While the true measure of antioxidant prowess is always in the human body, new tests assessing the free-radical-busting powers of baobab in the laboratory suggest it deserves its place in the superfruit premier league, according to Baobab Foods.
The firm - which is in talks with several food manufacturers about new baobab-based products – says one gram of baobab fruit powder can deliver ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values of 1,400 units, according to results from Brunswick Laboratories’ ‘Total ORAC 5.0’ test (which pits antioxidants against five free radicals).
Precisely how it compared with rival ‘superfruits’ was hard to determine because ORAC testing had until recently focused on the single free radical peroxyl, claimed Baobab Foods. However, assuming a rise in ORAC levels across the board were the new testing method generally applied, baobab would still trump the competition, it claimed.
“Hopefully companies will pay to have their products tested soon and we'll have clear, apples-to-apples comparisons.”
New product launches
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA last month, Baobab Foods vice president, product development, Stephan Broburg said a major cereal company had begun developing a product with its Baobest fruit cubes, while granola, chocolate-coated baobab cubes and other products were set to launch shortly.
One of the few plant sources of calcium, baobab powder contains more than 50% fiber, plus more vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium than any other fruit powder on the market, weight for weight, claimed Broburg.
Baobab fruit powder is also being promoted in the US market by Californian firm BI Nutraceuticals.
Given that many antioxidants are poorly absorbed by the body and then rapidly excreted, some academics argue firms should view ORAC figures with caution and instead focus on establishing which phytonutrients and related metabolites actually gain access to appropriate cells in the body to exert biological effects.
However, ORAC values and comparison charts are still widely recognized and quoted in the trade.