For nearly the last decade, superfoods have become a huge commodity in the world of nutrition and healthy eating. The latest powders, juices, and even superfood bars and foods have hit the market like wildfire with consumers going mad over the idea of how to get more nutrition into their diets. Sometimes these superfoods have more hype than necessary, but within all the noise, many of them actually do contain nutritious properties worth adding to your diet if you are able to.
Bringing the World’s Superfoods to Our Homes
Superfoods are foods from other regions of the world that offer many more times the antioxidants and nutritional powers than foods we have available to us that are grown in the United States or Canada. Coincidentally, to the regions of the world where these superfoods are produced, they aren’t deemed as superfoods, but are merely daily staples that make up the natives’ diets and even act as survival foods. Many of these you’ve probably heard of, such as goji, cacao, acai, camu camu, matcha, chia, teff, quinoa, and maca just to name some of the more popular ones. Spirulina is a superfood blue green algae rich in iron and protein that is also grown in various parts of the world, though many reputable brands also produce it in Hawaii. But one that’s getting a lot of attention these days isn’t one you’ll find anywhere in the United States.
The Latest Must-Try South African Superfood: Baobab
Many popular superfoods you’ve heard of tend to come largely from South America, such as from Peru and Brazil, while many others come from Africa. One of these that originates from Africa is the baobab fruit, which comes from the baobab fruit tree. It is actually a staple of the South African diet, especially in times of survival due to the vast amount of nutrition it contains. The fruits that fall from the tree are cracked open (much like a cacao fruit is) since inside lies a powder that holds the most nutritional value contained in the fruit.
The Health Benefits of Baobab
This amazingly superfood has six times higher in Vitamin C than oranges, contains TWICE as much calcium as milk, 20 times the antioxidants of acai (thought to be the biggest and most abundant source), almost 21 times the antioxidants of goji berries, and is higher in fiber per serving than most any fruit we are able to enjoy today. The baobab fruit is also much more nutritional than common antioxidant-rich berries we’re accustomed to here in the United States (such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries), no matter how delicious and beneficial they may be.
Baobab is also completely free of sugar and starch, though it provides a whopping 10 grams of fiber in just one fruit. It’s also nearly fat-free, contains 1.2 milligrams of iron, and almost 30 milligrams of magnesium to benefit the nervous system and aid in energy production. Baobab is sold here in the United States as a freeze dried powder just like acai powder and camu camu powder. Just a teaspoon a day will provide all the benefits this fruit has to offer, but be sure you purchase organic and non-GMO products if you choose to use it, which will benefit not only you, but also those who produce it and the environment.
An Unexpected Benefit of This Superfood….
What’s even more amazing about this superfood is how its popularity as a superfood product has improved the welfare of the South African natives who grow this fruit. Baobab grows in one of the poorest regions of South Africa, therefore natives that live there are able to benefit monetarily through organic (and many fair-trade) companies that are producing the fruit as a superfood powder.
Check out this video to see the baobab tree and see how it’s produced!
What does it Taste Like and How to Use it?
Baobab is said to be one of the most delightfully flavored superfoods out there. Much like camu camu (the highest source of Vitamin C on the planet), baobab has a sweet, yet tart taste that’s similar to citrus but more complex in flavor. It’s great to enjoy in a smoothie with some berries, vanilla or chocolate vegan protein powder, greens and cacao, but you can also try it in non-dairy yogurt (especially coconut!), oatmeal or quinoa porridge, or mixed into a raw energy bite recipe for a new flavor.
Baobab is slow to pop up in health food stores since it’s fairly new at making its way into the United States, but is available online all over the world due to it growing so swiftly in popularity. Many makers of green superfood powders or raw, vegan superfoods also use baobab in those mixtures due to its incredible nutrient profile and delicious flavor.
Should You Try Baobab?
A whole foods plant-based diet rich in organic (and especially local) foods you find at your supermarket is always the best place to start to get the most nutrition and basic “superfoods” into your diet. However, if you’re looking to “up the anty” and enjoy using superfoods that can provide more antioxidants and other nutrients for your diet, then definitely give baobab a try.
How about trying it out in Banana Oatmeal With Hazelnut Butter, Raisins, and Baobab Powder?
Also, be sure to let us know if you use baobab or if you give it a shot!
Lead Image Source: Leonora Enking/Flickr