6 Health Benefits of Baobab - Fruit of the "Tree of Life"
5 minute read
Baobab is the fruit of the “tree of life” and when you learn more about the incredible nutrients it contains you will know why! Read on to discover the origins, nutrients and health benefits of Baobab fruit.
What is Baobab?
Baobab (Baobab Adansonia, pronounced “bay-oh-bab”) is a genus of 9 species of deciduous trees native to Madagascar, mainland Africa and Australia. The trees have an iconic appearance, with their barrel-like trunks growing up to 30m tall and 11 metres wide.
African folklore dictates that “the devil plucked up the baobab, thrust its branches into the earth, and left its roots in the air!” For most of the year the Baobab tree is leafless, so it does look as though its roots are sticking up – which is why it is known by locals as ‘the upside-down tree.’
Baobab is a succulent plant, which means that it can absorb water during the rainy season. Together with its incredibly large trunk, this allows it to store up to 120,000 litres of water and survive in the hot, dry and arid landscape of the African savannah.
Baobab food and supplements are usually derived from the fruit pulp of the plant. This superfruit has a naturally sweet taste which is flavourful and citrusy.
Baobab: The Tree of Life
By absorbing water in the rainy season, Baobab is able to produce a nutrient-dense fruit in the dry season – when little else grows. It’s unique flowers and hydrating roots nourish Baobab’s very own ecosystem where insects, bats and bushbabies live, and surrounding soil remains humid. In Africa, Baobab is known as the “tree of life” as it symbolises life, longevity and hope where little else can survive - amazing.
What is Baobab Fruit?
The fruit of the Baobab tree, also known as “monkey fruit”, is around 15-20cm long and oval-shaped. Its skin starts out as green, prickly and furry but later transforms to smooth, and dark flesh as it dries naturally in the hot sun. It is the only fruit in the world to dry naturally on the branch of its tree, a process which takes around 6 months before the fruit is ready to harvest.
Baobab’s outer shell is tough to open and so is usually broken with a hammer or large knife, if it doesn’t crack open when it falls from the tree and hits the ground first. Once inside, you’ll find kidney-shaped seeds of the fruit set in a dry pulp.
The inside of the fruit is chalk-like in consistency and easily crumbles into a fine powder. This is where you’ll find most of the health benefits of Baobab and it means that no freeze-drying or processing is needed, so we can enjoy Baobab fruit pulp in its 100% pure and natural form. Bonus? Baobab powder even tastes great – with a sharp citrus flavour similar to sherbet!
Nutritional Benefits of Baobab
Baobab fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. Its seeds contain a high level of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants and powerful plant compounds such as polyphenols. Compared gram for gram, Baobab provides:
- 7-10 times more Vitamin C than Oranges
- 5 times more Magnesium than Avocados
- 6 times more Potassium than Bananas
- 2 times more Calcium than Cow’s Milk
Considering these are all amazing sources of each nutrient, that really says something about the nutrient-density of Baobab. It doesn’t end there either, Baobab is also a rich source of Thiamine, Iron, Phosphorus, Lysine, Manganese, Sodium, Zinc, Fibre and Vitamin B6 – phew!
What are the Health Benefits of Baobab?
It makes sense that a superfood with such an impressive nutritional profile would be really good for us! Most of the health benefits of Baobab come courtesy of its extremely high Vitamin C and antioxidant content. Here are just a few of Baobabs health benefits.
1. Baobab Naturally Energises
Baobab is extremely high in Vitamin C, which contributes to normal energy release. It can help to stimulate the sustainable release of energy throughout the day, so you can stay naturally alert and fight fatigue.
Baobab powder contains over half of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C in just one tablespoon.
2. Supports Immune Function
Having up to 10 times more Vitamin C than oranges isn’t just good for energy, it’s also good for the immune system. This immune boosting vitamin helps to fight off the common cold and keep our immune system functioning optimally.
Baobab is packed with Vitamin C and many other antioxidants, which work to fight off free radicals and prevent oxidative damage – often the root cause of illness and disease.
Studies have also shown that baobab consumption can slow down the increase in blood sugars after eating, helping to regulate blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of conditions such as metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
3. Beautifies Skin
Baobab can also help to beautify your skin from within. It contains powerful antioxidants which protect the skin from damage caused by environmental toxins. Things like sunlight, air pollution and even the cosmetics we use can all damage skin and contribute to the visible signs of ageing.
Baobab’s high antioxidant and Vitamin C content works to protect skin cells from damaging toxins and can help you maintain a healthy glow. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production, which can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
4. Enhances Iron Absorption
One of the key functions of Vitamin C is to optimise iron absorption. This is good news when it comes to Baobab as the fruit is high in both Vitamin C and Iron – so you can reap the maximum benefits of both.
Iron has many vital functions in the body including enhancing immune function, energy metabolism and producing red blood cells. Iron deficiency is also common, especially for vegans and vegetarians, so Baobab is a great way to increase your intake with a plant-based diet and prevent deficiency.
5. Baobab is Good for Gut Health
Baobab pulp is almost 50% fibre, which makes it a great food to support your digestive system. Fibre is used by the body to feed good bacteria in the gut. It helps to keep our bowels regular and reduces symptoms such as gas, wind, bloating and constipation.
Baobab is also a natural prebiotic, helping to accelerate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Adding Baobab to your smoothies, shakes and water is a great way to increase your fibre intake and look after your digestive system.
Learn more in our article 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Gut Health 🦠
6. Healthy Weight Maintenance
As baobab is extremely high in fibre, it provides a slow release energy which helps you to feel fuller for longer and so can also help with weight loss. This is not only true for fresh baobab fruit but studies have found baobab extracts and powders also enhance satiety.
Not only is this beneficial for anyone trying to lose some weight, but it is also helpful for maintaining a healthy weight. This means that it is a welcome addition to your healthy lifestyle to manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels - as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.
Baobab is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and provides heaps of essential nutrients in plentiful amounts. However, outside of its native country, you'll be hard-pressed to find fresh baobab fruit.
Instead, you can find Organic Baobab fruit powder and its amazing health benefits in our Clean Greens blend which is easily added to smoothies, juices or simply plain water. Getting your daily clean greens can help to support immune function, digestive health and overall wellness, and is a convenient way to get more Baobab in your life!
- Baobab Nutrition: A Review - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S222116911530174X#bib34
- Nutritional Variation in Baobab Fruit, Pulp and Seeds - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5694876/
- Baobab Food Products Nutritional Composition - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19093269/
- The Effect of Baobab Fruit on Satiety in Healthy Adults - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28413912/
- Impact of Soluble Fibre Found in Baobab on Gut Health & Digestion - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24901089/
- Effect of Dietary Fibre on Metabolic Health - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/