Baru seeds (also known as baru nuts or baru almonds) come from a primitive Legume (Dipteryx alata Vog.) known as the baru tree or Baruzeiro, a tall tree from the South American Cerrado savanna. Once a year it bears baru fruits, each with a single seed inside. After being dry-roasted, the seeds have a “nutty” flavour and texture.
The seeds have a high nutrient density, being rich in:
- Mono and polyunsaturated fats
- Minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus
- 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
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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 kilometers in the heart of Brazil, parts of Bolivia and Paraguay, being roughly half the size of Europe.
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.
Native trees such as baru allow for the keeping of water tables and important aquifers such as the Guarani, the second largest in the world, with a 1,200,000 km² territory. The disappearance of its 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 the increase on demand, more baru trees are planted, attracting local pollinators, allowing the natural water cycle to be restored and maintaining existing water tables and streams, and thus sustaining the Cerrado and the Amazon.