Baobab Powder: Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects and More

Baobab tree
Baobab tree

Editor’s note: This is one of the most popular posts on Be Healthy Now blog and has been originally published in February 2015. This has been republished to benefit new readers who may have missed this post.

Have you heard of baobab before? Maybe you’ve heard of baobab fruit powder or baobab oil? I found out about baobab when I got contacted by Minvita who offered me to try their baobab fruit powder. I was really curious about it so I decided to give it a go. Since then I learnt a lot about baobab health benefits, baobab nutrition and even baobab side effects. Here is where I share my findings with you:

Quick navigation:
How is baobab fruit powder made?
Baobab fruit powder nutrition
Baobab fruit powder health benefits
Baobab fruit powder side effects
Where can you buy baobab fruit pulp powder from?
Minvita baobab superfruit powder review
What does baobab powder taste like?
How to use baobab powder
Baobab oil

What is baobab?

Baobab tree or so called ‘the tree of life’ is native to Africa, but it’s also found in Australia and India. It’s a massive tree that can grow up to 20 meters tall and about 15 meters wide. It is one of the longest living trees on earth and there is evidence that some baobab trees have lived for over 2,000 years, while other reports indicate trees that may have lived in excess of 3,000 years.

Various parts of the tree can be used for different purposes: its bark can be turned into rope and clothing, fresh leaves can be eaten to boost the immune system and of course, there’s an edible baobab fruit pulp with many health benefits. The fruit pulp has been used in Africa for different kind of health issues for a long time.

baobab fruit

Baobab fruit pulp has become available in the UK in 2008 when it won approval from EU food regulators.

How is baobab fruit powder made?

Baobab fruit is first harvested by hand by collecting from the trees or from the ground. Baobab fruit naturally dehydrates in the shell and the hard shells are then cracked open and the pulp is separated from the seeds and shell.

There is no heat or pasteurisation necessary to make baobab fruit powder – dried baobab fruit pulp is simply ground into the powder.

Baobab fruit powder nutrition

Baobab fruit powder contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Gram per gram it contains six times as much vitamin C as oranges, twice as much calcium as milk and even more iron than red meat. It is also rich in potassium and has plenty of B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, and antioxidants. What’s more, the fruit pulp is rich in soluble fibre and it has more fibre than other fruits such as apples, peaches and apricots.

Minvita baobab fruit powder

I can see this powder great for vegetarians or vegans as its vitamin C will aid iron absorption in various foods. Although the calcium content in 2 teaspoons wouldn’t be massive, it would still contribute towards the recommended daily allowance, something particularly important for vegans as they don’t eat dairy products.

Baobab fruit powder health benefits

There are more studies needed to establish the exact health benefits of baobab fruit powder, but at the moment we know that it can help manage blood sugar levels by counteracting the negative sugar level spikes that come from eating carbohydrate-rich foods like white bread. (1) UPDATE 31.01.17: This means that when you eat baobab powder together with high GI foods you won’t get the usual sugar spike in your blood. This could be especially beneficial to those suffering from type 2 diabetes, however, consuming the baobab powder will not cure you of the condition.

Being high in antioxidants, baobab powder helps to eliminate free radicals that can contribute to cancer, ageing, inflammation and cardio-vascular disease. As it’s rich in various vitamins and minerals it may contribute towards improved general health and well-being. However, there may not be much effect on your body if you take only small quantities of it or you take it only once in a while. The problem is that currently it is not very clear what the appropriate dose of baobab fruit powder should be but companies that sell it normally recommend 1-2 teaspoons a day.

If you are looking to increase the amount of calcium-rich foods you eat, then baobab powder is definitely something worth considering. Although you can find calcium in other foods such as sardines, broccoli, oranges and figs, some people still struggle to get enough calcium through their diet, especially because of their busy lifestyle and the amount of processed food they eat.

If you are a vegan or avoid dairy products, then you should especially pay more attention to your calcium intake. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and getting enough of it is important for prevention of osteoporosis. Consuming baobab powder is an easy and more natural way of increasing your calcium intake (as opposed to taking supplements). In fact, some pregnant women in Africa consume baobab powder just for that reason.


