Baobab fruit has been linked to the following six health benefits, which include improving skin and hair health, weight loss, and stamina.
The baobab tree, also known as the Tree of Life, is native to tropical regions in Australia, Africa, South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique. These trees can tolerate hot and dry conditions. Baobab fruit contains a powdery pulp and seeds that are highly nutritious and rich in vitamin C. Baobab powder made from the fruit is consumed as food, added to beverages, and even used for medicinal purposes. Baobab is considered a superfood and is consumed for its nutritional benefits.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the status of baobab to be generally recognized as safe. Thus, it can be consumed in foods and beverages. However, for using it as medicine, people should consult their doctor.
What are the nutritional contents of baobab?
- The fruit pulp is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and other essential minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
- Leaves contain calcium and high-quality proteins that can be digested easily.
- Seeds are high in fiber, fat, and macronutrients, such as thiamine, calcium, and iron.
- Baobab oil contains antioxidants and nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, and E.
- Baobab powder is highly nutritious with high vitamin C content, vitamin B6, niacin, iron, and potassium.
Though fresh baobab fruits are not readily available in most parts of the world, it is commonly available as a dried powder.
6 health benefits of baobab
Here are six benefits of baobab fruit and powder:
- Skin and hair health
- Baobab plant products are rich in all essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
- Baobab oil contains all essential nutrients that improve hair strength, aid in hair growth, and may even help with baldness. It improves the skin condition by moisturizing it, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
- Weight loss
- Baobab is rich in fiber. Intake of baobab powder slows down the emptying of the stomach and helps the body feel full for longer. This prevents excess intake of calories and aids in weight loss.
- Balances blood sugar levels
- Baobab powder contains soluble fiber, which slows down the release of sugars into the blood and prevents a rapid increase in sugar levels. It may control blood glucose levels in the long run.
- Enhances immunity and reduces inflammation
- Good digestion and absorption
- Baobab is rich in fiber and contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, whereas insoluble fiber passes through the gut and moves the food freely through the digestive system. It helps keep the bowels healthy and prevents digestive problems, such as constipation.
- Vitamin C is easily absorbed in the body, so vitamin C in baobab pairs with iron and increases iron absorption in the body.
- Improved stamina
- The nutrients in baobab may help improve energy and stamina, which also helps you to stay active and focused throughout the day.
Though baobab has a good nutritional value and its consumption is considered beneficial, there are certain downsides to it, such as:
- The seeds and pulp contain certain antinutrients, especially phytates, tannins, and oxalic acid, which interfere with and reduce the absorption of nutrients.
- Baobab oil contains cyclopropenoid fatty acids, which may interfere with the fatty acid synthesis in the body and lead to several health issues.
- Baobab may lower blood pressure and slow down the heart rate.
- Although its research is limited on pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it is believed that baobab may contribute to uterine contractions and may cause fertility issues.
However, research is underway to completely understand the actions of baobab on human health. Harmful compounds are removed or reduced during the processing and production of baobab products. However, considering the downsides of the fruit, it is recommended to take baobab products in moderation and consult medical professionals for any concerns.
Medically Reviewed on 9/30/2021
Chadare FJ, Linnemann AR, Hounhouigan JD, Nout MJ, Van Boekel MA. Baobab Food Products: A Review on Their Composition and Nutritional Value. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009 Mar;49(3):254-74. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19093269/
HealWithFood.org. Health Benefits of Baobab Fruit Powder (A Superfood Packed with Vitamin C). https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/baobab-fruit-powder-superfood.php