Can Superfoods Help Solve Malnutrition?


Throughout Africa, there are pockets of areas that are habitually drought-prone.  With little access to water or income opportunities, malnourishment is a serious problem.  According to Save the Children, “malnutrition is an underlying cause of death of 2.6 million children each year — one third of the global total of children’s deaths.”

In areas with extreme weather (drought, heat, cold), mother nature has addressed this problem by creating superfood plants.  Many superfoods come from areas where the plants have had to work extra hard to survive.  Protecting themselves from extreme weather by creating phytochemicals, these plants can provide much-needed nutritional benefits to the people who live in the areas where they grow.

Baobab is a tree that grows in Africa’s most arid regions.  The superfruit from the tree contains all essential amino acides, antioxidants, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

Unfortunately, baobab and other local foods, with are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are often shunned for being too “traditional” or as foods that are for “poor” people.  Even when in scarce supply, food can be a status symbol, and eating purchased maize (corn) mean instead of free and readily available baobab, indicates a level of upward mobility that is a sense of pride.

Luckily, in some areas, there is a shift in this thinking and it’s starting at Whole Foods and your local organic food stores.  The demand for superfoods from the United States, Europe, and Asia is giving these foods value in the communities from which they are harvested.  Now that there is a dollar amount associated with baobab, it’s slowing shifting from a “poor” person food to a viable food options (and a highly nutritious one!).

Gus Le Breton, CEO of Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe, explains this shift, along with the economic opportunities that Baobab provides in the video below:

Gus le Breton on Baobab, economic opportunity, and nutrition


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