Increasing demand of shea products (kernels and butter) has led to the assessment of the state-of-the-art of these products. In this review, attention has been focused on macronutrients and micronutrients of pulp, kernels, and butter of shea tree and also the physicochemical properties of shea butter. Surveying the literature revealed that the pulp is rich in vitamin C (196.1 mg/100 g); consumption of 50 g covers 332% and 98% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of children (4–8 years old) and pregnant women, respectively. The kernels contain a high level of fat (17.4–59.1 g/100 g dry weight). Fat extraction is mainly done by traditional methods that involve roasting and pressing of the kernels, churning the obtained liquid with water, boiling, sieving, and cooling. The fat (butter) is used in food preparation and medicinal and cosmetics industries. Its biochemical properties indicate some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Large variations are observed in the reported values for the composition of shea products. Recommendations for future research are presented to improve the quality and the shelf-life of the butter. In addition, more attention should be given to the accuracy and precision in experimental analyses to obtain more reliable information about biological variation.
- african countries