Some of the oldest and most majestic trees in the world fall into a very special genus named Adansonia, more commonly known as baobab trees . While there are nine different species of these trees scattered across Madagascar, Africa, Australia, and other parts of South Asia, they are all closely related and share very similar characteristics. They are massive angiosperm trees, with radii exceeding 150 feet and standing at times more than 50 feet in height. The baobab fruit, however, often gets less attention than it should, as this fruit has been considered a superfruit by some cultures for generations. The popularity of baobab fruit and its constituent powder has grown in recent years, due to the high concentrations of nutrients and minerals that it contains.
The baobab powder may be consumed as a supplement, but also as a thickener in certain culinary preparations, while the leaves, which are also quite nutrient-rich, are considered a leafy vegetable and are sometimes harvested for their essential oils. Baobab fruit is roughly 3 lbs and resembled a coconut, with a tart taste. This has made it popular as a natural food product for thousands of years, in addition to its many medicinal uses and known health benefits. That being said, let’s take a closer look at some of the many health benefits of baobab.
Health Benefits of Baobab
Circulatory Health: One of the reasons baobab has been dubbed a superfruit is due to its concentration of certain minerals, including iron. This mineral is a key component in hemoglobin, which transports oxygenated blood throughout our body. This can prevent anemia and provide us with a major energy boost , so baobab fruit in any form can be enjoyed for a quick pick me up!
Potassium is another important mineral constituent of baobab fruit, which is known to be beneficial for heart health. As a vasodilator, potassium is able to ease the strain on the cardiovascular system by dilating the blood vessels and arteries, thus increasing blood flow and keeping the heart from working too hard. Lowering blood pressure can also help fight against
atherosclerosis , strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular complications.
The dried powder of baobab fruit is particularly concentrated with minerals, and two of these, calcium and magnesium , are important minerals for bone strength. If you are worried about bone mineral density loss as you age, or are already suffering from some of the effects of age-related degradation, adding a baobab supplement to your health regimen is never a bad idea to keep your bones strong and durable into your old age!
Two types of fiber , soluble and insoluble, are present in baobab, which is why this fruit has been trusted as a gastrointestinal aid for generations. These types of dietary fiber can do wonders for the system; in addition to optimizing the digestive process and reducing inflammation in the gut, dietary fiber also helps to regulate glucose and insulin levels in the blood, and even lowers negative cholesterol, thus boosting heart health! There are also certain prebiotic properties of baobab fruit that can improve the bacteria levels in your gut and optimize digestion.
Antioxidants have been a recent buzzword in natural health, and baobab fruit is packed with these free radical-neutralizing compounds. Antioxidant levels can be measured based on the amount of oxygen radicals a fruit or food is able to absorb, and baobab does very well in an ORAC test (measuring antioxidant strength). This means that baobab is able to help prevent a wide range of chronic diseases, including some forms of cancer that develop when free radicals cause healthy cells to mutate.
Vitamin C is always one of the first compounds noted in a newly discovered fruit, and the immune system-boosting potential of this ancient fruit is definitely a result of the high ascorbic content. Baobab is good for increasing white blood cell count and stimulating the immune system to fight off foreign pathogens, in addition to vitamin C’s antioxidant behavior.
Growth and Repair: Vitamin C is also a key component of collagen , which we need for the repair and growth of tissues, cells, blood vessels, cartilage, and bone. High levels of ascorbic acid don’t just protect our immune system, but also ensure normal development and appropriate healing times after injuries, illnesses, and surgeries.
There are certain anti-inflammatory compounds found in baobab that can help aid in a number of conditions, from injuries and aches and pains to stomach upset and respiratory conditions. By reducing inflammation in the body, your immune system can focus on more important tasks, like eradicating pathogens and foreign bodies.
Final Word of Warning:
Baobab oil can be extremely concentrated and should be used with caution and in moderation. Similarly, the powder supplements from this fruit should only be taken as directed, as the strong concentrations of nutrients, organic compounds, and other substances can be irritating to the body in certain ways. As with any new addition to a health regimen, speak to a trained medical professional or herbalist before making major changes to your daily or weekly intake.