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Health Benefits of the Baobab

Baobab Fruit Powder

  • What’s in Baobab Fruit Powder?

The Baobab fruit (Adansonia digitata) is recognised as a “Superfruit” for its high nutrient and polyphenol content. Its slightly tart and refreshing taste makes it a good flavour enhancer, and it combines well with both sweet and savoury recipes. Its high pectin content (around 25%), giving it a thick and creamy mouth-feel, makes it an ideal and functional ingredient in many applications from smoothies, juices, ice-creams, yoghurts and sauces to nutrition bars, baked goods and cereals. 

Nutrient Content

  • The nutritional content of Baobab fruit powder is as follows:

 

Per 100g 

 

10 g serving 

% RI* 

Energy (KJ)* 

1025 KJ 

 

102.5 KJ 

1.20% 

Protein 

3.3 g 

 

0.3 g 

0.66% 

Carbohydrate 

36.3 g 

 

3.6 g 

1.39% 

of which sugars 

22.0 g 

 

2.2 g 

2.44% 

Fat 

0.3 g 

 

0.003 g 

0.04% 

Saturates 

0.1 g 

 

0.001 g 

0.07% 

Dietary Fibre 

43.3 g 

 

4.3 g 

11.39% 

Sodium 

<0.001 g 

 

0 g 

0.00% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per 100g 

 

10 g serving 

% NRV** 

Riboflavin 

0.13 mg 

 

0.013 mg 

0.93% 

Vitamin C 

180 mg 

 

18 mg 

30.00% 

Calcium 

340 mg 

 

34 mg 

4.25% 

Iron 

7.2 mg 

 

0.72 mg 

5.14% 

Potassium 

1860 mg 

 

186 mg 

9.30% 

Magnesium 

155 mg 

 

15.5 mg 

5.17% 

Phosphorous 

36 mg 

 

3.6 mg 

0.45% 

Zinc 

0.375 mg 

 

0.0375 mg 

0.25% 

*Based on EU-approved Reference Intakes 
** Based on EU-approved Nutrient Reference Values 

Baobab Fruit Powder

  • Why is Baobab a Superfruit?

A superfruit is considered to be a fruit that is high in at least three different key nutrients. The nutritional content of Baobab allows for claims in six different nutrients within the European Union as follows:

  • High in Magnesium (>112.4 mg/100g)
  • High in Vitamin C (> 24mg/100g)
  • High In Potassium (> 600mg/100g)
  • High in Calcium (> 240mg/100g)
  • High in Iron (>4.4mg/100g)
  • High Fibre (>6g/100g)

What are the health benefits of consuming Baobab?

Prebiotic Activity

Baobab has a notably high dietary fibre content1. Roughly half of this fibre content is soluble fibres, and it is this soluble fibre that has been found in studies to have a good pre-biotic effect. It has been shown that the growth of intestinal microflora necessary for good digestion, in particular lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, is stimulated in the presence of soluble fibre. This means that digestion is improved, allowing us to absorb more of the nutrients from our foods. The insoluble portion of the Baobab powder is also important, as this provides the roughage necessary for facilitating the movement through our gastrointestinal tracts. 

As our understanding of the importance of a healthy microbiome (the community of bacteria we carry in our bodies that help with, amongst other things, digestion) has increased, researchers have recently been investigating the gut microbiome of a traditional hunter-gather tribe, the Hadza, in Tanzania. The Hadza have 40% more diversity in their gut microbiomes than the average Westerner diet, and Baobab fruit are one of the staples in their diet 

Iron Absorption

Iron-deficiency is one of the world’s most common nutritional disorders. Iron-deficiency causes anemia, which occurs when the body has decreased levels of haemoglobin in its red blood cells. This hinders the body’s ability to access oxygen, leading to fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath. Iron deficiency anemia is especially common in women of childbearing age.  

Although there are many natural sources of iron, including Baobab, our body is unfortunately not always able to absorb it. Vitamin C is known to enhance the absorption of iron, and the presence of Vitamin C and iron in Baobab makes this an exceptionally rich source of bio-available iron.  

