Camu Camu, tropical fruit with antioxidant properties

Camu Camu is a tropical fruit that has 50 times more vitamin C than orange. Therefore, it is a powerful antioxidant that is very beneficial for health. Therefore, it helps us prevent certain diseases.

What is camu camu?

You’ve probably heard of superfoods. When we talk about these superfoods, we refer to those foods whose nutritional potential  or  nutritional value  makes them very interesting from a health point of view due to their high concentration of  antioxidants , healthy fats or vitamins.

Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a berry like strawberry , raspberry or acerola . It is almost round in shape and measures approximately 1 to 2.5 cm in diameter, much like a cherry .

At the beginning, when the fruit appears with yellow skin. Later, when it matures, it turns purple and black. It is sweet and juicy, although a bit tart. Inside the pulp it has three small seeds.

The plants can take up to 4 and 5 years to bear the first fruits. However, they tend to produce good crops. A single plant can bear between 400 and 500 fruits.

In addition, in marshy waters up to 1000 fruits can be collected. These berries are collected between summer and autumn.

Nutritionally, camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is one of the superfoods with a high content of vitamin C, much more than other foods. Therefore, it is a powerful antioxidant that helps us maintain good health naturally.

Origin of the camu camu

The Camu-Camu (Myrciaria dubia) is native to the Brazilian Amazon region and usually grows in swamps, around rivers and swamps.

It usually has the base of the trunk under water. In addition, the lower branches spend long periods submerged during the rainy season.

The plants that give rise to this fruit grow very easily in the Amazon rainforest. It is in regions of Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela where it is common to see its cultivation. Its use is really widespread in these areas.

In Europe it is not a widely used food, although it is constantly growing. These superfoods are becoming more and more popular, thanks to their nutritional properties and the benefits they bring to our health. Therefore, its consumption helps us to prevent certain diseases naturally.

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Camu-Camu cultivation

These fruits are grown mainly in regions of the Amazon where these plants grow optimally. It is Peru one of the leading producers of this fruit.

In 2020, camu-camu exports were destined for the markets of the United States (47%), the European Union (17%), Japan (8%), Canada (7%) and Australia (7%).

How to buy Camu Camu?

It is really difficult to buy this fresh fruit , since it is a berry of tropical origin and its cultivation is focused almost exclusively on Amazonian regions. In Spain we can find it imported in some specialized greengrocers.

In addition, we can also buy it ground into powder from the dried fruit. It is ideal for making different recipes with high antioxidant power , among other benefits for our health.

How do you eat camu camu?

We always recommend eating raw, local and seasonal fruit.  Camu-Camu fruit can be eaten raw and the pulp is slightly acidic and can be somewhat bitter.

It is true that the production is basically concentrated in Amazonian regions, so it is difficult to eat this fresh fruit in other regions.

These fruits are often used to make different recipes and preparations such as juices, ice creams, sweets and sauces.

In addition, it tends to dry naturally and slowly by removing the seeds. Afterwards, it is ground into a dry powder like flour. This flour is used to make different recipes or preparations such as smoothies, yogurts, ice creams or juices with high nutritional power.

Properties of camu camu

It is a superfood and as such, it has excellent nutritional properties.

It is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Therefore, it is a food with high nutritional qualities that are favorable to prevent certain diseases.

Its vitamin C content stands out. These berries can provide us with up to 50 times more of this vitamin than orange .

In addition, it is rich in other nutrients such as iron, riboflavin, niacin or phosphorus.

They also highlight amino acids such as valine, leucine and serine and it is a rich source of potassium, calcium, and beta carotene.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of Camu-Camu

Calories0 kcal
Carbohydrates5,9 g
Protein0,4 g
Total fat0,2 g
Cholesterol0 g
Fiber1,1 g
C vitamin2.280 mg
Football15,7 mg
Copper0,2 mg
Iron0,53 mg
Magnesium12,4 mg
Manganese12,4 mg
Potassium83,8 mg
Sodium11,1 mg
Zinc0,36 mg

Benefits of Camu Camu

It is a very complete food and with many benefits for our health thanks to the large amount of nutrients that it provides us.

In addition, these fruits have been consumed since ancient times by indigenous people and highly valued for their medicinal properties.

Among its main benefits we can highlight the following:

1. Food rich in vitamin C

Camu-Camu is rich in vitamin C. [1]

These foods help strengthen the immune system and promote the formation of collagen thanks to its vitamin C content. In addition, this vitamin makes these foods powerful antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.

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As a consequence, consuming foods rich in vitamin C favors the prevention of oxidative stress that is caused by the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants.

In addition, thanks to its antioxidant power, it is a very important food to maintain radiant and healthy skin.

This food is rarely eaten fresh. However, it is becoming more and more popular to consume it in dried powder as a complement in our recipes. The powder contains more vitamin C per gram than fresh fruit.

2. High antioxidant power

We have talked about the antioxidant power of these foods thanks to vitamin C, but it also has other very powerful antioxidants. These are flavonoids like anthocyanins and ellagic acid. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296744/ [2]

3. Ideal for weight loss diets

Camu-camu is ideal to include in weight loss diets. Some studies show that it can help us reduce weight by increasing the amount of calories burned and activating intestinal bacteria. [2]

4. Favorable for improving blood sugar levels

A scientific study shows that camu-camu can minimize blood glucose spikes after ingesting a large amount of carbohydrates. [3]

5. Antibacterial properties

Research shows that the skin and the seeds of camu-camu slowed down the bacterial growth of bacteria that are harmful to our body. [4]

6. Helps regulate tension

Research has shown that camu-camu can help lower blood pressure by facilitating the dilation of blood vessels. Therefore, it is an optimal food for our circulatory system. [5]

Conclusions

It is likely that these fruits can be somewhat unpleasant to eat because of their acidic and somewhat bitter taste. It can be combined with other superfoods or with other ingredients in purees, juices or smoothies.

Likewise, we can find it in a dried powder that can extend the useful life and has a higher concentration of vitamins because it does not contain water.

Camu camu powder can be added to our recipes for smoothies, salads, yogurts and other preparations with high nutritional power.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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