Baobab – a super fruit?

Named the “vitamin tree,” its fruit has been added to the list of exotic “super fruits.”

Baobab is a fruit grown in Africa. National Geographic has named the tree the “vitamin tree” and its fruit has been added to the list of exotic “super fruits.” Baobab has an off white, powdery pulp and is claimed to contain an excellent source of calcium, vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium.

The Baobab tree is used for multiple things including food products such as nutrition bars and supplement powders. Various cosmetics are made for the face and body, while the seeds are compressed for the oils that are used for calming and healing properties. African populations consume the pulp, seeds and leaves daily which have been commercialized worldwide.

The tangy, sweet fruit pulp tastes like a combination of grapefruit and vanilla and is naturally dehydrated by the sun. It appears as a dry, mealy powder. The pulp is very adaptable and has been used by food, beverage and supplement manufacturers worldwide. The U.S. produces primarily the fruit pulp powder, which can be added to foods such as yogurt or smoothies.

Baobab does appear to be a nutrient-dense fruit. Baobab pulp is particularly rich in vitamin C, and contains B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and fiber. The pulp and leaves exhibit antioxidant properties, with higher activity in the pulp than the leaves. Scientists emphasize that additional research is needed to understand the digestibility and bioavailability of baobab nutrients, as well as the effects of storage and processing of nutrients.

Like any exotic super fruit, baobab is simply another nutrient-rich food choice you can include in your diet. There is no evidence to indicate that spending your hard-earned dollars on daily baobab supplements or juices will provide “magical” health benefits. Michigan State University Extension says that eating a balanced diet with daily physical activity is important for a healthy lifestyle including fruits and vegetables.

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