Baobab fruit (Adansonia sp) is native to Africa and Australia. Baobab is the common name of 9 species of the genus Adansonia. Adansonia digitata is the most known one for producing fruits. The fruits have been exported worldwide, mostly in the form of powdered fruit.
Baobab fruit has a velvety hard outer shell and about 20-25 cm long. It looks like a small coconut or a large mango. The fruit weighs about 1,5 kg. The pulp looks like marshmallows. But these “marshmallows” are not soft and tender; the flesh (marshmallow-looking) around the oil-rich seeds is dry and powdery.This powdery pulp is milled and then packaged and transported worldwide. The powder is used in smoothies, juices, energy bars, and other foods. The taste is sweet, tangy, and has pear-like flavors. Since the fruit has a high pectin content, it’s a natural thickening and binding agent in soups, sauces, puddings and porridge. Meanwhile, here are the health benefits of baobab fruit that will surprise you.
Baobab fruit is considered as “super fruit.” The native African people call the baobab tree as “Tree of Life.” Why is it called so? This is because baobab fruit has six times antioxidant found in blueberries and five times antioxidant found in acai berries, six times vitamin C found in oranges, six times potassium found in bananas, 50% heart healthy fiber per serving, more magnesium than coconut water, and twice as much calcium as milk.
If you are still curious of the exact nutritional compounds of baobab fruits, here I show you a table of nutritional facts:
|Component||Amount/ 100 g||% Daily Value|
|Total carbohydrates||85,2 g||28,4 %|
|Protein||2,1 g||4,2 %|
|Fat||0,1 g||0,15 %|
|Total dietary fiber||43,9 g||175,6 %|
|Total soluble fiber||28,8 g|
|Total sugar||33,1 g||88,26 %|
|Calcium||169 mg||16,9 %|
|Iron||0,9 mg||5 %|
|Potassium||2,7 g||77,14 %|
Daily Value is based on 2000 Calories diet. Your may need more or less calories according to your age, gender, health status, and your daily activities.
ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. We need at least 5000 ORAC daily. 6 grams of baobab fruit pulp contains 8400 ORAC, makes it an excellent source of antioxidant.
1. Increases Energy Level
The high calories and sugar contained in baobab fruit makes it ideal for consuming after workouts. This is why food companies add baobab fruit powder into energy bars and energy drinks. Magnesium in baobab fruit helps reducing muscle fatigue. Baobab fruit has been known since ancient time as a general-wellness-tonic. Native people in Africa consume the fruits regularly.
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2. Boosts the Immune System
Baobab fruit contains very high antioxidants and minerals that are needed to restore our body functions. Eating fruits high in antioxidants reduce C-Reactive proteins. Healing process will be faster. This is why the native African people use baobab fruit to treat fever and malaria since ancient time.
3. Anti Cancer
Inflammation is known to be the source of all health problems in our body, including cancers. High level of antioxidants are known to kill and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
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4. Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Baobab fruit contains fructose, a low glycemic index type of sugar. Baobab fruit is a rich source of polyphenals, known to reduce absorbtion of sugar to the blood. Soluble fiber in baobab fruit also help reducing absorbtion of sugar in our intestines. These 2 compounds keep our blood sugar level in normal state.
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5. Maintains Healthy Cardiovascular Function
LDL dan free radicals cause inflammation in blood vessels’ endothels. Chronic inflammations in blood vessels will cause atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Atherosclerosis will lead to high blood pressure, and if it happens in coronary artery we can get coronary heart disease. Thrombosis in brain will cause stroke.
Thankfully, baobab fruit contains high soluble fiber that helps reduce absorbtion of LDL. The high antioxidants help heal the inflammations in our blood vessels, reducing risk of atherosclerosis. High potassium in baobab fruit also helps reducing blood pressure.
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6. Maintains Healthy Digestive System
The insoluble fiber in baobab fruit passes through our bowels, adds volume to the stool, thus helping with constipation. The fiber also absorb excess water during diarrhea, makes the stool in right consistency. The soluble fiber in baobab fruit enhances prebiotic effects (promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut). Native Africans traditionally use baobab fruit to treat diarrhea, dysentery and constipation.
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7. Prevents Alzheimer and Dementia
I already explained that antioxidants delay aging process caused by free radicals. Aging process in brain causes Alzheimer and Dementia. It means, consuming baobab fruits regularly can prevent Alzheimer and dementia. Baobab fruit also contains macrominerals and fatty acids needed by our brain, keeping us alert and our neural cells healthy.
