Tichafa Mujuru

3 months ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

chat Contact the author

thumb_up Relevant message Comment

Boost your immunity, lose weight and fend-off Type 2 Diabetes with Baobab

azpXD.jpeg

Introduction

I was born and bred in rural Southern Africa. I am now in my late 50’s but most people I meet say I look much like someone in his early 40’s. Although we did not have easy access to modern health facilities back then, I rarely fell sick. Thanks to my mother’s knowledge of ancient natural nutraceutical foods. Since time immemorial, our forefathers relied on natural nutraceutical vegetables, fruits and plants, to fend off and manage diseases. This practice has been passed down from one generation to the next through folktales. Research has now made it possible for society to identify and extract the powerful ingredients that give these natural nutraceutical plants the power to fend-off and manage diseases, and convert these ingredients into capsules, tablets, beverages, food and cosmetics, whilst maintaining their natural properties. This article highlights the health and nutritional benefits of taking nutraceutical supplements made from extracts of the different parts of the Baobab tree, which has been confirmed by several empirical research studies as a formidable fighter against infections and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, malaria and obesity.

The Baobab tree, which is scientifically known as Adansonia Digitata, grows naturally in Africa, Middle East, Australia and Madagascar. Traditionally, all parts of the baobab tree have been used for one function or the other, from being consumed as food or medication, to the production of clothing and domestic artefacts. The tree produces a large delicious citrus-tasting fruit which is harvested from the wild natural habitat of the tree. Baobab fruit is found inside hard shells that hang from the branches of the tree. The seeds of the baobab fruit are covered by pulp, which can be crushed to produce baobab fruit powder. The baobab tree is known to possess numerous health and medicinal properties. Here are the top 7 reasons why baobab extracts are now being included in formulae to create nutraceutical dietary supplements and why you should include such supplements as part of your regular diet.

rsSsh.jpeg

1. Baobab is effective at preventing and fighting a variety of ailments

The Baobab tree is laden with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols which are known to possess antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-oxidant, antimalarial, antidiarrheal and anti-inflammatory properties. Different parts of the tree are laden with different nutrients. Whilst the baobab fruit powder is rich in vitamin C, fibre, protein, phosphorus, calcium, lipids, carbohydrates and potassium; the seeds contain zinc, manganese, phosphorus, thiamine, fat, micronutrients, magnesium, sodium, iron, lysine and calcium. Due to its nutrient-rich and medicinal nature, some ancient cultures have been using Baobab tree barks, pulp, seeds and leaves to treat most known diseases including tuberculosis, dysentery, diarrhoea, fever, microbial infections, malaria, anaemia, toothache and asthma.

2. Baobab is effective at improving digestive health

Baobab is rich in fibre and polyphenols which are instrumental in the production of some microorganisms that are essential for your digestive health, especially intestinal bacteria. Extracts of the plant therefore, promote what is referred to as a robust microbiome - the increased production of the essential intestinal bacteria. Research studies have shown that societies that have baobab as part of their regular diets have better intestinal microbiome than those who do not consume baobab at all. This is due to the fact that the prebiotic nature of the soluble fibre and polyphenol compounds found in baobab promote the growth of this bacteria, which optimizes the digestion of starch by the intestines. This explains why baobab is effective in fighting dysentery, diarrhoea and constipation.

3. Baobab can prevent the onset of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

Glycemic response refers to the extent to which the consumption of food and drinks which are high in carbohydrates affects our blood sugar levels. It is measured by what is called the Glycemic Index (GI). Due to its high fibre content and polyphenol antioxidants, baobab fruit powder has a lower GI compared to most foods. The inclusion of baobab in yours diet, therefore, slows down the digestion of starch and regulates the production of insulin, thereby minimizing the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Consequently, this results in low blood sugar levels in the body. The ability of baobab to regulate the release of glucose into the blood stream helps prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels which could lead to the development of type-2 diabetes. Since the body stores any sugar, excess to its requirements as fat, the consumption of Baobab fruit powder also minimizes the development of diseases caused by the build-up of fat, like obesity. The fibre in baobab fruit powder also slows gastric emptying thereby reducing the craving for food which further assists in weight management. Research has also shown that baobab has the effect of preventing both obesity and type-2 diabetes even when it is taken together with foods which are known to cause weight gain and have higher GI like cakes, white bread and white rice.

