Give your body an antioxidant and vitamin C boost with camu camu – a newcomer to the superfood list.

The camu camu fruit is being used more and more all over the world, and is especially popular in Japan.

These berries, and their extracts, are known for their exceptionally high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. They’re also often used for their purported anti-inflammatory properties.

History and background

The camu camu bush (Myrcaria dubia) grows in the Amazon rainforests, mainly in Brazil and Peru.

The bush produces a dark red berry, which is known by the same name as the bush. The leaves of this bush are also used for medicinal purposes. It’s a thirsty shrub, which is why it’s often found next to rivers or lakes.

Camu camu berries are very nutrient-rich and are mainly known for their extraordinarily high vitamin C content. In fact, 100g of these berries can contain as much as 2.3g of this vitamin. They also contain phytochemicals, amino acids and many minerals, of which potassium and magnesium top the list.

Because of their sour taste, even in times gone by, people living in the areas in which this shrub grew, seldom ate these berries in their natural state. Camu camu has been used for hundreds of years and, according to traditional beliefs, has a variety of medicinal benefits.

During the 1950s, Peruvian state officials conducted an analysis of the fruit. They discovered its high vitamin C content, and the popularity and reputation of these berries steadily grew.

The health benefits of Camu Camu

The extent of claims for the health benefits of camu camu are yet to be confirmed, but many people believe it to be effective in treating the following:

    • Herpes simplex

    • Cold sores

    • Common cold

    • Asthma

    • Atherosclerosis

    • Gingivitis

    • Skin care

How to include it in your diet

The sour taste of the berries makes it difficult to eat them in their raw state. For this reasons, camu camu is available in capsules, powder and, in some countries, as juice.

In the countries where this shrub originates, people traditionally make jams and jellies and desserts from this berry. If you don’t want to go to so much trouble, you can simply mix the raw powder into a smoothie, or into porridge or yoghurt.

NOTE: It’s best to consult your doctor or dietician before taking camu camu, as it may interfere with any current medications you may be taking.

- Chrinos, R., Galarza J. et al. Antioxidant compounds and antioxidant capacity of Peruvian camu camu (Myrciaria dubia (H.B.K.) McVaugh) fruit at different maturity stages. Volume 120, Issue 4, 15 June 2010, Pages 1019–1024.

Image via Thinkstock.

This post is sponsored by Bioglan Superfoods

Bioglan Superfoods Camu Powder has a mild tangy citrus flavour, and can be added to juices, smoothies, baking, yoghurt or desserts. For more great recipe ideas, check out these delicious Bioglan Superfood Recipes:

>> Mango & Camu Frozen Yoghurt

>> Camu & Mustard Dressing for Steamed Vegetables 

 The complete range of Bioglan Superfoods is available at the Health365 Shop.