Cardio Protection

Research has shown that Baobab fruit has a very strong cardio-protective effect against ISP-induced oxidative stress in rats. Specifically, the rats treated with Baobab fruit powder were found to have no infiltration of their hearts’ inflammatory cells and no congestion in the blood cells. This would imply that Baobab fruit have an important role to play in promoting healthy hearts.

Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have been conducted on the rich polyphenol content of Baobab Powder, with a specific focus on the effect that this has on reducing the glycaemic response when consuming high-starch foods. The study found a significant reduction in the conversion of rapidly digestible starches from white bread into sugars in our blood when consuming this together with Baobab. This stabilising effect is of much interest as a potential for managing blood sugar levels. 

Immune-Boosting

Baobab is rich in Vitamin C, an essential vitamin that our body is unable to produce for itself. Vitamin C is known for its ability to support the immune system, keeping you strong, healthy and boosting your defences against disease and infection

Slow Release Energy

Baobab powder is highly valued by long distance endurance athletes. Not only does the Vitamin C help boost their immunity, it also helps to slow the release of energy from their food, reducing tiredness and fatigue and supporting a healthy metabolism.  

Liver Protection

A healthy liver is essential to human wellness. Baobab fruit has been found to have a very strong hepatoprotective activity in rats, and the evidence suggests that regular consumption of Baobab fruit will do much to protect liver functioning in humans.

Satiety

Recent research at the Oxford Brookes University functional Foods Centre in the UK has found that adding Baobab to certain foods can help reduce feelings of hunger, leading consumers to feel that they are fuller quicker. This has obvious implications for weight loss diets. 

LOX Inhibition 

The lipoxygenase (LOX) products have been identified as mediators of a series of inflammatory diseases, namely rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, allergic rhinitis, atherosclerosis, kidney, skin and allergic diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer and metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer. Research on Baobab fruit have found that they are exceptionally good at inhibiting the activity of 15-LOX.  

Baobab Seed Oil

Known in Africa as the Tree of Life, the spectacular Baobab tree is unique in its ability to survive in the harshest and driest of environments. The seed oil has long been used traditionally in Africa for cosmetic use, predominantly as a moisturizing oil for direct application on the skin, hair and scalp.  

Baobab oil has significant levels of gamma-tocopherol (Vitamin E).  

Baobab oil is one of the few natural oils that contains Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids.  Known for its moisturizing abilities, clinical trials in Italy on cold-pressed Baobab oil have shown that, after 4 weeks of use, significant improvements are seen in skin elasticity of subjects.  

The oil contains almost equal quantities of oleic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid (an essential Omega 6 fatty acid), as well as significant levels of the Omega 3 alpha-linolenic fatty acid.  

Linoleic acid has been shown to be an important anti inflammatory, anti-acne treatment and moisture retention agent in topical application, and health practitioners advocate the application of natural oils high in linoleic acid to the skin of premature babies to enhance the skin barrier function and minimize trans-epidermal water loss. 

Alpha-Linolenic and Linoleic Acid

Are both Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) which exhibit skin-lightening activity, lightening UV-induced hyper pigmentation of the skin. The mechanism of action is through the inhibition of melanin production in active melanocytes.

Baobab oil is also rich in phytosterols, including beta-stiosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol and delta-5 avenasterol.

Plant Sterols

Because plant sterols have a similar structure to cholesterol they also have applications in cosmetic skin care. Cholesterol is an important component of the epidermal layer and is a contributor to healthy skin. Plant sterols have been shown to mimic the effects of cholesterol in the skin and provide increased elasticity and anti-wrinkling benefits and aid in the repair of damaged skin. Many of the sterols present in Baobab oil play this role.

Collagen

One of the contributing factors in the aging of the skin is the breakdown and loss of collagen, primarily because of unprotected sun exposure. As the body ages, it cannot produce collagen as it once did. This was the subject of the clinical study by National Institute of Health of Germany. In this study, various topical preparations were tested on skin for 10 days. The topical treatment that showed the most anti-aging benefits to the skin was the one that contained phytosterols and other natural fats. The study further found that phytosterols not only stopped the sun-induced slow down of collagen production, it actually encouraged new collagen production.