A new super fruit called camu camu berry, from the Amazon rain forests (Peru and Brazil) is becoming the talk of the town nowadays. It is also known locally as rumberry or guavaberry / guayabo / guayabato or cacari
The high content of vitamin C along with its antioxidant properties has made this fruit more and more popular as an effective health supplement. In fact a camu camu berry is considered to be the highest source of natural vitamin C when compared to any other type of foods. These berries grow in the camu camu tree which is scientifically known as Myrciaria dubia. These trees are actually shrubs growing mostly along riversides and bears red or purple colored berries that are about the size of a lemon. A camu camu berry is very sour in taste and hence is usually sweetened and consumed in the form of juices, jams, or jellies rather than eaten raw. It is also available in capsule and powder form.
The camu camu berries are harvested during the rainy season (between November and March) when the berries become ripe. People travel in boats to where the berries grow, handpick them and keep them freezers or coolers. The reason why these berries have to be kept in cold temperatures is that they are likely to deteriorate easily before they even reach the destination. At the processing plant, the camu camu berries are either frozen or flash frozen. After that their skin is removed, and the berries are liquefied and subjected to spray drying. They are then made into a powder or converted into supplements.
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Nutritional value of camu camu berry
As mentioned earlier, camu camu berry holds the highest amount of vitamin C than any other foods available on the earth. It is also a rich source of antioxidants, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals including protein, bioflavonoids, riboflavin, natural ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, niacin, leucine, thiamin, valine, serine, d-limonene, alpha-pinene, calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus.
Health benefits of camu camu berry
Although the camu camu berry is not a familiar fruit to all parts of the world, its nutritional value and the health benefits it offers makes it a super food worth including in your diet. Given below are a few of the health benefits provided by this small berry.
Camu camu berry is strong antioxidant
Presence of large quantities of vitamin C makes it rich antioxidant. It helps remove toxic free radicals from the body, which damages body cells. It thus protects body organs from oxidative stress of these radicals and reduces risk of diseases. Studies also reveal presence of phytochemicals like Ellagic acid derivatives, ellagitannins, proanthocyanidins and other phenolics which has strong antioxidant properties.
Camu camu berry has powerful anti-inflammatory properties
The abundance of vitamin C in camu camu berry makes it a potential anti-inflammatory agent. Chronic inflammation can sometimes lead to serious conditions like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Cardiology, suggests that this fruit improved the oxidative stress levels and inflammation by reducing the levels of oxidative stress markers. Camu camu berry helps to lower inflammation and relieve the pain caused by arthritis.
Camu camu berry fights virus
The high amounts of phytonutrients in camu camu berry are found to have the power to destroy the herpes virus. South Americans have been using camu camu berry to treating Shingles and Eppstein-Barr viruses as well.
Camu camu berry against depression
Camu camu berry is an excellent anti-depressant. The vitamin C present in this berry provides nutrition to the brain and balances your mood by lowering the level of stress hormones and increasing the level of serotonin.
Camu camu berry reduces plaque in arteries
Plaque accumulation in your arteries is a serious condition that can lead to heart diseases and heart attacks. It can also help in preventing the building up of plaque in the arteries, thereby protecting against atherosclerosis.
Camu camu berry promotes eye health
Although most fruits do a great job in promoting the health of your eyes, camu camu berry is exceptionally good, given the high levels of vitamin C in it. It helps to increase vision and also protects the nerves of the eyes and retina. Camu camu berry is found to guard against eye diseases associated with age, like macular degeneration and cataract.
Camu camu berry treats gingivitis
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection, which if not treated in time may cause damage of the tissues around the teeth and ultimately lead to the loss of your tooth. Camu camu berry is found to fight this condition and is hence an effective anti-gingivitic.
Prevent diabetes with camu camu berry
In 2010, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study that suggested the importance of camu camu berries in preventing diabetes. According to this study, camu camu berry contains a flavonoid called ellagic acid that has anti-diabetic properties. Moreover, these berries have a low glycemic index which means that they do not create considerable changes in the blood sugar levels. As such, they can be safely included in the diet of a diabetic patient.