4. Baobab is an immune-boosting powerhouse

Due to its phenomenal strength in boosting the immune system, more research studies have been conducted on the effects of Vitamin C on the immune system, than all other nutrients. The strength of your immune system determines whether you fall sick or not. A week immune system leaves you vulnerable to the more than 200 viruses that cause flu, common cold, influenza and other respiratory diseases. Whilst it is among the list of foods that are rich in vitamin C, which include papaya, cantaloupe, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, orange and strawberries, baobab tops the list. Due to the high quality of its vitamin C, only 40 grams of baobab fruit powder can provide between 84 percent and more than 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin C. The regular consumption of Baobab fruit powder is therefore, a very effective way of fending off the common cold and other illnesses.

5. Baobab facilitates the absorption of iron

According to the World Health Organisation (2017), iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional disorder that affects more than 30% of the world’s population. The human body requires two types of iron, namely: heme which comes from red meat, fish and poultry; and non-heme which comes from milk, eggs, plants and meat. Of these two, the human body finds it difficult to absorb non-heme iron. Since baobab is rich in vitamin C, which can be easily absorbed by the human body, the rate of absorption of non-heme iron can be increased by eating the iron rich food together with baobab.

6. Baobab is a super food

Indeed, Baobab is a super food, especially the pulp which produces the baobab fruit powder. The powder can either be consumed on its own or can be used as ingredients for numerous dishes and recipes, including smoothies and salads. It can be added to beverages, ice cream, cereals and yogurt. Baobab fruit powder can be taken at any time of the day and can be blended with any food that can raise blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that baobab contains up to six times the vitamin C of oranges; four times the potassium of bananas; 10 times the fibre of apples; five times the magnesium of avocados; twice the antioxidants of acai berries; and twice the calcium of milk.

fqLdU.jpeg

7. Baobab is excellent for general hydration and skin health

Baobab leads all other foods in antioxidant content. This, coupled with its ability to fight free radicals makes baobab the perfect food for skin health care, including aging skin. Due to its high concentration of Vitamin C, baobab helps to brighten the skin and lighten dark spots on the skin. Baobab contains fatty acids, such as omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9, and several vitamins that have nourishing, cleansing as well as moisturizing properties that are friendly to the skin. It is therefore, an excellent ingredient for promoting a healthy skin. The blending of Vitamin C, antioxidants and the omega fatty acids makes baobab a vital ingredient for hydrating the skin, making the skin look youthful and delaying the onset of skin aging. Baobab is super rich in protein, calcium and vitamin E, which promote the healing and strengthening of nails and moisturizing of dry scalp and damaged hair. The fore going discussion clears spells out the benefits of using baobab body oils and lotions as part of your skin care routine.

Conclusion

Numerous studies on Baobab Fruit have consistently demonstrated that baobab is an excellent super food, which is effective at fending-off and managing a variety of ailments. It is rich in fibre and polyphenols which are effective at improving digestive health, thereby preventing the onset of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Baobab’s ability to boost the immune system is also well documented and it is also excellent for general skin health. You can read more >>here<<

 

Although it has no known side effects, dietary supplements with Baobab should not be used as an alternative to proper medical attention. You still need to consult your doctor when taking food supplements with Baobab to fend-off or manage any diseases.

Bibliography

Akbari, A. (2016). Vitamin C: An Overview of The characteristics and Function of Vitamin C in Various Tissues: Relying on its Antioxidant Function.

Baobab Foods. (2021, 01 15). Baobab, Diabetes and Glycemic Index.

Carlsen, M. H. (2010). Antioxidants: The Antioxidant Food Table. Journal of Nutrition, 9(3).

Jakemanl, P., & Maxwell, S. (1993). Vitamin C & Muscle Function: Effect of antioxidant vitamin supplementation on muscle function after eccentric exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology.

Link, R. (2018, 10 8). Top 6 Benefits of Baobab Fruit and Powder. Retrieved from Healthline.

Megan Ware. (2018, 2 27). Health and nutritional benefits of baobab. Retrieved from Medical News Today.

Schwalfenberg, G. (2012). The Alkaline Diet. The Journal of Environmental Health.

Thompson, R. (2016). Prebiotics & Sleep: Dietary Prebiotics and Bioactive Milk Fractions Improve NREM Sleep, Enhance REM Sleep Rebound and Attenuate the Stress-Induced Decrease in Diurnal Temperature and Gut Microbial Alpha Diversity.

Zee, M., & Chamlee, V. (2021, 01 15). Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Baobab.

group_work in Nutrition and Health

thumb_up Relevant message Comment
Comments

More articles from Tichafa Mujuru

View blog
4 months ago · 8 min. reading time
Tichafa Mujuru

Loosing Belly Fat Fast - The African Way: African Lean Belly Review

Have you ever wondered why people in Africa do not ...

5 months ago · 1 min. reading time
Tichafa Mujuru

Losing Belly Fat Fast - The African Way: African Lean Belly Review

African people have been living a healthy and pros ...