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The Baobab (Adansonia digitata) fruit, which largely grows in Africa is believed to poses remarkable health benefits. Owing to its medicinal and nutritional benefits, baobab has been used for the past centuries in Africa for different functions. The baobab tree is multipurpose with tender tubers, roots, seeds, twigs, leaves, fruits which are all edible. In the UK and US, the fruit was unknown until recently when evidence started emerging regarding its health benefits. The fruits had not been recognized for many years until a decade ago when the European Union and FDA Approved Baobab powder to be used as food and beverage.

This exotic fruit owes its health benefits to its exceptionally high vitamin C content. If you really think that Oranges are the best sources of Vitamin C, think again. A serving of oranges supplements your body with just a tenth of the Vitamin C provided by Baobab fruit. Various parts of the Baobab have been traditionally used for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, insect repellant, immune-stimulant and pesticidal properties. In most African communities, Baobab has been substituted for the imported western drugs, which most locals can’t afford.

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Production of Baobab powder

The baobab fruits powder naturally forms inside the hard-shelled fruit of the tree.  Baobab powder is produced from the Baobab fruits which are about 6 to 8 inches long.  The fruit pulp bakes in sun for six months after which turns its color from green, velvet-like coating to a brown hard coconut like a shell.  The fruits are handpicked or collected and taken for grinding.

Once the outer hard shell is ground, a white-ish pulp fruit jump packed with highly valuable nutrients is produced.  The pulp can then be ground to form a white powdery substance that is 100 % moisture free hence the birth of Baobab powder.

Why is it a superfood? 

A superfood is considered to be a food that is high in at least three key nutrients. The nutritional content of baobab claims six key nutrients as based on EU-approved Nutrient Reference Values;

It’s high in:

Vitamin C (>24mg/100)

Magnesium (>112.4mg/100g)

Calcium (>240mg/100g)

Potassium (>600mg/100g)

Iron (>4.4mg/100g)

Fiber (>6g/100g)

    Comparison With Some Foods
                               Compared with       Per 100 g      serving size             per serving

Vitamin C              Orange                   50mg      Medium orange 70 g        35 mg

Dietary Fiber         Broccoli                  2.6g        1 cup chopped (91g)            2.4 g

Iron                       Spinach                  2.7 mg       Cup (30 g)                         0.8 mg

Magnesium           Bananas                 27 mg        1 medium banana (110g)    32 mg

Calcium                 Eggs                      50 mg          Medium egg (35 g)       17 mg

Potassium              apricots             1162 mg          2 dried apricots (15 g)     174 mg

Based on the above comparisons, 10g servings of baobab powder is the equivalent to eating:

  • As much calcium as 2 eggs
  • As much Vitamin C as half an orange
  • As much fiber as nearly 2 cups of broccoli
  • As much iron as nearly a cup of spinach
  • As much magnesium as half a banana
  • As much potassium as 2 dried apricots

Studies have shown that this superfood contains approximately 33% of our daily Vitamin C needs. Furthermore, the powder contains a plenty of phosphorus, potassium, carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, Vitamin B, Magnesium, and antioxidants.

Baobab powder also contains high dietary fiber content than any other fruit. Due to this, most researchers have concluded that the baobab fruit pulp is made up of 50 % fiber and that its fiber is higher that of orange or apricots. Its antioxidant levels are exceptionally high, doubling its nearest competitor, Acai Berry.

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Pronunciation 

You may be wondering how Baobab is pronounced….. Worry no more because we are going to teach you how it is pronounced both in the northern and southern Africa accent.

In South Africa, it is pronounced as “bay-o-bab” (they use three syllables.).  In Nigeria or West Africa, it is pronounced by using two syllables “bau-bab”.

In Chinese you will say it like you were to say bow to a queen or king, you know “bow down to the queen” and say it twice in a row.

In the UK and the US, it is pronounced using two syllables as in Nigeria.

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How does it taste?

The fruit has a tart taste with some bit of sour flavor.  The taste of the magical powder is awesome! Baobab powder has a sweet, delicious and citrusy taste that is associated to tangy sherbet, bearing the legendary name of the tree. The refreshing taste that is slightly tart making it an excellent enhancer of flavor, if combined well with both savory and sweet recipes. Its pectin content gives baobab a thick and creamy mouth feeling making it an ideal functional ingredient in most applications and recipes from juices, smoothies, yogurts, ice-cream to nutrition bars, cereals, and baked foods.

For those who have tested tropical lemonade, the taste is closely similar.

To make the baobab drink sweeter, you may decide to add a teaspoon of honey.

How does it smell?

