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BAOBEST IS A PART OF A LARGER, EVOLVING MOVEMENT

For fellow curious minds we have compiled an array of relevant resources, industry news, and research.

Let's Talk Fiber

We get it, life’s busy. “Eat enough fiber” doesn’t exactly feature at the top of our daily To-Do list. But maybe it should. Fiber is a dietary powerhouse that plays a fundamental role in supporting gut health, which is the foundation of our general health and wellbeing.

What does fiber do?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that our bodies can’t fully digest or absorb. Instead, it passes through the digestive tract relatively

Baobab superfruit

50%

of baobab fruit powder is composed of a unique blend of both soluble and insoluble fibers

Superfruit baobab fruit powder in smoothie
Soluble Fibers
Particularly high in soluble fibers:
Pectin
Insoluble Fibers

Also contains insoluble fibers:

Cellulose & Hemicellulose
This unique combination of fibers as well as the plethora of vitamins and minerals makes the baobab a gut health guru.

95%

of Americans do not consume enough fiber

Soluble fiber, as the name suggests, dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance in the gut. This gel helps to slow down digestion, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and stabilizing blood sugar levels. But its benefits extend far beyond that. Soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, serving as fuel for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. As these friendly microbes ferment soluble fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which nourish the cells lining the colon and help maintain a healthy gut environment. But the benefits of fiber don’t stop there. Research suggests that a diet high in fiber is associated with a lower risk of developing various chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Fiber supports a healthy immune system, helps to lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and support weight management – all of which are crucial factors in maintaining overall health and well-being.

We face an urgent need to balance the growing demand for food with the preservation of natural resources.

Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, accounting for about

80%

worldwide, which is one of the major driving forces behind global land use changes

Baobab fruit south africa local farmers

Land use change refers to the conversion of land from one use to another, typically involving shifts from natural landscapes to urban, agricultural, or other human-altered environments, often with an economic incentive. This process has significant implications for ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change, and human societies.

Approximately75%

of the Earth’s ice-free land surface has already been significantly altered by human activity.
(Source: IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 2019)

As we face ecosystem collapse, environmental degradation, and the effects of climate change, the shift toward regenerative agriculture has never been of greater importance.

Regenerative agriculture is more than just a farming method—it’s a holistic philosophy that seeks to restore and enhance the health of ecosystems by mimicking natural processes and harnessing the power of biodiversity.
The nature of baobab harvesting, when practiced sustainably, aligns with the core principles of regenerative agriculture. Unlike conventional farming, which often involves clearing large tracts of land for monoculture crops, baobab harvesting is inherently low-impact. Baobab trees naturally grow in arid and semi-arid environments where other crops struggle to survive, making them well-suited to sustainable agroforestry practices. By harnessing the natural bounty of baobab trees, communities can avoid the environmental degradation associated with intensive agricultural practices and land use changes, such as deforestation, soil erosion, and chemical inputs.

Additionally, baobab trees offer a beacon of hope for climate-resilient agriculture as they are so well-adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of their native habitats, thriving in dry and arid environments where water is scarce. So as climate change continues to exacerbate water scarcity and extreme weather events, cultivating and conserving baobab trees allows communities to enhance their resilience, diversify their income sources, and safeguard against crop failures and food insecurity.

Baobab fruit baobab fruit pods

Land use change refers to the conversion of land from one use to another, typically involving shifts from natural landscapes to urban, agricultural, or other human-altered environments, often with an economic incentive. This process has significant implications for ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change, and human societies.

The baobab tree (genus Adansonia) includes nine different species that are endemic to Madagascar, mainland Africa, and Australia and are all uniquely adapted to its respective habitat.

Baoabab tree
Baobab fruit baobab fruit pods

These prehistoric plants predate us humans and have been traced back to Pangea, the supercontinent. Despite its seemingly slow growth rate, the baobab tree can attain remarkable size and stature over its lifespan. Young baobab trees often have slender trunks and sparse foliage, but with time, they develop massive, barrel-like trunks that can reach diameters of up to 10 meters (33 feet) or more.

