The incredibly nutritious baobab fruit comes from the baobab tree—also called “boab,” “boaboa,” “bottle tree,” “the tree of life,” “upside-down tree,” and “monkey bread tree”—which is native to Africa.
Baobab fruit hangs from the branch of the baobab tree for six months or more, baking in the sun. It dries up until it is smooth and brown on the outside and dry and white on the inside. Since the pulp of the baobab fruit is dry, it is easily made into a powder, which is sold in almost every health food store for its powerful medicinal benefits.
In Africa, baobab is used to treat all kinds of infectious diseases and illnesses, including malaria, tuberculosis, fever, diarrhea, anemia, microbial infections, toothache, and dysentery. (1)
Already an established traditional medicine in Africa for centuries, the Western world is only now starting to catch on to the nutritional benefits of this powerful superfood. Baobab is packed with vitamin C, calcium, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
There isn’t a single person out there who wouldn’t benefit from adding baobab to his or her diet. Let’s find out how.
1. Boosts Immune Function
Baobab is nicknamed “the tree of life” for a reason.
One of the best things about baobab fruit is that it improves overall function of the entire body due to its highly concentrated and varied nutrient selection. It has 10 times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, four times the amount of potassium as bananas, 10 times the fiber of apples, and a greater amount of antioxidants than any other fruit.
All those nutrients help to strengthen the body and support the immune cells. It can truly help to fight off the most vicious and fatal of diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, fever, and infection.
When you supplement with baobab, you can benefit from less severe and shorter-lived colds and flu during those harsh winter months. If a virus is going around, you will have extra protection with baobab powder.
2. Supports Heart Health
Baobab is rich in potassium, an important mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure. Potassium balances the effects of sodium in the body and helps to bring blood pressure down by relaxing blood vessels.
The antioxidants in baobab also support heart health by reducing oxidative stress in the body, thereby lowering inflammation, which can affect blood vessels and heart muscle.
In addition, the high fiber content in baobab further improves heart health by lowering cholesterol. The soluble fiber in baobab absorbs water and fat in the digestive system and pulls the fatty deposits out of the body before they are absorbed into the bloodstream.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are both major risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke—and baobab can help to reduce that risk.
RELATED: Vitamin C For a Healthy Heart
3. Improves Digestive Health
Did you know that approximately 70–80 percent of your immune system is in your gut?
The digestive system is located in the center of the body, and it is indeed the center where all systems and functions pass through.
When your digestive system isn’t working properly, your whole body suffers. Unfortunately, digestive diseases are becoming increasingly common in the Western world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 32.3 million people visit physicians’ offices annually with digestive diseases as the primary diagnosis. (2)
Baobab fruit is an excellent food for digestive health. It is 50 percent fiber, which means that it helps to keep things moving in the digestive tract. Of that fiber, 75 percent is soluble prebiotic dietary fiber, meaning that it feeds healthy gut bacteria—an essential part of the immune system. (3)
The insoluble fiber helps to fill you up and prevents constipation.
All around, adding baobab to your diet is a good way to improve digestive health.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar
Research shows that baobab improves glycemic response and helps to slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the blood. (4)
When added to starchy or sugary foods, baobab actually slows down the release of sugar from these foods. That’s good news for people on low glycemic index diets and for people who are prediabetic or type 2 diabetic.
Researchers believe that baobab’s polyphenol content is to thank for this important benefit.
Along with healthy diet and exercise, baobab can help to turn things around for people who are prediabetic and for those with insulin resistance.
5. Prevents Anemia
It is estimated that over 30 percent of the world’s population is anemic.
Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when a person does not get enough iron. Since vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron in the body, foods high in vitamin C, like baobab, can help to increase iron levels, preventing anemia.
6. Fights Inflammation and Cancer
Baobab fruit powder has the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value of all fruits, including goji berries and blueberries. The ORAC score is a measure of a food’s total antioxidant capacity.
Antioxidants scavenge and fight off free radicals and free radical damage in the body. They reduce oxidative stress, which causes chronic inflammation—the culprit behind chronic inflammatory diseases, like allergies, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and more.
Oxidative stress-induced inflammation not only causes chronic diseases but cancer as well. Free radicals can damage healthy cells and cause DNA mutations, which lead to the formation of cancer cells. (5)
Baobab’s rich antioxidant content helps to reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases, such as arthritis and cancer.
Baobab, which can be found in most health food stores and online, is an excellent dietary supplement to improve overall health. Add some baobab powder to your yogurt, smoothie, oatmeal, or breakfast cereal, or simply mix it into a glass of water or juice for a serious nutritional boost!