The baobab tree is a unique plant in the Sahara Desert of Africa. It is also known as the African Life Tree (Baobab), which is a food for the traditional African residents. African baobab is one of the most recognizable trees on the African continent, but it also grows in Oman, Yemen, Arabia, Malaysia and Australia. These trees grow white flowers, which are pollinated by bats at night and then grow into a hard coconut-like shell. Although the seeds of these shells are often pressed into oil, mainly for cosmetic products, the white powder wrapped around the seeds can be used as a healthy raw material. In some parts of Africa, baobab fruit drinks called bouye are very popular.
Although baobabs are very hot as superfoods, research on their health benefits is still rare, and more research is needed before making health claims. Some of the more well-known studies have shown that baobab trees may have the potential to help diabetic patients or insulin-sensitive patients. In addition, another study in 2004 showed that baobab seeds are a good source of energy, protein and fat, and the nuts and flesh of baobab trees contain large amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.
A 2013 study showed that when baobabs were baked into white bread or stirred into water, it reduced human starch digestion and blood sugar response. A study in late 2016 showed that white bread rich in baobab extract had no effect on blood sugar response or satiety, but it may increase postprandial insulin in healthy participants.
A 2009 review found that baobab trees are rich in vitamin C, and the leaves are rich in calcium (307-2640 mg / 100 g dw) and contain high quality protein. The whole seed and kernel had higher fat content, 11.6-33.3 g/100 g dw and 18.9-34.7 g/100 g dw, respectively. The pulp and leaves of the baobab tree exhibit strong antioxidant properties, and the pulp is more active than the leaves.
A study published in the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition in 2017 found that the pulp and seeds of baobab trees contain a lot of nutrients and essential minerals. However, the amounts between the selected countries vary widely. For example, at the national level, Malawi has the highest average seed calcium content (3200 mg kg) and Kenya's lowest (2000 mg kg).
The baobab tree has become a hot and healthy raw material, triggering the trend of global food and beverage trends, but it is followed by a shortage of resources facing the plant. In recent years, research in Nature has surprisingly found that many of the oldest and largest baobab trees have died in the past 10 years or so. Researchers have not found any signs of epidemics or disease, and climate change in southern Africa may be the culprit, but more research is needed to confirm this view.