 

One of the most awe-inspiring aspects of the baobab tree is its exceptional longevity. Baobabs are among the longest-living flowering plants on Earth, with some individuals estimated to be over 1,000 years old. These ancient giants have witnessed centuries of change and adaptation in their ever-changing environments. Adapted to thrive in harsh and unpredictable climates, the baobab tree has evolved a suite of drought-resistant adaptations. Its thick, water-storing trunk and fibrous root system enable it to survive extended periods of drought, and even produce nutrient dense fruit, making it a vital source of sustenance for wildlife and humans alike during times of scarcity, earning its nickname the tree-of-life.

As A Flowering Plant

As a flowering plant, the baobab tree reproduces by
cross-pollination. It’s large white flowers typically bloom at
night, opening their petals in the cool evening air and releasing their fragrance under the cover of darkness. This nocturnal blooming schedule is thought to be an adaptation to attract nocturnal pollinators, such as bats and moths.

The slow growth rate also means that it takes many years before a baobab tree bears fruit (between 30-100 years). Therefore, sustainable harvesting and conservation of these ancient giants is imperative to the survival of all baobab species. Many parts of the tree are harvested for a variety of uses. The leaves and bark of the tree are used in traditional medicine, processed into fiber, fed to livestock, or used as supplements. The different parts of the baobab fruit itself has many different uses; the seeds are pressed to extract oil used in skincare products, and both the husk and the pulp can be milled into powder for used as a nutritional food ingredient.

Baobab fruit baobab oil process diagram
Baobab fruit research

They encompass thousands of different compounds, each with unique structures and properties. Common types of polyphenols include flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans, among others

Polyphenols are a group of phytochemicals naturally occurring in a wide variety of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. In plants they serve functions such as pest repellence and growth regulation in plants, and although not essential for plant survival, they differ from primary plant compounds. Renowned for their potent antioxidant properties and numerous health benefits, from protecting against chronic diseases to promoting overall well-being, polyphenols play a crucial role in supporting human health and vitality.

Baobab fruit polyphenols information diagram

The intestine is a prime target for polyphenols. Despite their limited bioavailability in the bloodstream, polyphenols can linger in the gut for extended periods due to their intricate structure and composition of the food matrix, resulting in high local levels that benefit your microbiome. Increasing evidence indicates that polyphenols possess prebiotic characteristics and antimicrobial properties against harmful gut bacteria, while also influencing gut metabolism, immunity, and inflammation.

Baobab has a high polyphenol content, including high readings of both phenolics (24.4mg/g) and bioflavonoids (29.8 mg/g)

Studies that have found reduced glycaemic response and suggested a prebiotic effect from consumption of baobab powder, attribute these health benefits to the combined high content of fiber and polyphenols.

Why is baobab fruit so high in polyphenols?

The harsh environmental conditions in the arid regions where baobab trees thrive, can lead to the accumulation of polyphenols as a defence mechanism against oxidative stress caused by UV radiation and other environmental factors. Baobab trees store water and nutrients in their fruits to survive these long periods of drought. Polyphenols, including flavonoids and tannins, play a role in protecting the fruit from microbial degradation and oxidation during storage.

The fruit dries naturally on the tree, which allows the polyphenols to concentrate as the fruit loses moisture. This slow drying process helps retain the antioxidants and other phytochemicals present in the fruit.

Baobab fruits and pods south africa baobest baobab artwork

Research

March, 2024

The polyphenol-rich baobab fruit reduces starch digestion and glycemic response in humans

September, 2021

A Pectin-Rich, Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder Exerts Prebiotic Potential on the Human Gut Microbiome

August, 2013

Potentials of baobab in food systems

Industry News

May, 2024

Scientists solve mystery of ancient 'tree of life'

Baobab fruit

December, 2022

Baobab Fruit Is About to Be Everywhere — and for Good Reason

September, 2019

Can a 4,815-Mile Wall of Trees Help Curb Climate Change in Africa?