What is Baru

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 are very nutritious, being rich in:

  • Protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Vitamin E antioxidants
  • Minerals
  • Dietary Fibre

nutritionalsnackIn accordance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Nutrient Content Claim Requirements, baru seeds offer:

  • 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

Check out our Sports and Health page for a more detailed look at their benefits!

How do you eat baru seeds?

Just have them as a snack on the go, peel and all. Maybe salt them a little? Or add them to your favourite trail mix or bowl. Easy enough! This is the traditional way of eating them.

However, they’re very versatile and you should definitely experiment with them!

Are baru seeds good for the environment?

prd_018283s.jpgMeet 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.

deforestationcerrado2

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 rainforest 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. Less than 10% of it is protected by Brazilian law.

watercycle

Water clouds come from the Atlantic Ocean (1) and enter the Amazon rainforest becoming flying rivers (2), heading south (3) towards Midwestern Brazil (4). This rainfall penetrates the soil through deep-rooted vegetation and integrates water tables that feed rivers such as the Tocantins, Araguaia, and Xingu (5), returning to the rainforest.

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 many Cerrado communities forage baru fruits and seeds as a source of revenue. 

Bringing awareness to baru, and increasing its global demand creates some interesting effects:

  • It incentivizes local communities to care for existing trees and to plant even more baru;
  • It uncovers the deforestation the Cerrado has been through and its dwindling biodiversity to the world;
  • It generates international pressure for its protection;

If we are successful, the restoring of the savanna allows the natural water cycle to be kept in place, maintaining existing water tables and streams, sustaining the Cerrado and the Amazon, and avoiding the more nefarious short-term effects of climate change.