There’s a new superfood in town, and this one has been around for quite some time. Found in Africa, the baobab tree (pronounced bey-oh-bab) may be one of Africa’s healthiest food sources.
While the baobab fruit is much less well known in countries like the US and UK, it is a popular superfood in Africa, where it is used to treat everything including fevers, malaria and gastrointestinal problems. As more and more research emerges about the tangy super fruit, however, more people are becoming aware of the powerful nutritional properties of the fruit.
The main reason baobab is getting such rave reviews is its vitamin C content. Just a 100 gram serving contains 500 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s almost six times the amount of vitamin C found in the same amount of oranges!
This super fruit is so high in vitamin C that only a few other foods, including the powerful camu camu, beat out the super fruit in terms of vitamin C content. But that’s not all. Baobab fruit also contains twice as much calcium as milk, as well as B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and the all important antioxidants.
How Baobab Powder Is Made
With its sweet yet tangy flavor, the baobab fruit has been consumed by locals for hundreds of years. It looks almost like a watermelon in shape, with a woody shell and velvety green coating on the outside.
When cut open, the fruit has flesh colored fibers and small white fruits inside that resemble marshmallows. The small white fruits are dry and powdery, which makes the manufacturing of the fruit easy.
The fruit is harvested by collecting the gourds from either the trees or the ground. Since the baobab fruit naturally dehydrates in the shell, the hard shells are simply cracked open and then the seeds and pulp are removed.
There is no heat or pasteurization needed to make baobab fruit powder, the pulp is simply ground into powder and packaged, then distributed to sellers for use in smoothies, nutrition bars and baked goods.
Since the powder undergoes little to no processing, it retains all of its natural health benefits, unlike other products that may lose a lot of their nutrients during the manufacturing process.
As an added bonus, the fruit, leaves, bark, root, seed and seed oil from the baobab tree can all be utilized.
Health Benefits of Baobab Powder
High in Antioxidants
We know that berries are typically the best sources of antioxidants, but baobab powder has been found to be one of the richest sources available naturally. It has two times the amount of antioxidants that goji berries have, plus more than blueberries and pomegranates combined.
Antioxidants help the body to ward off free radicals, unstable molecules brought on by stress and external factors that can cause damage to your body at the cellular level.
These free radicals can lead to all kinds of health hazards, such as heart disease and cancer. Having a diet high in antioxidants helps to ward off such diseases, lessening the damage done to the body.
Post Workout Rehydration
Baobab powder has a high electrolyte profile, with nutrients like potassium and magnesium, that make it a terrific rehydration agent. Baobab powder is also a natural multivitamin with all of the nutrients it contains, specifically vitamin B that contributes to endurance and energy.
The antioxidants in the fruit also help to boost the immune system, which is yet another reason why baobab powder can be found in energy drinks, nutrition bars, and dietary supplements.
Manages Blood Sugar Levels
There is more research needed, but recent studies have shown that baobab powder can help to manage blood sugar levels by counteracting the negative sugar level spikes that come when eating carbohydrate-rich foods like white bread.
Baobab fruit also contains high levels of pectin, up to 56%. Pectin is vital in aiding digestion as well as balancing blood sugar levels. Baobab contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, which aid in intestinal health.
Baobab powder’s high vitamin C content makes it a terrific healthy skin agent. Vitamin C helps the body to form collagen and elastin, two proteins that give your skin support and elasticity. This alone is enough to make baobab powder a beneficial anti-aging product, but then there’s its antioxidant content, which boosts that benefit even more.
While free radicals can cause serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer, they can also damage cells and lead to early signs of aging. With the combined power of a high vitamin C content and potent antioxidant level, baobab is extremely beneficial to skin health.
Try It Out
Baobab powder is growing in popularity and many manufacturers are now utilizing the super fruit powder in snack bars and drinks. While those foods can be an option, most of the time you will get more of a nutritional benefit from making something at home using the superfood.
The manufacturing process typically tends to eliminate some of the nutritional qualities of foods. Try it at home by using one to two teaspoons of baobab fruit powder and add it to smoothies, drinks, and yogurt, or sprinkled over cereal, and see for yourself what this African superfood is all about!