Put down your vitamin C supplement and consider giving camu camu a try.
The name is likely and understandably unfamiliar, as this fruit is currently hard to come by in North American grocery markets or health food stores, as it originates from a few select South American countries. However, camu camu powders are increasing in popularity as supplements that can have a big impact on your health.
Camu camu is a shrub that grows in flooded areas of the Amazonian rainforest, primarily in Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. The berries of the camu camu shrub are roughly the same size as lemons, but there are a lot of health benefits packed into these small fruits. In fact, both the fruit and the leaves of the camu camu shrub have been used for medicinal purposes.
Camu Camu Nutritional Benefits
Camu camu is loaded with nutrition, full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, which makes them a superfood. It contains a high amount of manganese, as well as some copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc. Camu camu also has several essential amino acids that we can only get through food, since our bodies cannot produce these amino acids on their own. These amino acids include valine and leucine. Finally, camu camu is full of flavonoids, gallic acid, and ellagic acid, all of which act as antioxidants in the body, helping fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
|Mineral||Camu Camu (100 g)|
|Manganese||2.1 mg (106% of daily value)|
|Copper||0.2 mg (10% of daily value)|
|Magnesium||12.4 mg (3% of daily value)|
|Iron||0.5 mg (3% of daily value)|
Camu Camu’s Vitamin C Content
However, what camu camu is really known for is its vitamin C content. Camu camu has more vitamin C than any other food on the planet, even more than the mighty orange. One serving of camu camu has 60 times the amount of vitamin C found in a single orange; this translates to 3,575% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C for every 100 grams of camu camu. Even just a tablespoon of camu camu powder can give you way more vitamin C you need for the day. Many of the health benefits of camu camu come from this extraordinarily high amount of vitamin C, and many people use camu camu powder instead of a regular vitamin C supplement.
6 Camu Camu Health Benefits
Eating a small amount of this superfood daily may yield several major camu camu powder benefits, as a result of its incredibly high vitamin C content as well as its other nutrients. It should, however, be noted that many of these effects are still being researched.
1. Boosts Immune System
The high vitamin C content of camu camu can have a huge effect on the immune system. Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for boosting immune function, and it aids in fighting pathogens and oxidative stress.
2. Improves Mood and Mental Health
Camu camu also has mental health benefits. In fact, well-known nutritionist Gary Hull considers camu camu the second-most effective food for mood-balancing. People suffering from depression can have low levels of serotonin, and vitamin C actually helps the brain produce greater amounts of it, which can improve mood and fight depression. One study published in the journal Nutrition in 2010 found that camu camu was effective for combating depression in acutely hospitalized people with vitamin C deficiencies.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Since camu camu contains antioxidants, it can help fight against inflammation and free radicals. Many health conditions cause inflammation in our body, which can worsen existing problems and lead to serious damage. Camu camu may be effective in fighting gingivitis and gum disease due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and may also help fight other inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
4. Improves Liver Health
One of camu camu’s biggest health benefits is improving liver health. Vitamin C is known to be helpful for helping with cirrhosis and other liver problems. As well, camu camu contains antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other active compounds that can improve the function of the liver and protect against liver disease.
5. Anti-Viral Properties
One of the medicinal purposes that camu camu is often used for is for fighting viral infections. Everything from the common cold to the herpes virus to shingles can potentially benefit from camu camu, which contains many anti-viral properties. Camu camu can help people recover from colds faster, and while it cannot cure herpes or other permanent viral conditions, it can help with managing the symptoms of these conditions.
With camu camu’s anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also believed that this superfood may have anti-aging benefits. Inflammation can speed up the aging process and contributes to many age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and arthritis. By reducing the inflammation of these conditions, camu camu can help slow aging and keep us in better health as we get older.
Camu Camu Skin Benefits
The vitamin C content of camu camu can have many benefits when eaten, but there are also topical applications. Many different types of skin creams now use vitamin C, as it can help brighten skin and improve the health and look of damaged skin. And since camu camu is loaded with antioxidants, it can help fight the skin damage that leads to wrinkles, creases, and fine lines. Camu camu may be particularly effective in fighting ultraviolet skin damage from the sun. You can apply camu camu powder to sunburned or deeply tanned areas of the skin to help speed up the healing process. Some people also use camu camu face masks to improve the appearance of the skin on their face and to fight aging.
Camu Camu Side Effects
Despite the potential health benefits of camu camu because of its high vitamin C content, that same vitamin C can lead to some side effects. High doses of vitamin C can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Taking too much vitamin C may be particularly bad for people with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, as it can worsen diarrhea. Excess vitamin C can also have a negative impact on people who suffer with ulcers. Camu camu may also interfere with chemotherapy medication, so it’s advised that you always speak with your physician about taking camu camu if you are undergoing cancer treatment.
Camu Camu Powder Uses
Before you start adding it to your diet, you may be wondering, “What does camu camu taste like?” Well, camu camu is actually incredibly sour. While some people enjoy this taste, it can be off-putting for others, and this is why camu camu is often used as a powder, which reduces the sour taste. You can add the powder to a number of other foods to add flavor, such as cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, and some desserts. It can be harder to find the powder, but camu camu juice is also available. The juice may taste somewhat similar to acai berry juice.
Camu camu is loaded with vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients. It’s one of the healthiest superfoods available, and has more vitamin C than any other food in the world. Strengthening your immune system, fighting aging, and reducing inflammation are just some of its potential health benefits. So if you want to enjoy camu camu, pick up some powder and start adding more of this amazing superfood to your diet!
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