This tiny berry from the forests of Brazil is getting the spotlight for its amazing antioxidant and healing properties.
But is it just another Superfood hype by manufacturers or does this vitamin C powerhouse have any credible benefits?
A plant native to the Amazonian rainforests of Peru and Brazil, it grows on low shrubs and needs ample water. It produces a cherry-like fruit.
Both its fruit and leaves have been used by natives for thousands of years to improve immunity, prevent viral infections, promote oral health and support healthy mind and body functioning.
They are the earth’s most abundant source of vitamin C, with concentrations 30-50 times more than an orange.
One tablespoon of camu camu powder, on average, contains more than 200% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. This sour fruit is also chock-full of potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.
In addition, this fruit contains bioflavonoids and amino acids like valine, leucine and serine.
The high content of vitamin C is very helpful in recovering from the flu, colds and other viral infections like Herpes. Camu Camu also contains antioxidants that exhibit powerful antiviral and antifungal properties. Drinking Camu Camu regularly can boost your immunity and keep you free of infection. It also has amazing healing powers and can help in treating arthritis too, but it has yet to be confirmed by medical studies. Read about more Superfoods that can build your immunity, here.
A study conducted on a group of smokers showed a remarkable decrease in levels of inflammation and oxidative stress.
This vitamin C powerhouse credits its anti-cancer properties to the antioxidant Ellagic Acid. Some early researchers suggest that it can slow the process of tumor growth and also kill cancer cells. More studies are being conducted to credit this as a successful alternative medicine in the treatment of cancer.
Camu camu is also known to elevate one’s mental state and combat depression. There have been reported incidents where consuming Camu Camu has helped wean patients off of prescribed anti-depressants. The vitamin C content helps with improving mood and increasing levels of serotonin in patients within a very short span of time.
Camu Camu is packed with antioxidants like flavonoids, Gallic Acid and Ellagic Acid. Along with vitamin C, these antioxidants help get rid of free radicals and harmful toxins. Diets rich in antioxidants also help in lowering heart ailments and maintain blood pressure.
Improves Eye Health
These berries are touted to not only maintain but improve eye health. Camu Camu is a rich source of anthocyanins and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene consumption can reduce the risk of degenerative vision loss and conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. In addition, the anthocyanins and vitamin C protect and nourish the optic nerves and retinas.
Helps in Skin and Collagen Rejuvenation
Camu Camu can work wonders for your skin with its high vitamin C concentration, which is primarily responsible for collagen production. Collagen is what gives the skin its firmness, elasticity and youthfulness. The breakdown of collagen is responsible for age-related wrinkles, fine lines, and skin sagging. According to a study, vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, plays a dual role as an anti-oxidant by getting rid of harmful toxins and also aiding in the synthesis of collagen, which is vital for the rejuvenation of the skin. Another study also shows that vitamin C can help repair and prevent sun damage. Read about Amazing Superfoods for your skin and hair, here.
A research study shows that the antioxidants found in Camu Camu have a positive effect on the treatment of diabetes. The Ellagic Acid in these tart berries can help control sugar levels in the blood.
Aids in Weight Loss
Clinical evidence suggests that Camu Camu can support healthy weight loss by suppressing appetite, removing toxins and improving the lipid profile. The study conducted on rats for 12 weeks, not only reduced the fat and bad cholesterol, but also improved good cholesterol and the overall health of the rats. But more human studies are needed to confirm the effect. Say bye to your belly fat with these Superfoods, read here.
Ok, so how do I use it?
If you are lucky you will find fresh Camu Camu berries in your local stores. But most likely, you will find it in forms like whole fruit powder, freeze-dried powder, capsules, juice and pulp. Be sure to buy low-temperature processed products as the vitamins are extremely heat-sensitive and can be easily destroyed. The high vitamin C concentration lends it a slightly sour taste, so it tastes best when mixed with juices, smoothies or in desserts. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements allows the maximum limit of vitamin C by an adult to be 2,000 mg a day.
Word of Caution
Though it is considered safe to consume in small quantities, very large doses of vitamin C may cause a variety of negative side effects, including digestive upset and kidney problems. Lack of research studies limits our knowledge of its interactions and side effects. This is why it is always best to talk to your doctor before adding a new supplement to your diet.