7 Health Benefits of Camu Camu
Camu camu is a reddish-purple berry often confused with a tomato or an abnormally large grape. The berry is pale yellow or green and turns red or purple as it ripens. It is native to Latin America, but thanks to its increasing popularity, it is commercially available in the United States. And unlike other types of fruits, you cannot eat them raw.
However, people still consume it by including it in juices or with other foods in different forms like powder, pills, and supplements. There is a good reason why people are going to such lengths to consume this fruit. Camu camu is rich in essential nutrients and vitamins that give the fruit its notable healthful properties. Here are a few health benefits of camu camu, its nutritional composition, and ways to include it in your diet.
1. Support Metabolic Health
Many people think metabolic health is associated with a healthy weight range, but it is more complex than that. Metabolic health is not only about the number on the scale but also about having blood glucose levels, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides all within a healthy range, a benchmark set by experts.
If you want to maintain a healthy metabolism, you should consume camu camu. The fruit contains several essential nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium in high quantities that reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels and increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol.
2. Boost Immune Health
Our immune system consists of many organs, cells, and proteins that work together to protect the body from illness and diseases. Our immunity system does a great job at fighting these disease-causing microorganisms thanks to vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts immune health by stimulating the activity of white blood cells.
Despite the importance of vitamin C in the overall health of our immune system, our body does not produce the vitamin on its own. We have to get it from vitamin C-rich foods like camu camu. However, it is worth noting that too much vitamin C in the body can cause problems like diarrhea, nausea, and kidney stones.
3. Fight Free Radicals
Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that damage healthy cells in the body if there is too much. They are produced by a chemical reaction known as oxidation and cause life-threatening diseases like diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
Thankfully, camu camu contains substances that can fight against these free radicals. Camu Camu contains antioxidants, like vitamin C, and flavonoids, like anthocyanins and ellagic acid. These antioxidants protect our cells and tissues from damage caused by free radicals.
4. Promote Eye Health
As we get older, our eyesight gets weaker and we are at risk of developing eye disorders and diseases like macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, etc. To avoid this, some people take lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene supplements while others rely on food like camu camu.
Camu camu is rich in vitamin C and other nutrients that promote eye health. Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen, a structural protein that protects our eyes. As mentioned before, free radicals are also harmful to the body, including the eyes. They can lead to age-related diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration, and our body needs antioxidants that fight these free radicals, which in turn prevents these diseases.
5. Reduce Fatigue
All of us feel tired from time to time, and we usually feel better once we are well-rested. However, sometimes, the feeling of exhaustion does not go away, and this is known as fatigue.
Consuming vitamin C-rich food like camu camu can help manage symptoms of fatigue before visiting a doctor. Although there is limited evidence that camu camu is effective against fatigue, some research shows that the vitamin C in camu camu can reduce fatigue. According to science, one reason for fatigue could be a vitamin C deficiency.
6. Support Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and according to the World Health Organization, almost 18 million people die from these diseases every year. The five most common cardiovascular diseases are heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve complications.
Compounds like vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, and manganese can reduce the risk of certain heart diseases via different mechanisms. Camu Camu is rich in selenium as well as magnesium which supports cardiovascular health, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
7. Increases Iron Absorption
Our body cannot survive without iron, a mineral that our body needs to make red blood cells called hemoglobin. These red blood cells help carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, and myoglobin is a protein that supplies oxygen to the muscles. Thus, iron helps keep our immune system healthy and carries our neurological and biochemical roles.
Like vitamin C, our body cannot make iron, and we have to get it from iron-rich food. We also have to ensure that the iron is being absorbed by the body. If not, it might lead to anemia. To avoid this, we should consume food high in vitamin C, like camu camu, because vitamin C facilitates iron absorption.
Camu Camu Nutrition Facts
According to Style Craze, a 100-gram of camu camu fruit contains:
- Carbohydrate: 4.7 g
- Protein: 0.5 g
- Fat 0.2g
- Total Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
- Sodium: 0g
- Sugar: 0g
- Vitamin C: 2145 mg (3575% of Daily Recommended Value (DV))
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.04 mg
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.01 mg
- Magnesium: 12.38 mg
- Calcium: 27 mg
- Phosphorus: 17 mg
- Potassium: 83.8 milligrams
As you can see, camu camu is super high in vitamin C. Most of the health benefits of this berry can be attributed to its vitamin C content. In fact, It contains even more vitamin C than Barbados cherry and acai, two superfoods with extremely high vitamin C contents.
The fruit also has phytochemicals, minerals, and amino acids like serine, leucine, and valine. It also contains carotenoids like lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. Phytochemicals and carotenoids are antioxidants that protect the body from diseases and illnesses.
Ways To Eat Camu Camu
Unlike most fruits that can be eaten as they are, we cannot eat camu camu as it is. The berry is very sour, making it unpalatable for many people. Thankfully, other forms of camu camu are available, such as juice, purees, pills, and powder. Out of all these, powdered camu camu is the most popular because it is readily available and convenient.
You can easily add powdered camu camu to juices, smoothies, yogurt, cereal, fruit salads, baked goods, oatmeal, and other foods. Experts recommend taking one to three teaspoons of powder per day. Anything more than this dosage may result in too much vitamin C and lead to side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
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