Baobab powder is often pale in color. On crushing the hard shell or opening a baobab powder container, you will be greeted by a sweet smell of freshly pressed fruits that can be described as caramel pears with a subtle tone of the grapefruits.

Why is Baobab good for you?

The benefits of Baobab powder is long and the list does not seem to end soon as scientists are continuously researching and discovering further benefits of this superfood.  We are going to provide a breakdown of in-depth nutritional benefits of the baobab powder as in:

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Baobab powder as an Antioxidant.

Baobab powder has also the highest antioxidant level or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) values of approximately 140,000 μ mol TE per 100g. Antioxidant helps to prevent an oxidative stress that results from free radicals which are known to cause cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and premature aging.  According to Lab tests by Atacora on Essential’s product, Baobab has been found to have an integral antioxidant capacity 37 times more than that of oranges!!

Lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation

An important mineral that is found in baobab is Potassium. It is for this reason that the powder is well known for its numerous heart health. Potassium, being a vasodilator, has the ability to ease the strain on the cardiovascular system as it is capable of dilating blood vessels and arteries and because of this,  it aids to increase the rate of blood flow and prevents the overworking of heart. Another advantage of lowered blood pressure is its significance in fighting several cardiovascular afflictions like strokes, atherosclerosis and heart attacks. A recent study conducted by a researcher at the University Of Maryland shows that increasing the potassium intake serves the purpose of lowering the blood pressure for person’s deficient of the same.

Vitamin C’s role besides improving blood circulation also helps in the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen is a structural protein, that plays a significant part of the connective tissue and elastin is responsible for muscular elasticity. These proteins improve circulations and help keeps the vein toned up and healthy. Those with circulatory issues such as venous insufficiency and varicose veins can add baobab pulp powder into their smoothies, this will significantly do justice to your veins.

Based on a research by Goinheim et.al Baobab has strong cardio-protective effects against the ISP-Induced oxidative stress in rats. The rats which were treated with the baobab fruit powder were found to have no congestion in the blood cells and there were no incidences of infiltration of the heart’s inflammatory cells. Thus indicating the baobab fruit had a significant role in promoting healthy hearts and cardiovascular system.

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Regulate blood sugar and helps in weight loss

Various studies have been conducted on the significance of the polyphenol content of the Baobab powder in relation to its effectiveness in reducing the glycemic index in high starch foods thus preventing any glucose spikes in the blood. This studies found out that there is a significant reduction in the rapid conversion of digestible starches into sugars in the blood when carbohydrates were consumed together with Baobab powder.

Being high in polyphenols, Baobab powder is also able to regulate the release of sugar from starchy foods into the bloodstream, thus reducing their conversion to glucose. Furthermore, it also aids in reducing the visceral fats (these are fats stored in body organs around the abdomen) and also improve blood cholesterol level. Baobab fruits promote the gradual release of glucose by slowing down starch digestion.

Besides that, a diet rich in Vitamin C increases the amount of fat burned during a workout session. Vitamin C helps in the production of Carnitine compound, which encourages the body burn more fat instead of storing it.

According to a study by Oxford Brookes University, the African fruit, baobab can help regulate the blood sugar level. Baobab being 34% rich in soluble fibers, is able to slow down the rise of blood glucose levels and thus prevent what is known as sugar spikes. A later study by the same university further reveals that baobab significantly minimizes the rate of sugar release into the bloodstream after digestion. Therefore, for those following low GI diet, or for those with type 2 diabetes, baobab is important.  Meals with low glycemic index helps people lose weight by reducing cravings, increase satiety, thus keeping their insulin levels in check. 

Baobab as an anti-inflammatory

Baobab powder inhibits LOX. Lipoxygenase products mediate a series of inflammatory diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, neurodegenerative disorders, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Research on baobab fruit indicates that they are exceptionally excellent at inhibiting the activities of 15-LOX8.

According to a research by Oxford Brookes University, the polyphenol-rich baobab fruit helps to reduce glycemic response and digestion problems exhibited by other anti-inflammatory agents. Baobab also possesses characteristic resembling a string anti-inflammatory, phenylbutazone. Every use of 800mg per 1 kg weight body of an extract of Baobab pulp fruit has a similar effect to 15 mg per 1 kg of phenylbutazone.

Baobab powder also acts as an analgesic or simply pain relieving element. It can be compared to Aspirin due to its high levels of sterols, saponins, and triterpenes.

