground into powder and used to boost the immune system plus the baobab fruit pulp possesses numerous health and beauty benefits.
Today, the baobab fruit, which is fostered from the baobab tree, has garnered less attention than it deserves, especially considering that is regarded as a super fruit by cultures from the areas mentioned above which the tree naturally grows.
For instance in Africa, the baobab tree fruit powder has been harvested for centuries and used for its impeccable medicinal properties.
In African communities, the baobab fruit is considered as a general cure for various ailments including fevers, gastrointestinal problems, malaria, and vitamin C deficiency among other health issues.
The popularity of the baobab powder has grown in the recent years across the globe and with good reason.
According to National Geographic, the baobab fruit contains about six times more vitamin C than oranges, twice as much calcium as milk, many types of Vitamin B complexes, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and lots of antioxidants.
Yes antioxidants, a fruit wouldn’t be a ‘super fruit’ without its fair share of antioxidants that boost your health in a multitude of ways.
The FDA has guaranteed that the baobab fruit is safe for consumption.
As a matter of fact, back in 2009, the FDA approved the use of organic baobab fruit powder in beverages and foods.
The dried fruit organic powder (which is the natural state of the baobab fruit pulp) was assigned GRAS status, which stands for 'Generally Regarded as Safe'.
For those of you who haven’t seen a baobab fruit or pod, it has an oval shaped looking gourd that looks like a smaller version of a watermelon.
On the outside, it is covered by a 'woody' shell and a velvet-feel green coating to protect it from harmful fauna or harsh weather conditions.
Once you cut into the fruit, you will discover freshly coloured interlocking sinewy fibres and sequestered in them small white fruit pulp that look like tiny marshmallows. However the fruit inside isn't soft and tender, it's dry and powdery.
While this may sound unappealing, it’s particularly convenient for the manufacture when it comes to extracting the powder and putting it to nutritious use.
The powdery pulp only needs to be separated from the seeds and milled at the factories, where it is packed and distributed to countries around the world.
Once there it is added to juices, smoothies, baked foods, nutritious bars and plenty of other food products.
In our case, we fill the pure and raw organic baobab powder into kraft-paper pouches ready to send out to happy customers. (You can get 10% off our baobab powder using the discount code 10OFF)
The baobab superfruit is rich in 'pectin' (about 25%) so it acts as an excellent binding agent and a great natural food thickener.
With its sweet, tangy flavour, it’s no wonder many cultures have consumed the fruit for millennia.
Aside from the fruit, which is used to make great sauces, porridge and refreshing drinks when mixed with water, the baobab leaves too can be ground to form a tasty relish. Furthermore, the seeds can be roasted, pounded and used as coffee beans.
Check out this delicious 'Baobab and Chocolate Nice Cream' healthy dessert below which was created with pure ingredients.
One of the more surprising uses of the baobab fruit, which is a testament to just how versatile and tasty it is, is its ability to enhance the taste of gin.
The 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition gave the award of ‘Gin Trophy’ to a spirit liquor drink made from the fruit.
The Whitley Neil London Dry Gin is distilled from nine fruits; however, the company is particularly impressed by the baobab fruit and even refers to it as its signature African botanical fruit.
The dry gin is made from the fruits mocha line seeds and tangy fruit pulp, which when combined together; create a distinctive bold and lively character of the drink.
The Whitney Neil London Dry Gin is so unique that the inventor Johnny Neil has often been praised as reinventing gin.
Most of the health benefits accredited to baobab powder are mainly due to the fruit’s high levels of antioxidants, minerals and vitamin C.
Every 100g serving has over 500mg of vitamin C, which is ten times more than can be found in an equivalent serving of freshly squeezed orange juice.
In fact, baobab is regarded as one of the best sources of vitamin C in the world.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, organic baobab has the highest antioxidant content of any other whole fruit.
Gram-per-gram, it has twice the antioxidants of goji berries and significantly more than pomegranates and blueberries combined.
Below we shall focus on some of the key health benefits of consuming organic baobab fruit powder be it in smoothies, juices, baked foods or even the occasional shot of gin.
Products and foods that are rich in vitamin C form the cornerstones of anti-wrinkle treatments.
Vitamin C helps to generate collagen and elastin, two of the most important structural proteins when it comes to your skin’s support structure and elasticity.
Aside from vitamin C, baobab fruit powder is also rich in antioxidants, which can further help boost your skin’s health.
As you may or may not already know, antioxidants are essential for repairing, protecting and preventing cellular damage including those cells that make up the skin.
Antioxidants also counteract the effects of free radicals as a result of oxidative stress and other chemicals in the body.
The antioxidants in baobab help in supporting the ageing process in the long term and substantially slows it down.
Free radicals are unstable molecules within the body that damage tissue’s collagen resulting in skin dryness, wrinkles, fine lines and premature ageing.
The superfruit powder is jam-packed with vitamin C and antioxidants which repair damaged collagen while supporting the growth and functioning of the skin.
Adding vitamin C-rich fruits such as baobab will improve your diet and will increase your body’s fat burning capabilities during a workout, particularly for those whose current diet doesn’t contain much of vitamin C.
A recent study carried out by scientists from Arizona State University revealed that people who had low concentrations of vitamin C in their blood burned about 25% less fat during a one-hour walk on a treadmill compared to those who had satisfactory amounts of vitamin C in their body.