Baobab fruit powder side effects

Alternative medicine expert, Cathy Wong points out that ‘while baobab is generally considered safe, little is known about the safety of long-term use of supplements containing baobab.’ (2) Cathy also mentions that ‘the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

Baobab fruit powder and pregnancy

It’s worth mentioning that baobab fruit pulp has been actually consumed by pregnant women and children in Senegal due to its calcium content. A study of pregnant women in Gambia reported that eating the fruit pulp in season (December to April) without the seeds once a day, contributed 30mg/day calcium to the diet. (3)

No known toxicity of baobab powder

The results of a questionnaire administered to people attending the PhytoTrade Africa AGM were that there are no known toxicity or safety concerns with the consumption of Baobab fruit products. (3)

There has been no evidence or reports about allergenic effects caused by direct consumption of baobab fruit pulp.

Where can I buy baobab fruit pulp powder from?

There are different companies selling baobab fruit powder such as Minvita (which I tried, see below), Aduna and Organic Burst. Look for these companies in your local Holland and Barrett and see whether they stock their products, including baobab fruit powder. Alternatively, you can check Amazon UK or Amazon US to see whether they are doing any deals but make sure you buy organic and 100% pure baobab powder with nothing added to it.

Minvita baobab superfruit powder review

Minvita baobab fruit powder

Minvita kindly sent me a tub of their Baobab Superfruit Powder* to try and since then I’ve tried it in various ways and honestly I wasn’t disappointed.

Minvita’s baobab fruit powder is certified organic (USDA organic certification) and it is ethically sourced from Malawi in collaboration with non-profit Phytotrade Africa who ensures fair trade prices for rural communities, biodiversity, sustainable harvesting and protection of baobab tree populations for future generations.

The Red Tea Detox

Minvita’s baobab fruit powder is a pure fruit powder with nothing added to it. It’s free from gluten, wheat, dairy and it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Minvita baobab fruit powder

What does baobab powder taste like?

Before I tried baobab powder I was slightly concerned that I may not like the taste but surprisingly it tastes really good. Not like some green powders which are actually disgusting (spirulina, for example).

This is what I really like about baobab powder – the taste is great, it’s a pleasant tangy, zingy flavour and something you can easily enjoy in your food or drinks.

How to use baobab powder?

There are several different ways of how you can use baobab powder and here is what I do with it:

  • mix it into a porridge
  • add it to muesli
  • add it to the smoothie
  • use it in herbal tea instead of lemon (good decision, great taste!)
  • mix it with yoghurt and had it as a snack
  • add it to a sauce to thicken it (it works due to high pectin content)
  • make baobab pancakes
Baobab porridge with blueberries, almond butter and natural yoghurt
Baobab porridge with blueberries, almond butter and natural yoghurt
Baobab powder can be added to herbal tea and used instead of lemon
Baobab powder can be added to herbal tea and used instead of lemon

I read somewhere that you could even use it in baba ganoush but also in your baking, if you like, and in any other ways you can think of. It’s so versatile and this is what I really love about it.

You can buy it online directly on Minvita website or on Amazon (UK / US)

Baobab oil

It’s amazing how many different uses baobab tree has, it seems that they make use of every single part of it and here I also wanted to mention baobab oil which is made of fruit’s seeds. The oil is cold pressed and high in vitamins A, D, E, F, B vitamins but it also contains phosphorous and iron which all help towards improving skin’s elasticity and reducing appearance of stretch marks. It’s great for dry skin as it acts as intensive moisturiser. Although it’s suitable for all skin types it’s especially great for dry or dehydrated skin.

baobab oil

You can add baobab oil to your favourite face moisturiser to help tackle dry skin which can be an issue in winter. It’s only suitable for external use though.

Baobab oil can also be used on your hair – you can add it to your current conditioner or you can use it as a leave-in conditioner by applying a few drops through your hair.

I’ve tried a sample of Minvita’s baobab body oil* which is yellowish oil and absorbs into skin quite quickly without leaving greasy residue. It left my skin feeling nice and soft.

