Modest looking and very, very sour, that is what briefly describes this small tropical fruit from Amazonia, mostly in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Many consider this fruit to be one of the superfoods or rather superfruits due to its very high vitamin C content, up until recently it was thought to be the richest source of vitamin C from the plant kingdom, until our very own Kakadu Plum or in native language Gubinge came along, but lets get back to Camu Camu as it is still pretty funky way to up your vitamin C intake.
Camu Camu plant originates from Amazonian rain forest, especially from low lying swampy areas near the river bank. It is a bush tree that can take years to mature and produce fruit. Its sour taste is reason why is it not consumed whole and fresh, but traditionally has been used for many years by native people mostly in the form of juices. As it is and astringent (draws tissue together and stops bleeding), they used the bark from the bush to help to heal wounds.
Vitamin C is very likely the most underestimated vitamin. These days one would hope that most of as are well aware of its importance in our body, vitamins are called essential nutrients for a very good reason. But how many of us actually make sure to get more than enough of this super important vitamin? These days it should be pretty easy to obtain vitamin C through balanced diet that includes plenty of raw veggies and fruit, but the truth is most of us don’t even get the minimal servings of fruit and veggies and once we cook it the vitamin C content is lost due to processing as it is very unstable to light and heat. This is why supplementation with vitamin C that comes from plant source and is highly bio-available to our body is so important.
Camu Camu also offers reasonable amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium (major minerals), iron, phosphorus, amino acids, serine, valine and leucine, which play indispensable role in stimulating brain and enhancing mental function, it provides vitamin B1, B2 and B3 as well. It has also high amount of phytochemicals anthocyanins, which are type of flavonoid, they offer antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. They are pigments that occur in many fruits, vegetables and even legumes and are responsible for their color.
Vitamin C is absolutely crucial for production of collagen, which is a protein that is found everywhere around the body, especially super important for skin, blood vessels, bones, tendons and ligaments, gut and even in the cornea of the eyes. It is vital in providing the elasticity and strength not only to our skin but also to our blood vessels, which is vital for healthy cardiovascular system. This water soluble vitamin is also indispensable in immune system support, synthesis of hormones, transfer of energy into the cells as well as providing an antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity. As you can see there is plenty of good reasons why we should include decent amount of vitamin C in our everyday routine. And why not to try Camu Camu? It has abundance of this vitamin and the content of phytochemicals present in the fruit enhances the bio -availability of vitamin C and its utilization by the body, which makes it superior to any synthetic vitamin C.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAMU CAMU
It may surprise you just how many health benefits this modest but nutrients rich fruit provides.
- boosts the immune system
- due to high levels of available vitamin C, guards against viral and bacterial infection as well as provide anti-histamine activity and relieve allergy symptoms
- supports healthy and strong ligaments and tendons, as it provides nutrients for production and sufficient stores of collagen in the body
- promotes eye health, prevents loss of vision and eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration by providing body with phytochemical beta carotene, which is pigment that provides vegetables and fruit with yellow and orange colour, it converts in the body into vitamin A, which is important in eye and immune health, it also provides antioxidant activity and protects body from oxidative stress
- synergistic content of nutrients in camu camu can slow down degenerative brain conditions, as they prevent build up of plaque in the brain that can lead to conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia
- high vitamin C levels protects gums from gingivitis, periodontal disease
- antioxidant activity prevents genetic mutation within the cell, due to recent studies this is due to ellagic acid, which is potent antioxidant (other fruits that offer high amounts are raspberries, pomegranates, walnuts, blackberries and grapes)
- hepatoprotective, supports liver function and prevents liver damage
- high amounts of vitamin C and high levels of phytochemicals gives camu camu strong antioxidant activity, protecting cells from free radical damage that occur in our body constantly due to environmental factors and chemical reactions and processes within our body, antioxidants are also natural anti-inflammatory, inflammation is a result of oxidative stress (free radical damage), for example free radicals cause inflammation of the arteries, which causes cardiovascular disease
- very beneficial for smokers as they require at least 35mg more per day than non-smokers
- supports the nervous system function (it is safe to take while on prescription antidepressants), it contains amino acid serine, which is present in myelin sheaths, which are fat like insulating sheaths that protect the nerve fiber, serine is also necessary for production of tryptophan ( amino acid), which is important in producing serotonin (mood determining chemical)
- contains essential amino acid valine, which calms nerves and promotes mental vigor
- leucine is another essential amino acid that is used by body to stimulate skeletal muscle synthesis and slows muscle degradation
- helps to absorb iron and prevent iron deficiencies
- maintains optimal health when body is under stress and anxiety as both of these significantly deplete the immune system
As you can see this little treasure from Amazonian Rainforest seems to be a factory for many health benefits. Regular use can prevent chronic inflammatory diseases, positively influence mood, enhance mental clarity and benefit vision. It helps to resist disease and improve wellness. It is really not difficult to include it in everyday health regime. We add it daily into our fresh juices, or if running late just mix it in the glass of water. We add it also to our smoothies, whenever we make one. I always look for fair tried and organic, usually get Loving Earth Camu Camu powder. As vitamin C is very sensitive to light and heat it is important not to heat it and try not to store it for more than 12 months to preserve the vitamin C content.
HOW TO HAVE IT
Try this simple and fast to make smoothies with added camu camu. All you need is blender and your favorite fruits, veggies, nut milk or even coconut yogurt and some of the superfoods powders.
Immune Uplift Smoothie
- 3 kiwi fruits
- 1 large or 2 small papayas
- 1/2 pineapple
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
- 1-2 Tsp camu camu
Blend all together and enjoy! You can definitely experiment and add what you think would be pleasing to your pallet. We often add chia seeds as they are tasteless but have lots of fiber.
Healthy Kick Smoothie
- 2 frozen bananas (can be fresh if frozen not available)
- 1/2-1 cup of frozen berries, can be mixed or whatever you can get your hands on
- 2-3 Tbls hemp protein (if you like you can use rice or peas protein, if using these best in vanilla flavour)
- 2 Tsp camu camu
- 1-2 cups almond or any other non dairy milk or coconut water (I don’t like to use soy milk), this is optional
- handful of spinach or kale for extra nutrients (optional)
Enjoy the goodness of camu camu.