If you haven’t heard about camu camu, the newcomer to the world’s list of superfood, I bet you’re missing out on lots of the benefits that come with this nutritious food. Camu Camu is probably not among the many fruits you commonly spot at your nearest fruit store.
Its Vitamin C content is 50 times that of oranges and it is still loaded with numerous healthy nutrients including protein, serine, beta-Carotene, thiamin, leucine, valine, niacin, and minerals such as calcium, sodium, copper, potassium, iron, and copper.
It is also loaded with powerful phytochemicals and amino acids, along with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, astringent and emollient properties making it a powerhouse of numerous health benefits.
Camu Camu Plant
Camu Camu (Myrciaria dubia), also known as Camo Camo or Cacari, is a red and green fruit (almost the size of a cherry).
The Camu Camu tree is found growing on the riverbanks in the Amazonian rain forest of Brazil and Peru, making it a common fruit in most parts of Peru, Brazil and other parts of South America but it has now gained worldwide recognition because of its nutritional value.
These low-growing plants produce cherry-sized light orange, green to purplish red fruit with a yellow pulp.
Since the amount of Vitamin C in the fruits starts to reduce as the fruit approaches maturity, which is also the exact time when top flavors emerge, harvesters need to strike a delicate balance between flavor and nutritional benefits.
Camu camu is often used to make sweets and ice cream because of its sour flavor.
Camu Camu could also be dried and packed in powdered form and consumed as a food supplement.
Below are various health benefits of Camu Camu;
1. Excellent Natural Source Of Vitamin C
The Camu Camu berry is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) of any known fruit. In fact, its 3% pure Vitamin-C by weight — 100g of the berries contains about 2.3g of vitamin C. To give a better comparison, that’s about 50 times more vitamin C than typical oranges.
2. A Great Source Of Antioxidants
Being a natural source of vitamin C, Camu Camu berries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they work with our bodies to fight and protect against harmful free radicals. Free radicals often damage our cells making us vulnerable to many diseases such as macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.
3. Fighting Depression
According to Dr. Gary Null, Nutritionist and Researcher, Camu Camu is among the top herbs and super-foods that have been found effective for specific health-promoting properties in regard to specific organ/system problems and weakness.
Camu Camu can provide enough nutritional support for the brain and nervous system for its mood-balancing chemistry. Besides, vitamin c is known to support an increase of serotonin level in the brain, meaning it can help fight depression and relieve mood swings.
Camu Camu has no side-effects, such as gastrointestinal or photo-sensitivity problems, hence it can be taken safely with other pharmaceutical antidepressants to reduce mental anxiety.
4. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Camu Camu has got serine (an amino acid) and enough dietary fiber which works with vitamin c to help in digestion. These three components initiate and accelerate the breakdown of polypeptides and protein which are the main building block of our bodies.
5. Fighting Diabetes
The fruit contains manganese, dietary fiber, ellagic acid and antioxidants that work together to prevent and manage diabetes. Manganese is known to reduce the risk for those who haven’t developed the disease and reducing (managing) complications for those suffering from the disease.
Ellagic acid and antioxidants inhibit the harmful free radical movement in our system, hence managing diabetic symptoms and counteracting the movement of cancer cells. Studies have shown how dietary fiber and ellagic acid work together in helping diabetic patients in regulating (lowering) blood level.
6. Managing Cholesterol Level
Several studies have revealed that the fiber in Camu Camu is very vital when it comes to managing cholesterol levels. Since fiber cannot be broken down, it binds with other unnecessary stuff (such as cholesterol and other indigestible material) in the intestine, so they are expunged from our system.
7. Anti-Aging Properties
Camu Camu contains vitamin c and antioxidants that are related to collagen production, which helps maintain your skin’s elasticity. This makes it a popular addition to most topical anti-aging treatments for blemishes and wrinkles.
8. Boosting Immune System And Improving Overall Health
The Vitamin C and antioxidants combination forms an excellent support for the immune system. Not only do they fight harmful free radicals, but they also offer an additional layer of protection against pathogens and diseases.
For instance, Camu Camu has been found to treat ailments related to body fat and thyroid problems.
9. Improving Vision
This healthy fruit contains carotenoids (an antioxidant) which have the right medicinal properties to improve eye health. This antioxidant is appreciated for its ability to prevent and eliminate oxidative stress in the ocular system, which in return prevents the development of cataracts and macular degeneration, ensuring you see clearly into your old age.
10. Antibacterial And Antiviral Agents
Studies have shown that Camu Camu is enriched with flavonoids and gallic acid, which have great antiviral and antibacterial properties. This gives the fruit some natural antiseptic properties, making it an ideal remedy for fighting viral and bacterial infections such as herpes and diseases caused by E coli. Furthermore, its rich anti-herpetic, phytochemical and antioxidant activity is also vital to boosting antibacterial and antiviral properties.
11. Improving Fertility And Reproductive Health For Both Sexes
Camu Camu helps improve reproductive health in both men and women, ensuring the reproductive system is functioning properly. Its medicinal properties remove harmful toxins that may damage the reproductive system.
Since it helps maintain a healthy reproductive system, studies have revealed that it’s a great remedy for preventing infertility. The studies also found that men who consume this superfood have healthier sperms, while the women remain fertile and less susceptible to cervical, breast and skin cancer.
12. Preventing Cancer
The presence of vitamin c, carotenoids, flavonoids, catechins, anthocyanins, and other potent antioxidants help inhibit cancer-causing free radicals. This makes Camu Camu an effective natural remedy for preventing cancer.
13. Improving Cognitive Ability
Camu Camu contains valine (an essential amino acid that our bodies can’t produce) and antioxidants which help support and maintain the activity of the nervous system. These antioxidants are beneficial in preventing conditions that may lead to degeneration in brain cells, besides improving cognitive ability.
14. Boosting Physical Performance And Improving Muscle Tone
The combination of nutrients in this amazing fruit makes it helpful in boosting general body energy. The nutrients are also beneficial for facilitating the growth, repair, and protection of muscles, because of the improved metabolism and conversion of body-mass into muscles.
15. Aiding In Weight Loss
Vitamin C is known to lower cortisol level, which is directly linked to how our bodies store excess fat. When we reduce cortisol levels, we reduced the amount of fat the body stores, hence leading to weight loss.
Other Benefits Include
Improving liver health, treating gout, improving cardiovascular health, supporting healthy tendons and ligaments, reducing chronic fatigue, clearing cold sores and the common cold, managing asthma and atherosclerosis, maintaining a healthy kidney, and its anti-inflammation property, among other benefits.
Word Of Caution
If you suffer from uric-acid related ailments, such as gout, Camu Camu may exacerbate these ailment’s symptoms. As such, consult your health care provider before including Camu Camu in your diet.
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