Baru seeds (misnomers: baru nuts or baru almonds) come from a primitive Legume (Dipteryx alata Vog.) known as the baru tree or Baruzeiro. Once a year, this tall tree from the South American Cerrado savanna bears baru fruits. After being cracked open, they present a single seed inside, also called baru.
Baru seeds have a familiar “nutty” flavour and texture and resemble a large peanut.
Are baru seeds good for you?
Baru seeds have a high nutrient density, being rich in:
- Protein – a great post-workout snack
- Mono and polyunsaturated fats
- Minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. These four are amongst the highest contents found in edible seeds and nuts.
- Dietary Fibre
Due to their unique composition, baru seeds have been increasingly studied by the international scientific community for the last 15 years, having several articles written on their benefits. In accordance to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Nutrient Content Claim Requirements, Baru seeds have the following health attributes:
- EXCELLENT SOURCE OF VITAMIN E
- EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PHOSPHORUS
- EXCELLENT SOURCE OF MAGNESIUM
- EXCELLENT SOURCE OF ZINC
- HIGH SOURCE OF FIBRE
- GOOD SOURCE OF IRON
- GOOD SOURCE OF POTASSIUM
- SOURCE OF CALCIUM
- SOURCE OF PROTEIN
- SOURCE OF ENERGY
- SOURCE OF OMEGA 3
- SOURCE OF OMEGA 6
- FREE OF TRANS FATTY ACID
- FREE OF SODIUM
- CHOLESTEROL FREE
- PEANUT FREE
- NUT FREE
- GLUTEN FREE
Got interested? Get them!
Are baru seeds good for the environment?
Meet the Cerrado, home of the baru.
To talk about baru seeds is to talk about the South American Cerrado. They are part of an overlooked ecosystem that is being destroyed very rapidly, with dire consequences to many biomes, such as the Amazon and the Pantanal.
The Cerrado is the richest savanna in the world in terms of biodiversity and the second largest biome in South America, being home to some of the main water tables in the continent. It is 65 million years old and spreads over 2 million square kilometres in the heart of Brazil, parts of Bolivia and Paraguay, being roughly half the size of Europe or twice the size of Ontario.
Currently, only 20% of the Cerrado’s original vegetation remains. This happened mainly in the last 20 years, being deforested 5x faster than the Amazon by intensive agricultural activities, such as soy crops, cattle ranching, and the burning of vegetation for charcoal, even though it’s an important part of the global ecosystem.
Baru and other native trees allow for the keeping of water tables and important aquifers such as the Guarani, the second largest in the world, almost the size of Quebec. The disappearance of all this deep-rooted vegetation could result in the loss of 40% of the Amazon by 2050, due to climate change caused by the lack of rainfall and water streams returning from the Cerrado to it.
The recent “discovery” of baru seeds as a nutrient-rich food means its extraction is now a profitable alternative to deforestation, creating jobs, international awareness of the Cerrado, and stimulating the local economy, as baru fruits and seeds are foraged as a source of income by many Cerrado communities.
With more demand and awareness, more baru trees are planted. They need other native species around for higher yields, which in turn attracts local pollinators. This restoring of the savanna allows the natural water cycle to be kept in place, maintaining existing water tables and streams, and thus sustaining the Cerrado and the Amazon.