What is Baobab?
Baobab (Bey-Oh-Bab) is the common name used for the nine species of trees in the genus Adansonia. Six of these nine species are native to Madagascar, two to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and one to Australia. There is a great similarity between the African and Australian baobabs; most likely a result of separation that took place over 100 million years ago, which was probably caused by oceanic dispersal.
The Nine Species include:
Adansonia digitata L. – African baobab, dead-rat-tree, monkey-bread-tree (western, northeastern, central & southern Africa, in Oman and Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, Asia and in Penang, Malaysia)
Adansonia grandidieri – Grandidier’s baobab, giant baobab (Madagascar)
Adansonia gregorii – boab, Australian baobab, bottletree, cream-of-tartar-tree, gouty-stem (northwestern Australia)
Adansonia kilima – montane African baobab (eastern & southern Africa)
Adansonia madagascariensis – Madagascar baobab (Madagascar)
Adansonia perrieri – Perrier’s baobab (northern Madagascar)
Adansonia rubrostipa – fony baobab (Madagascar)
Adansonia suarezensis – Suarez baobab (Madagascar)
Adansonia za – za baobab (Madagascar)
Baobab is the only fruit in the world that dries naturally on the branch. Baobab fruit powder is an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, thiamin, fibre and vitamin B6. The fruit also has one of the highest antioxidant properties, with more than double the antioxidants per gram of goji berries, and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined. Baobab is ideal for improving alertness and energy levels, supporting the immune system, boosting iron levels, and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Its sweet and citrusy taste makes it easy to incorporate into your daily dietary intake.
Benefits of Baobab
Baobab fruit powder is a nutrient-rich raw wholefood making it a rich source of: Vitamin C · Fibre · Polyphenols · Vitamin B6
Vitamin C is essential for a number of reasons. It not only helps in collagen formation but also contributes to healthy skin, teeth, gums, cartilage, bones and blood vessels. Vitamin C is beneficial in maintaining a strong and healthy immune system, and supports the normal functioning of the nervous system. It plays a vital role in protecting the cells from oxidative stress and increases the body’s absorption of iron. Vitamin C is also one of the vitamins needed in much higher quantities during pregnancy; and Baobab is packed with six times more Vitamin C than oranges, and twice as much calcium than in milk, thiamine and Vitamin B6.
Baobab is made up of almost 50% fibre; and baobab contains equal quantities of both soluble and insoluble fibres, which our body needs. The soluble fibre in baobab helps slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream, reducing energy spikes. Fibre is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fibre can be useful for weight management as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, and it also helps maintain bowel regularity.
Polyphenols are antioxidant plant chemicals including flavonoids, bioflavonoids, flavanols and tannins, which are often used in anti-aging skin cream formulations. According to The Journal of Nutrition, Baobab has the highest polyphenol (antioxidant) content of any fruit. For example, Baobab has twice the amount of antioxidants per gram of goji berries and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined.
Antioxidants are vital for protecting, repairing and preventing cell damage. An antioxidant-rich diet can help reduce the signs of ageing in the long-term. Antioxidants help fight against oxidative stress thus helping in managing the effects of free radicals and help prevent premature ageing. Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that destroy collagen, which causes dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles and premature ageing.
Vitamin B6, a water-soluble vitamin, is vital to several crucial bodily functions; right from the immune system, to regulating metabolism and reducing tiredness and fatigue, all of which will contribute towards healthy and vibrant looking skin.
How To Eat or Drink Baobab
Baobab, the antioxidant packed fruit powder, has a sweet-tangy taste, which makes it great to add to smoothies and juices, porridge, muesli, to fruit and yogurt or even just plain water*.
Recommended Daily Intake
Two to four teaspoons per day.
*When taking Baobab with water, make sure to combine the powder and a little water into a paste before topping up your glass.
Mango bao-berry smoothie bowl
by Candice Douglas, Cape Town
Total time: 5-10 min • 30 mins soaking time • Makes 3 portions • Equipment: Blender
- 4 mangoes, medium-sized
- 1 cup dates
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3 tbsp baobab powder
- 1-2 tbsp Honeyto taste
- 1-2 cup of waterdepending on thickness wanted
- Berrieswe used raspberries and blueberries
- Mango slices
- Coconut flakes
- Put almonds and dates in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 30 minutes to soften. (In a hurry, one can skip this step and enjoy the almonds and dates as small bits in the smoothie).
- Drain almonds and dates and add to blender followed by the rest of the smoothie bowl ingredients.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into bowls, decorate with toppings (get creative!), and serve.