Camu camu berry and weight loss
Camu camu berry is rich in fiber content, low in calories and low in fat. Incorporating these berries in your diet ensures that you get the essential nutrients and at the same time maintain a healthy weight. The fiber in this fruit controls your appetite by making you feel full for a long time. This prevents overeating, which is very important when you are trying to lose weight.
Camu camu berry protects against cancer
The high level of vitamin C and antioxidants present in the camu camu berry prevents the damages caused to the cells of body by the free radicals. By preventing the oxidation to cells, this berry helps in preventing killer diseases like cancer. Camu camu berry is also found to have the power to prevent genetic mutations that may lead to cancer.
Camu camu berry improves brain function
This amazing berry has been found to be highly beneficial to your nervous system. It has the power to prevent oxidative damage to the brain cells and protect you from neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Camu camu berry and skin health
Camu camu berry helps you to have a clear, smooth and radiant looking skin. It protects your skin from the damages caused by free radicals and hence prevents early aging. It enhances the level of collagen which helps to increase the elasticity of your skin. Vitamin C is also known to reduce melanin in skin and thus has skin lightening effect. Camu camu berry helps protect skin from damage of sunlight. As an antioxidant it protects skin from aging. Camu camu powder today finds its use in various cosmetic preparations. Mix camu camu powder with some honey to make a homemade powerful camu camu berry facial mask.
Camu camu berry strengthens your immune system
The high amount of nutrients in camu camu berry makes it extremely beneficial for your immune system. This fruit is rich in vitamin C which plays a vital role in strengthening your immune system. Camu camu berry has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties that protect you from colds, flu and other viral infections. Studies suggest that camu-camu seed extract contains betulinic acid which helps in prevention of immune related diseases.
Camu camu berry lowers blood pressure
If you are someone who suffers from high blood pressure, try taking camu camu berry. It is found this berry can help lower the blood pressure. This reason behind this is attributed to vitamin C and the other nutrients in this fruit, which helps to relax your blood vessels and lower the blood pressure.
Camu camu berry improves muscle tone
Camu camu berry supplies all the essential nutrients needed to improve the functioning and posture of your muscles.
Camu camu berry protects liver
Camu camu berry is very helpful in preventing disorders of the liver such as liver diseases and even liver cancer. That is why this fruit is also termed as anti-hepatitic.
Possible side effects of camu camu berry
- Too much of anything can cause negative effects on your health. Doctors suggest that camu camu berry, when taken in excess can cause digestion problems in some people. This is generally attributed to the acidic nature of the berries. It has been found that too much of this fruit can lead to damage of the lining of your stomach, leading to difficulty in digestion.
- Another side effect associated with camu camu berry is diarrhea. It is recommended that an adult should consume no more that 2000mg of vitamin C per day. When the consumed amount exceeds this required amount, the body tries to eliminate the excess amount by causing diarrhea and frequent urination.
- Camu camu berry can also increase the production of serotonin which in excess may lead to loss of appetite, sleeplessness, nausea and vomiting.
- Excess intake of this berry can also cause rapid heart rate and increase in metabolic activity.
Camu Camu berry recipes
Find below recipe of Easy to make blueberry-orange-banana smoothie with camu camu berry powder. This easy smoothie can be made in no time. The camu camu berry powder added to it provides you with vitamin C and other phytonutrients. Mix Milk – ¾ cup, with Peeled and sliced banana – 1 large, Orange juice – ½ cup, Blueberries (frozen) – ½ cup. To this add Camu powder – ½ teaspoon. After pulsing for a number of times, blend everything until you get a smooth consistency. Pour the smoothie into glasses and enjoy the refreshing taste.
It is a known fact that in order to maintain a healthy body, it is important to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Super foods are the group of food items rich in phytonutrients, which can have amazing effects on your health. Camu camu berry, belonging to this group of super foods is packed with protein, fiber, amino acids, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. It not only boosts your health but also has medicinal properties that help in the treatment and prevention of many diseases.