By Natalie Richoux

You know the tree that this fruit is harvested from, but you likely don’t know the fruit itself. We’re talking about baobab fruit from the baobab tree. Movies like the “Lion King,” and the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom have made this tree recognizable with its large, thick trunk and massive canopy. However, chances are you have never heard, yet alone eaten, the baobab fruit.

Baobab fruit is green and prickly while growing on the tree branch, but then after six months of growing on the branch, baobab naturally dries while still on the branch taking on a coconut-like shell that is hard to penetrate, smooth and brown. Once dried, remove the white pulp and use it for numerous health and beauty benefits.

Baobab contains Vitamin C, essential to support your immune system and helps your body absorb iron: 2 teaspoons of baobab powder accounts for 33 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Baobab is actually a probiotic. According to the Mayo Clinic, probiotics are good bacteria (microflora) in our guts that help us break down food and remove bad bacteria in the food we consume, probiotics are food for our microflora and help them thrive and do their job so we can maintain happy and healthy digestive systems. Furthermore, it can help control blood glucose levels, which can improve blood cholesterol and reduce visceral fat. You may want to also consider adding this into your routine for its beauty benefits as well!

Antioxidants are good for us: they destroy free radicals, support the immune system, support eye health and help repair damaged skin cells. Baobab fruit is loaded with antioxidants! Baobab fruit pulp is a great source of antioxidants, more than many other well-known antioxidant rich foods. You can also add baobab dried fruit powder to lotion and use it for under-eye bags, a great daily moisturizer that can help soothe eczema and psoriasis, reduce stretch marks, and boost collagen production in your skin!

With the numerous health and beauty benefits of this incredible fruit, adding it to your daily routine can be quite valuable for both your insides and outside! Even though this fruit comes from Africa, Australia and the Middle East, you can find it in powder form at places like Wal-Mart and Whole Foods or order it online!

**Always check with your physician before adding new foods and supplements to your diet.