8. Promotes Healthy Bones and Teeth
Baobab fruit contain high calcium, 2 times calcium of milk. Baobab fruit also contain phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus are needed to form density of the bones and prevent osteoporosis.These minerals are lso needed to maintain density of dental enamel.
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9. Improves Sleep Patterns
Baobab fruit contains vitamin B that acts like tryptophan, an amino acid needed to relax the brain and gives better sleep. Calcium helps relaxing and calming muscles and nervous system, while iron is needed to prevent restless leg syndromes. and minerals (Calcium, Iron) that can help us calming our muscles and nervous system, gives us better sleep.Together, these substances can help us have good quality sleep, so we can feel fit and better in the next day.
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Antioxidants fight inflammation in our body caused by free radicals and promote growth of new cells. Inflammation is initially a process of fighting infectious agents (bacteria, virus, fungi, etc). Inflammation makes our body release C-Reactive proteins, and this protein will still exist in our body long after the initial inflammation, causing chronic inflammation.
Baobab Fruit for Beauty Treatment
11. Promotes Healthy Skin
Aging process can happen very early because of high free radicals in our body and environments. Antioxidants in baobab fruits fight the free radicals, thus delaying the aging process in our body.
High antioxidants also play great role in keeping youthful skin. Inflammations caused by free radicals makes our skin wrinkled, and antioxidants prevent this process.
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12. Delays Aging Process
Vitamin C in baobab fruits promotes production of collagen. Collagen is one of important compounds in connective tissues, including the skin. High production of collagen makes our skin look youthful and tight. Routine consumption of baobab fruit can heal minor inflammations that make our skin wrinkled. Vitamin C also prevents scurvy.
13. Controls Body Weight
The fibers in baobab fruits help us feeling full longer and reduce food cravings. The fiber also reduce the absorbtion of sugar. Excess sugar in our body will be stored in fat tissues. So, baobab fruit is good for controlling body weight. Many health problems are related to obesity, such as heart diseases, stroke, hypertension, diabetes mellitus,hormonal disorders and sleep disorder. Obesity also gives negative effect in our appearance, we will look less healthy, sluggish, along with dull skin.
14. Helps Impoverished Communities
The charity program in Africa helps local people earn more income by hiring them to harvest baobab fruits. The income is enough to pay for healthcare, education, and everyday necessities, thus improving their life.
A woman who worked as baobab harvester for the organisation admitted that the income helped her send all her children to school, buy them books and bicycles.
Baobab Tree Facts
Baobab tree has been around for thousands of year. On average, baobab tree reach heights of 5-30 m and have trunk diameters of 7-11 m. The Sunland baobab in South Africa has the widest trunk diameter. The diameter of the trunk at breast height is 34 m. The trunk has full pub. The Sunland baobab is also the oldest baobab alive, since it was carbon dated as 6000 years old, almost as old as Ancient Egypt. Indeed, baobab fruits has been used since ancient times. The native people of Africa call baobab trees as “Tree of Life” as they have long life, the fruits are very nutritious and used as traditional medicine, and of course the mytical powers of the big tree that attached to some cultures.
The baobab trees in Africa and Australia are almost identical, despite having separated more than 100 million years ago.
How to Consume Baobab Fruits
In Africa, people consume the pulp directly after splitting the shell. However, if we don’t live in Africa, it will be difficult to find fresh fruits. We only can find powdered baobab. The powder can be added to foods and drinks:
- Energy drink: 1 teaspoon (4-5 g) powder for 100 ml nut milk
- Fortified juice: 10-13 g powder for 1 liter of fruit juice (adding fiber, potassium, and magnesium to the juice)
- Fortified ice cream: 1-2 tablespoons of powder for 1 liter of milk
- Fortified oatmeal: sprinkle 1 teaspoon of baobab powder on a bowl of oatmeal
- Energy bars: 6 g of powder for each bar.
Baobab fruit is an excellent fruit and a great addition to our diet in order to feel good and healthy. If we can find baobab fruits or baobab powder, it doesn’t hurt to try to consume it since it give so many health benefits of baobab fruit to our body. Nevertheless, baobab fruit is still rare on the store yet you may find the processed powder or extract of baobab fruit.