SUPER NATURAL

First it was the humble Goji berry, then came Acai. These were followed closely by a series of increasingly potent and cumbersome-sounding superfruits (see Maqui and the Noni). Loaded with antioxidants, these are nature’s solution to the free radical damage that culminates in premature external (and internal) ageing.

The latest addition to the  list doesn’t disappoint in the crazy name stakes  – or antioxidant value, for that matter. Baobab fruit powder has an ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of over 650/g making it twice as good at protecting cells as the humble goji berry and six times as efficient at undoing free radical damage as cranberries or blueberries. And, as the obsessive compulsives among you will know, the higher the ORAC value, the more it’s going to impact your skin’s ability to bounce back from (inescapable) exposure to environmental aggressors. That means better, clearer skin. It also does a good job on your insides too. The natural amount of Vitamin C and Vit B6  help boost the metabolism and immune system while the 45% fibre content is great at promoting digestive health.
Moreover, the naturally dehydrated pulp has only 10% moisture so it doesn’t need to be heavily processed like other superfruits. It just needs to be separated from the shell and ground into an ivory-coloured powder that can be added to smoothies or sprinkled onto museli and yoghurt. It has an unusual, slightly bitter – but not altogether unpleasant – taste, which you can mask with other ingredients. You probably don’t want to knock it back straight.

While you can look for Baobab under equally bonkers names including Ethiopian sour gourd, Cream of tartar tree, Senegal calabash and, er, Upside-down tree, I’d point you in the direction of a particular brand. Aduna is a company with ethics as commendable as their products. They work directly with producers in Africa who own the trees to ensure that they are paid a fair price for their work. Their vision is to boost the profile of Baobab so that production eventually sustains 6-8 million households in Africa. Perhaps more importantly, Aduna‘s ethos, slick packaging and empowering vision undoes all the objectifying and pitying that Westerners have have inflicted on the continent over the years. To read more about Aduna’s mission statement  (and to find your nearest retailer) visit their official website. The moneyed cosmetic giants, who pinch many of their botanical actives from Africa, could  learn a great deal about ‘giving back’ from brands like these.

Aduna Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder; £17.99 for 170g. Visit Aduna.com for more details or purchase online from victoriahealth.com

P.S. Check out co-founder Andrew Hunt’s speech about ending poverty consciousness and changing the West’s perception of Africa with ethical products (embedded below).


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