Have you heard of baobab before? Have you used baobab fruit powder or baobab oil? What did you think of them?

References

(1) http://www.nrjournal.com/article/S0271-5317(13)00188-7/abstract

(2) https://www.verywell.com/the-benefits-of-baobab-89414

(3) http://acnfp.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/mnt/drupal_data/sources/files/…

http://www.atacora.com/baobab-blog/bid/152356/The-Medicinal-Value-of-Baobab

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baobab

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adansonia

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-tree-of-life-and-its-super-fruit-869737.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7509077.stm

http://malawiproject.org/grotesquely-clawing-at-the-sky/

*indicates PR samples. My honest opinions always provided. This post contains affiliate links.

61 Comments

  1. Baobab is very common here in nigeria, but many people dont know its health benefit, they sell the powdee mostly in schools as candy to children and we make drinks and use the leafs for cooking, glad i came across this. Now i need to know how to export this powder and make some money, lol!😄 Coz its plenty here.

    1. Really interesting to hear your experience with baobab powder. There are lots of companies selling it here in the UK so I believe the market is quite competitive.

  2. Very interesting! This is what our parents in the rural communities in Ghana used to feed us when we were young. We were always healthy even though raised in poor homes. God is so kind.

    This is very motivating to start a project to preserve these trees and foster collaborations for livelihood creation within our rural communities.

    1. So you were lucky to have this as a child, good to hear it kept you healthy, so it does work!

  3. There are two types of baobab – sugar and salt like type. So you can choose whatever you want if you are the type that does not like natural sugar.

  4. AISHA ,good to know baobab stuff is readily available around you.l am in eastern nigeria and need you to supply the powder , oil and lives across.thanks. from Sop.

  5. Hey everyone, am from india and there is no shipping to india @ Amazon.co. Kindly help me which is the best brand i can buy apart from minvita and which has shipping to india.

  6. Hi, I have a nearly a full packet of organic baobab powder left but it’s past it’s best before date (March 2017)
    Is it still safe to use? And how long is it good for past this date?
    Thank you

    1. I am not sure I can give you a good advice on this but from my experience I’ve used baobab powder longer that it was recommended after opening it. It was recommended to use it within 3 months after you open it but I used it past that. As it is a powder and dry I don’t think it will become harmful after a while. I think the worst it can happen is that some nutrients will get lost.

    1. No, I don’t think that’s the case. Baobab powder contains vitamin C and this should actually HELP with wrinkles.

  7. I’ve never heard of this Baobab fruit but it really looks good. I hope i could try this but I don’t think I would be able to ship it to my country.

  8. I tried Baobab powder in yogurt for the first time and I had severe bloating and stomach pain. Has anyone else experienced this and if so did you try it again? I really want this to work for me but I’m afraid to try again. 😔

    1. Hi Erika, this is very unusual as baobab is known to have no toxicity or safety concerns, basically there shouldn’t be any side effects using it. Are you sure it was baobab and not the yogurt? Have you ever had any issues with dairy products? Was it a plain yogurt? How much of baobab powder did you use? (hopefully not too much!) Did you eat anything else on the day that could give you these issues?
      I personally haven’t had any issues with it whatsoever but I know everybody is different.

  9. I own a couple of Baobab trees in my farm in Nigeria. I eat the pulp all the time and enjoy the rich cream feel in my mouth. The nursing women from the community, where the farm is, use the fruit both for themselves,their babies and children. With regards to dosage, I can crack a small baobab open and eat half of the pod and I have never had any issues (should make sense since it is natural and harvested straight from the wild). The only thing you should be mindful of is the fact that it makes your teeth somewhat sensitive if you consume too much at a time.

    1. That’s amazing! Thanks for confirming that baobab is safe when breastfeeding and even for babies and children. I didn’t know that it can make your teeth more sensitive. I will keep that in mind for the future.

  10. A very informative article on Baobab fruit, its benefits and uses. Thank you for this as well as some interesting facts like it having more calcium than milk.