Baobabs as nutritive Substance
The baobab is one of the most famous trees in Africa with multipurpose uses. The baobab has long been an important source of human nutrition. Indigenous peoples traditionally use the leaves, bark, roots, fruits and seeds as foodstuffs, as well as in medical applications for humans and animals (1).
The baobab fruit pulp has a refreshing taste and is very nutritious, with particularly high values of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. 100 g of baobab fruit pulp is comprised of about 80 % total carbohydrates (including 50 % dietary fibres mainly pectin), 2-3 % proteins and a very low content of lipids (< 1 %) (3). Baobab fruit pulp provides soluble and insoluble fibres, specifically around 50 g of fibres per 100 g of pulp. Furthermore, the fruit pulp is rich in vitamin C (300 mg/100 g) and minerals like calcium (300 mg/100 g) and potassium (3 g/100 g). The fruit also contains other essential vitamins, such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin or PP) (23). You will find some recipes here.
Leaves are widely used, cooked, and frequently dried as well as often powdered. They are rich in dietary fibres. The leaves are a good source for proteins (15 %) (1, 23), 20 g of dry leaves cover up to 16 % of the protein recommended daily intake for children (3). Baobab leaves contain significant amounts of all common amino acids (3) and the leaves are also a significant source of minerals (10-16 %). Iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc are the main mineral nutrients (3). Baobab leaves contain an interesting level of vitamin C and provitamin A (9-27 µg RE/g). 55 g fresh leaves cover 100 % of the vitamin A recommended daily intake (1, 25). Here you will find some typical recipes.
Seeds and Oil
The seeds contain 30 % fat, 30 % proteins and 9 % minerals (1, 3, 23). They have high levels of lysine, thiamine, calcium and iron. 20 g can cover approximately 30 % of the protein recommended daily intake for children (3).
The oil contains 30 % saturated fatty acids and 70 % unsaturated fatty acids. The saturated fatty acids are mainly palmitic acid and stearic acid and the unsaturated fatty acids are oleic and linoleic acid. In addition the oil contains phytosterols like ß-sitosterol, vitamins (1, 23) and cyclopropene fatty acids. Due to a high concentration of tocopherols, baobab oil exhibits remarkable stability.
Because of the possible antinutriant factors the seeds and the oil should be heated before using. Here you will find some traditional recipes.
Boab roots from Adansonia gregorii contain no known toxic compounds and have high levels of starch (17 %) and sugars whilst being, potentially a good source of potassium. For a vegetable crop it also contains relatively high amounts of protein (5.4 %). This species is similar to the African/Madagascan species of Adansonia sp.. Here you will find some simple recipes.
The fresh flowers can be eaten raw (16). Further information here.