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.
Here are the top 6 benefits of baobab fruit and powder.
1. Rich in Many Important Vitamins and Minerals
Baobab is a good source of 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.
The leaves are rich in calcium and high-quality proteins that can be easily digested.
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.
Two tablespoons (20 grams) of powdered baobab provides approximately (4Trusted Source):
- Calories: 50
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Vitamin C: 58% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin B6: 24% of the RDI
- Niacin: 20% of the RDI
- Iron: 9% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
- Calcium: 7% of the RDI
Therefore, both powdered baobab and fresh parts of the plant are highly nutritious.
Summary Baobab is highly nutritious and different parts of the plant supply varying amounts of protein, vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium and B vitamins.
2. 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 (5Trusted Source).
Baobab is also high in fiber, with most powdered preparations packing around 4.5 grams of fiber into each tablespoon (10 grams) (4Trusted Source).
Fiber moves through your body very gradually and can help slow the emptying of your stomach, keeping you feeling full longer (6Trusted Source).
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 (7Trusted Source).
Summary Baobab is high in fiber and has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger which could promote weight loss.
3. May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Adding baobab to your diet may benefit blood sugar control.
In fact, 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 (8Trusted Source).
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 (9Trusted Source).
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 (10Trusted Source).
Summary Baobab may help slow the increase of blood sugar levels and decrease the amount of insulin needed to keep your blood sugar under control.
4. Antioxidant and Polyphenol Content May 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 (11Trusted Source).
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 (12Trusted Source).
A mouse study showed that baobab extract decreased oxidative damage to cells and reduced levels of inflammation (13Trusted Source).
However, despite these promising findings, more research is still needed to determine how baobab may impact inflammation in humans.
Summary Animal studies show that baobab may help reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative damage to cells, but more research in humans is needed.
5. High Fiber Content May Promote Digestive Health
Fiber moves through your gastrointestinal tract undigested and is essential to digestive health (14Trusted Source).
For example, one review of five studies showed that eating more fiber increased stool frequency in people with constipation (15Trusted Source).
Other research shows that increasing your intake of fiber may also protect against conditions like intestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and hemorrhoids (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Summary Baobab is high in fiber, which may improve digestive health and prevent conditions like constipation, intestinal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and hemorrhoids.
6. A Great, Nutritious Addition to Your Diet — Fresh or Powdered
Baobab grows throughout Africa, Madagascar and Australia and can be eaten fresh or used to add a punch of flavor and nutrients to desserts, stews, soups and smoothies.
However, finding fresh baobab may be challenging in countries where the fruit is not commonly grown.
Fortunately, powdered versions are widely available at many health food stores and online retailers worldwide.
For a quick and convenient way to get your daily dose of baobab, try mixing the powder into your favorite beverages, such as water, juice, tea or smoothies.
You can also add the powder to baked goods or sprinkle a bit over yogurt or oatmeal for an antioxidant-rich treat.
With a little creativity, there are limitless ways to enjoy baobab and take advantage of the unique health benefits that it has to offer.
Summary Baobab can be consumed fresh or in powdered form and added to a variety of different recipes.
Potential Side Effects
Though most people can safely consume baobab, some potential side effects should be considered.
However, the number of antinutrients found in baobab is too low to be of concern for most people, especially if you follow a well-balanced diet rich in other healthy whole foods (21).
There have also been some concerns about the presence of cyclopropenoid fatty acids in baobab oil, which can interfere with fatty acid synthesis and may contribute to health problems (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
Yet, studies show that these harmful compounds are significantly reduced during processing and unlikely to be problematic for most people (24).
Finally, research is limited on the effects of baobab in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Therefore, it’s best to keep intake in moderation and consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Summary Baobab has not been well studied in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and contains some antinutrients and cyclopropenoid fatty acids, which may have negative effects but are reduced during processing.
The Bottom Line
Baobab is a fruit that has been associated with a number of impressive health benefits.
In addition to supplying many important nutrients, adding baobab to your diet may aid weight loss, help balance blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and optimize digestive health.
Best of all, baobab — at least in powdered form — is easy to find and incredibly versatile, making it easy to add to your diet and enjoy.