The effects of vitamin C on your weight loss can be attributed to the fact that vitamin C aids in the production of carnitine, a chemical that encourages your body to increases its use of fat to provide energy to your body rather that store it under your skin which forms body fat.
Baobab fruit powder is also rich in pectin and soluble fibre, both of which play a significant role in weight loss. Put simply; fibre refers to carbs that the body cannot digest and wind up in the intestines, where most of the bacteria digest it and convert it into usable energy.
This creates a prebiotic effect, which is beneficial to body weight and overall health. Viscous soluble fibres such as pectin are thick and form a gel-like substance in the gut, which can sit there for hours.
This slows the time it takes to empty the stomach and increases the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is the feeling of fullness and a significant reduction in appetite and food intake, all of which supports weight loss.
Aside from helping overweight people with weight loss, baobab fruit powder can also contribute to managing blood sugar levels, which is especially crucial for those on a diet or suffering from diabetes.
A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Research revealed that adding baobab powder extract into baked bread at a 1.88% concentration significantly reduced the rapidly digestible starch from the bread samples that were tested.
Baobab fruit pulp powder, which has a 50% fibre content, (50g of fibre for every 100g of baobab fruit powder) helps to regulate sugar hormones, namely insulin. This is because any higher levels of natural sugar in the fruit or in the diet are released slowly into the bloodstream.
Baobab powder extract was also found to significantly reduce the glycemic response in the participants that participated in the study; this was regardless of whether people consumed it in a lower dose of about 18.5g or a higher dose of about 37g in 250 millilitres of water, plus a slice of white bread.
Foods that trigger a low glycemic control, also referred to as low glycemic index foods, also help to curb cravings and keep the fat-storing hormone, insulin, under excellent control.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. A University of California study found that those participants who took vitamin C supplements (which have 500mg of vitamin C) daily for about two months had a 24% percent reduction in their plasma C-reactive protein levels.
C-reactive protein or CRP is an excellent measure of your cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease: the higher the levels of CRP in the blood, the higher the risk for heart disease.
Baobab superfruit powder is also rich in many minerals including iron, which is a crucial component of haemoglobin, that aids in transporting oxygenated blood throughout the body.
This can help prevent anaemia, heart disease and provide the body with a significant energy boost.
Potassium is yet another mineral found in baobab organic fruit powder and is crucial to heart health. Potassium is a vasodilator and reduces the stress on the cardiac system by dilating the arteries and veins; this increases blood flow and prevents the heart from working extra hard to pump blood through constricted blood vessels.
Speaking of blood vessels, venous insufficiency and varicose veins are examples of cardiac related complications that can be avoided by a vitamin C rich diet. How?
Well, vitamin C is needed for generating elastin and collagen for connective tissue like that which form blood vessels walls.
This keeps the veins well-toned and strong while boosting blood circulation throughout the body. It is therefore not surprising that vitamin C deficiency has been associated with increased risk of varicose veins.
The positive impact of vitamin C on preventing varicose veins is maximised when consumed together with vitamin E, so the next time you are blending your baobab-rich smoothie, be sure to add a vitamin E-rich source such as ground walnut to reap all the heart healthy benefits.
If your liver is not functioning optimally, it will not perform one of its most crucial activities, which is detoxifying any toxic substances within your body including all metabolic waste products and then extracting them.
There are a vast number of substances that can cause liver damage and limit its function including excessive alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, chemicals and other metabolic substances produced by your own body.
However, foods rich in antioxidants such as baobab powder extract can help neutralise any free radicals released from the waste products mentioned above and can facilitate healing of your liver or even prevent the damage in the first place.
In one study, scientists wanted to test the hepatoprotective activity of baobab tree fruit against liver damage in rats (hepatoprotective means substances that can help protect the liver from harm).
A water-based baobab fruit powder that was used in the study was found to provide significant protective effects against any liver injury to the rats.
It has been proposed that the hepatoprotective properties of baobab tree extract can be accredited to the presence of beta-sitosterol, beta-amyrin palmitate, triterpenoids and ursolic acid in baobab fruit pulp powder.
As we have already covered, dried powder of baobab fruit is rich in minerals and two of these minerals, magnesium and calcium, are crucial in boosting bone growth and strength.
As we age, our bone mineral density reduces naturally, a side effect of chronic health disorder. Poor bone growth is not only an ailment of the elderly, it can also affect the younger generations including babies and adolescents, who are going through a growth spurt and not taking enough magnesium and calcium to support the increased demand.
Adding baobab powder into your health regimen can help keep your bones strong and agile well into your old age.
If you are not yet impressed with the nutritious health benefits that baobab fruit powder provides, consider cooking with food with added organic baobab powder.
Add it to your favourite dishes in the same way that you would add salt or sugar to every dish to give it some flavour; although in this case you are supplying your body with an array of beneficial minerals including copper, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and calcium.
We have discussed some of these minerals above and how they work individually to boost various aspects of your health, but these minerals also work synergistically to enable your body to perform hundreds, if not thousands, of tasks that are crucial to the proper functioning of your body.
The following nutritional facts provide approximate concentrations of some of the essential minerals that can be found in a 100g serving of organic baobab fruit powder:
• Potassium 1240 mg.
• Calcium 295 mg.
• Magnesium 90 mg.
• Sodium 27.9 mg.
• Iron 9.3 mg.
• Zinc 1.8 mg.
• Copper 1.6 mg.
Using organic baobab powder whenever you cook, you will harness all these minerals, and this will add to the overall well-being of your health.