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Help in digestion

As mentioned previously, the Baobab Fruit powder contains 50% of fiber. A report by National Health Service (NHS) dated 2012, indicates that despite a growing consumption of fiber diet in the world, over 80 percent of people in Europe do not have enough of it.  Baobab contains both Soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers or mucilage dissolves in water and enters the digestive system to help reduce the fat Cholesterol levels. The insoluble fibers are also known as cellulose fibers plays a key role in helping ease digestion of food. It also reduces constipation, as traditionally used by ancient African communities to reduce diarrhea.

 Baobab as prebiotics

Baobab has notably high content of dietary fibers. Half of the fiber content is soluble, making it an effective pre-biotic. The mucilage fibers (soluble fiber) in Baobab pulp fruits provides a suitable environment that stimulates the growth of useful prebiotic bacteria’s namely; lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the intestinal tract.  This improves digestion, allowing a person to absorb more nutrients from the ingested foods.

Skin care

Baobab powder contains the highest antioxidant levels than any other fruit in the world. According to a famous international skin and facial expert and blogger, Abigail James, antioxidants help to maintain a smooth and a young skin by preventing the overproduction of free radicals by our bodies.

Free radicals damage collagen in the facial skin leading to a dry skin characterized by wrinkles and premature aging.  In the ancient African cultures, parents removed rushes and maintain a smooth skin of their children by bathing them in water mixed with Baobab roots.

Additionally, Baobab oil which is obtained from Baobab fruit seeds has Vitamin C (6X that of orange) and this helps to maintain skin elasticity.  It also has an additional Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids that are responsible for maintaining skin membrane texture.

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Pregnancy

When it comes to nutrient-rich foods to incorporate into your diet during the pregnancy period, then Baobab powder should never miss in your diet.   Baobab powder has supernatural supplements and nutrients that are not only good for pregnant mothers but also promotes a healthy development of the fetus.

The high vitamin C contents in the powder play a vital role in immune-boosting of both the mother and baby which is crucial during the nine months period. Vitamin C also aids in making of collagens which are used to replenish dead skin and hold the joints and tendons together. Collagen is the largest protein found in our bodies.

Vitamin C in Baobabs plays a crucial role in dealing with nausea that is experienced during morning sickness by about 70% of women while pregnant.  In a research by ( Merkel, 1952), women were given a 25mg of vitamin C combined with 5mg of Vitamin K per day and a marvelous result were obtained as women reported a great improvement in the symptoms of morning sickness after three days.  Other women reported a total disappearance of these symptoms.

Australian Aboriginal women used the bark from baobab trees with the aim of enlarging their birth canals, thus reducing pain during delivery. In some cases, the powdered baobab stimulates lactation. A study done by Antika and Obizoba in 1994, shows that baobab treats milk allergies and galactosemia. Baobab contains more protein content than cow’s or human milk, thus proves that it is highly nutritious.

Iron Absorption

Baobab fruit pulp significantly improves the iron status of individuals with low blood levels.Baobab is an excellent source of Vitamin C which significantly enhances iron absorption, thus the presence of Vitamin C in baobab makes it an excellent source of bio-available iron.

Boosts the Immune Functions

Vitamin C boosts our immune systems and prevents our body against illness.  Approximately, 2-3 teaspoons of Baobab powder contributes to 33% of our daily Vitamin C needs!!…isn’t it amazing? Baobab powder has been found to have the highest concentration Vitamin C for up to 300mg per 100 gram. We human beings, unlike other animals, do not generate or store Vitamin C and thus we need a regular intake to retain the minimum body requirements. Baobab is a rich source of vitamin C which our body cannot easily produce for itself. Vitamin C significantly supports the immune system, keeping you healthy strong by boosting the defenses against any infections and diseases.

With all the listed benefits, you can personally conclude what it means when we say this fruit qualifies as a superfood.  It is recommended that you can incorporate Baobab powder by adding at least 2 teaspoons of the powder to your daily meals.  You can either sprinkle it into porridge, Fruits or yogurt. Alternatively, bake it into cakes or bread or even blend it with ice creams.

Our Baobab is 100% organic. No food color, No additives, No preservatives or fillers. Our product is harvested, ground, sieved and packed for sale.

References

1 https://aduna.com/pages/baobab-benefits

2https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306445.php

3 https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Baobab-Fruit-Powder-1000-grams-1KG-Organic-Quality-wild-harvested-/122954489164

4http://www.abigailjames.com/blog/

5https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c203/4b3b05e8310b441ae96139164c022f092ba0.pdf

6 https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/129891/file-17172711-pdf/docs/kabore_et_al,_medicine_and_nutrition.pdf

7 v8 http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/content/view/print/259574

9 http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bk-2009-1021.ch004

10 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629911001189#bb0285

11 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10495398.2015.1102147

12 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874114005996

13 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24176228

14 http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/jfr/article/view/61674