Nutrient dense super seeds from the South American Cerrado savanna.
Life Story of the Baru Seeds
Baru seeds are a novel food from South America, more specifically, Midwestern Brazil. It’s arguably the most nutrient-dense seed currently known, but how did this come to be?
They come from a wild, primitive Legume (Dipteryx alata Vog.) known as the baru tree or Baruzeiro, a tall tree from the South American Cerrado savanna. This biome stores massive amounts of fresh water in water tables underground, but has a remarkably dry surface with poor soil.
This is important because several tree species here evolved to survive this initial harshness, in order to reach their source of nutrients – yup, you guessed it, the water tables. The baru sapling can’t rely on the soil to grow, having to reach water 2 meters deep for its survival. The tree thus evolved to pack as many nutrients as possible in its seeds, to ensure the survival of the saplings.
This is why this wild seed has such a high concentration of omega-3, omega-6, protein, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc. As a response to the stress of the environment, it is also packed with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Baru seeds have the lowest fat content of similar edible seeds, but still high in calories as seeds need energy to sprout. They’re high in the unsaturated omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9, and low in saturated fats.
After being dry-roasted, the seeds have a “nutty” flavour and texture. This is an odd characteristic, since it’s not a tree nut, but from an ancient branch of Legumes. It precedes peanuts or soy, and as a consequence of its unique evolutionary path, it doesn’t trigger peanut and nut-related allergies.
Baru seeds have been studied in Academia for the last 25+ years, with peer-reviewed articles published in respected journals such as PLOS One, the Journal of Food Research and Food Research International, the latter ones Canadian.
Why should you eat more Baru Seeds?
They're loaded with:
This is the building block of the body. All tissues are made of some combination of proteins and minerals, and we also need them to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Proteins are composed, in turn, of amino acids, and baru seeds have all essential and non-essential in large quantities, making it an ideal vegan protein source. You’ll find 14g of protein in a 50g serving of baru seeds, making it second only to soybeans in protein content.
In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy, and are responsible for much of the aging of tissues. Baru seeds contain high amounts of α-tocopherol Vitamin E, the most powerful antioxidant for humans. It is linked to higher immune function and the prevention of oxidative stress in the body. Recent research also shows their potential in preventing oxidative stress induced by iron supplementation or excessively iron-rich diets.
Necessary for digestive and cardiovascular health, as it stimulates bowel movement and balances the absorption of fats by the intestinal lining. Baru provides a very high fibre content, and a 50g portion provides 18% of the Daily Value recommended by Health Canada.
The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials, except when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids. The body can't make them from scratch but must get them from food. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Also, omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for brain health, specifically memory and brain performance. Baru seeds are a good source it!
Along with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, and are excellent for skin and hair health. They’re also vital for bone health, regulating the metabolism, and maintaining the reproductive system. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio contributes to the reduction of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. While the recommended intake ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is approximately 10:1 according to the National Academy of Medicine, baru seeds show a ratio of 9:1, the closest to the recommended intake in the comparison table.
Helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong, being essential for over 300 bodily functions. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein. Baru seeds are very high in Magnesium, with a 50g serving providing 20% of the recommended daily value!
Helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. It also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell. Baru seeds are also very high in Zinc, with a 50g serving providing also 20% of the recommended daily value.
Crucial to heart function, it plays a key role in normal digestive and muscular function. It works alongside sodium to maintain a normal blood pressure, and it also helps to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in the body. Potassium is also essential for proper nerve and muscle function. Baru seeds are a great source of Potassium, with a 50g serving containing 10% of the recommended daily value.
The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth. It plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. A 50g serving of baru seeds provides 35% of the recommended daily value for this mineral.
Helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation, being essential for most bodily functions. A 50g serving of baru has 90% of the recommended daily value, being an excellent source of manganese!
An essential element for blood production and transferring oxygen in your blood from the lungs to the tissues. A 50g serving of baru seeds provide 15% of the recommended daily value, being a great source of iron!
Plays an essential role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If people aren't getting enough calcium in their diet, the body takes calcium from the bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones. Baru seeds are a natural source of calcium, providing 5% of the recommended daily value.
Where can you find Baru Seeds?