Camu Camu: The Superfood With Benefits
Kroma Wellness is all about giving you easy, attainable options to boost your health and wellness, and we love camu camu as a perfect ingredient to support those goals.
Like many superfoods on the market, camu camu is unpretentious. It has been around for thousands of years, and it thrives in difficult conditions. This little fruit has long been used for immune support by people native to the Amazon rainforest. Camu camu may be small, but it packs a big health punch.
There is a lot to understand about camu camu. Learning what makes this little fruit a superfood explains why there are so many health benefits. Plus, we’ll also give you ways to easily add camu camu into your everyday health routine.
What Is Camu Camu?
Camu camu is a shrub native to the Amazon rainforest, specifically in the swampy areas or flooded river beds of Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Venezuela. This plant produces berries about the size of a grape, with a look reminiscent to a cranberry with added yellow tones.
The whole fruit can be consumed, including the pulp, skin, and seeds. Many cultures have been using this fruit for healing remedies for hundreds of years. We are just beginning to learn all this berry has to offer.
Why Is Camu Camu a Superfood?
Camu camu is packed full of antioxidant vitamin C, making it an unbelievable superfood. Besides being high in vitamin C, camu camu is full of other valuable nutrients such as manganese, zinc, copper, and iron. These nutrients come from the whole fruit, skin, and seeds.
High in Vitamin C
Gone are the days where we only know that vitamin C benefits the immune system (which of course are extensive). Now we know that vitamin C can help fight oxidative stress, support heart health, and assist in weight loss efforts, making camu camu a perfect superfood. This fruit has one of the highest levels of vitamin C compared to other fruits.
Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your cells against free radicals and can help prevent and repair cell damage. As it turns out, vitamin C is an antioxidant, making camu camu helpful in fighting those free radicals. Antioxidants also help in rejuvenating your skin giving it that youthful glow.
Packed with Nutrients
Not only is camu camu full of the antioxidant vitamin C, but it also contains manganese, zinc, copper and iron among other nutrients. These nutrients can help our bone, organ, and heart health. No wonder this little berry has been used for so long — camu camu packs a big punch.
What Are the Benefits of Camu Camu?
The benefits of camu camu are extensive, from weight loss to fighting free radicals, and the research about this fruit is still ongoing. People in the Amazon rainforest have been using the berry for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for its health benefits.
Here are a few ways adding this fruit can support your overall health:
Fights Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals
Without a full chemistry lesson, free radicals are molecules with uneven electrons, created naturally when you metabolize food, or if you are exposed to radiation, tobacco, or other toxins. Free radicals create oxidative stress which can cause a host of adverse health related symptoms.
By giving up some of their electrons without becoming free radicals themselves, antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Because camu camu is loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant, it naturally protects against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Helps Support Heart Health
One nutrient camu camu has is fiber. Fiber has been shown to help support healthy cholesterol levels, benefiting a healthy heart. Antioxidants in camu camu are also great for maintaining a healthy heart.
Can Support Weight Loss Efforts
According to some studies, camu camu can support weight loss by boosting metabolism and helping to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome is full of good gut bacteria. Certain bacteria are shown to better break down food, allowing your body to absorb more nutrients and metabolize more efficiently.
Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure Levels
Research has shown that the camu camu berry can support healthy blood sugar levels. There is also data that suggest camu camu assists in the dilation of the blood vessels, helping to maintain healthy blood pressure levels, too.
What Does Camu Camu Taste Like?
Most camu camu is sold in powder form. The biggest reason? That little berry is very sour. Unless they are native to the area where this fruit naturally grows, people don't generally eat the camu camu in its natural state.
How Can I Prepare Camu Camu?
Camu camu powder, like the fruit itself, has a tart flavor, but is easy to mix into different things like smoothies or nut-milk blends. Don’t add it to hot dishes though — you may lose some of the nutrients with heat.
At Kroma Wellness, we love creating simple ways to add functional superfood nutrition into our lives.
Here are some of our favorite ways to add camu camu into our diets:
Smoothies are always a great way to add in extra nutrients. Adding camu camu to your smoothie will add a little tart flavor, but not overpower other ingredients. Berry or citrus smoothies really pop with camu camu.
There really cannot be an easier way to make oatmeal. By mixing a milk of your choice and oats in a mason jar and putting it in the fridge overnight, you will have delicious “oatmeal” in the morning.
To make overnight oats really sing, you can add in any flavors you want before you let your oats marry overnight. Apple cinnamon, lemon ginger, even chocolate are great flavoring options, just don't forget to add in your camu camu powder.
Before you eat your overnight oats, top them with fresh fruit for added texture. In the morning you will have a nutrient-rich, satisfying breakfast that will give you the energy needed to get through the day.
Instead of buying heavily sweetened granola, making your own muesli is a great way to cut out sugar and add in healthy grains, seeds, nuts, and fruit. Muesli is made by mixing oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Toasting your nuts and oats will give your muesli a more robust flavor. Once toasted and cooled add in your dried fruits. This can include coconut, cherries, apricots, or raisins. This is the point where you would add in your camu camu powder. Mix it all together and put it into an airtight container, and you will have a breakfast or snack ready to go. You can put muesli over yogurt, mix it in cold milk, or you can even use this mixture for overnight oats.
Adding camu camu powder to non-dairy yogurt will add a tart pop to overly sweetened store-bought yogurts. If you choose to buy plain yogurt, adding your own flavoring allows you to customize to your own taste and manage the sugar levels. Camu camu pairs great with mango, berries, and cherries, enhancing their sweet and tart flavor. Once your camu camu yogurt is made, top it with your homemade muesli.
Making salad dressing is so satisfying. Watching the oil and vinegar create an emulsion together for a luscious dressing never gets old. Try adding camu camu to your favorite dressing recipe and see if it plays well.
You do not need to add a lot here, maybe start with half a teaspoon and go from there. You can use camu camu in a nut-based dressing, raspberry vinaigrette, even a ginger dressing would work great with camu camu.
This unassuming fruit from the riverbeds and swampy areas of the Amazon has rightfully earned its title of superfood.
Camu camu is a small berry that packs a big dose of health. The wealth of antioxidant vitamin C in even one berry can support and maintain your overall wellness, not to mention the additional nutrients like manganese and zinc. Camu camu has been shown to fight oxidative stress from free radicals, support heart health, aid in weight loss, and maintain healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Although you may not want to eat the berry itself with its very extreme tart flavor, the powder has all the same health benefits and is easy to add to some of your favorite recipes. Adding it to your daily smoothie or yogurt is an easy way to include camu camu. You can also incorporate camu camu into overnight oats, muesli, or salad dressings. Play with flavor profiles to see where camu camu works best for you, but a starting point would be berries, mango, citrus, or cherry.
Kroma Wellness is focused on a lifestyle of wellness and well-being, bringing superfoods to you in a convenient, enjoyable way. We are learning about new superfoods every day, and camu camu has definitely earned its place on the superfood pedestal.