Baobab is a tree native to certain regions of Africa, Arabia, Australia and Madagascar.
Also known by their scientific name Adansonia, baobab trees can grow up to 98 feet (30 meters) tall and produce a large fruit that is commonly consumed and appreciated for its delicious citrus-like flavor.
The pulp, leaves and seeds of the baobab fruit — which is also available in powdered form — have been associated with many health benefits and are a staple in various recipes and cuisines.
This humble citrus fruit, pronounced “BEY-oh-bab,” grows in Africa and Australia, and has long been a trusted aid in healthy skin, hair, and overall wellness for the locals in these regions.
The baobab fruit hangs in hard pods upside down from the baobab tree.
After the fruit is dried and harvested and the seeds have been removed, the baobab is ground into a powder, which can be added to many of our favorite foods.
Here are the top 9 health benefits of baobab fruit and powder you need to know;
1. Rich In Many Important Vitamins and Minerals
Research shows that the nutritional content of baobab can vary depending on the geographical location where it’s grown and between different parts of the plant, such as the leaves, pulp and seeds.
For instance, the pulp is high in vitamin C, antioxidants and several key minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc (1Trusted Source).
The leaves are rich in calcium and high-quality proteins that can be easily digested.
Furthermore, the seeds and kernel of the plant are loaded with fiber, fat and micronutrients like thiamine, calcium and iron (2Trusted Source, 3).
However, in most parts of the world where fresh baobab is unavailable, it’s more commonly found as a dried powder.
Powdered baobab contains many important nutrients but is especially high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, iron and potassium.
2. Keeps Skin and Hair Healthy
Baobab is high in vitamin C, which helps the body absorb other nutrients more easily. Even more, it plays an important role in protecting skin and hair.
3. May Aid Weight Loss By Promoting Feelings Of Fullness
Some research has found that adding baobab to your diet may be beneficial if you’re looking to drop a few extra pounds. It can help curb cravings and promote feelings of fullness, helping you eat less and lose weight.
One small study in 20 people showed that drinking a smoothie with 15 grams of baobab extract significantly reduced feelings of hunger compared to a placebo drink.
Baobab is also high in fiber, with most powdered preparations packing around 4.5 grams of fiber into each tablespoon (10 grams).
Fiber moves through your body very gradually and can help slow the emptying of your stomach, keeping you feeling full longer.
Simply increasing your fiber intake by 14 grams per day has been shown to decrease calorie intake by up to 10% and reduce body weight by an average of 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) over a four-month period.
4. Regulates Body Fluids
This fruit also includes high levels of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are electrolytes that stimulate muscles and nerves as well as regulate body fluids.
For physically active people, electrolyte loss can be a concern, so having some baobab powder on hand is a good way to maintain this balance.
5. May Promote Digestive Health
Baobab is a good source of fiber , and powdered versions can contain up to 18% of the daily recommended value in just one tablespoon (10 grams).
Fiber moves through your gastrointestinal tract undigested and is essential to digestive health.
For example, one review of five studies showed that eating more fiber increased stool frequency in people with constipation.
Fiber also acts as a prebiotic and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, optimizing the health of your gut microbiome.
Other research shows that increasing your intake of fiber may also protect against conditions like intestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and hemorrhoids
6. Protects and Repairs Cells
Baobab is one of the world’s richest sources of antioxidants, which are important for overall health because they help delay, repair, or prevent the damage to our cells caused by free radicals. This cell damage can result in serious health conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cataracts.
7. May Help Reduce Inflammation
Baobab is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols, which are compounds that protect your cells from oxidative damage and reduce inflammation in your body.
Some studies suggest that chronic inflammation could contribute to a long list of health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and diabetes.
Though current research is mostly limited to animals, some studies have observed that baobab may help
decrease levels of inflammation in the body.
One rat study found that baobab fruit pulp reduced multiple markers of inflammation and helped protect the heart from damage.
A mouse study showed that baobab extract decreased oxidative damage to cells and reduced levels of inflammation.
However, despite these promising findings, more research is still needed to determine how baobab may impact inflammation in humans.
8. Maintains Gastrointestinal Health
Also rich in dietary fiber, baobab can support digestion and improve satiety, meaning you’ll feel full longer.
9. May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Adding baobab to your diet may benefit blood sugar control. One study found that baking baobab extract into white bread reduced the amount of rapidly-digested starch and slowed down the increase of blood sugar levels in the body.
Similarly, another small study in 13 people showed that adding baobab to white bread decreased the amount of insulin needed to transport sugar from the blood to the tissues to help control blood sugar levels.
Because of its high fiber content, baobab may also help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which can prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar and stabilize levels long term.