Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a typical fruit from the Amazon region that has a high vitamin C content, and is one of the exotic fruits with the highest concentration of this nutrient. It is found mainly in the southern countries of the American continent and has excellent organoleptic characteristics.
It’s important to bear in mind that very different types of fruit can be found on different continents. Thanks to logistical advances, it’s now possible to purchase them almost anywhere on the planet.
Having said that, it’s always best to go to the country of origin to enjoy an authentic flavor. In any case, when they’re marketed frozen, the taste is usually good too.
Nutritional Value of Camu Camu
From a nutritional point of view, camu camu is a very low-energy fruit. It provides only 24 calories per 100 grams (4 oz.) of pulp, since most of it is water.
As far as macronutrients are concerned, simple sugars are the main ones, with 4 grams per 100 grams of fruit. Even so, thanks to its fiber content, there won’t be excessive elevations in blood glucose levels.
The best part comes when we analyze the micronutrients. 100 grams (4 oz.) of camu camu provide a high amount of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. In fact, the daily requirements of this substance are more than covered with 20 grams (nearly 1 oz.) of the fruit.
To all this, we must add the antioxidants in the form of polyphenols. We’re talking about compounds that can neutralize the formation of free radicals, generating health benefits.
Above all, anthocyanins stand out, which are also characteristic of blueberries, blackberries, and eggplants. These compounds have been shown to reduce the incidence of neurodegenerative pathologies.
They also contain tannins, anti-inflammatory compounds also typical of grapes. They are efficient in protecting against alterations in the cardiovascular system, as evidenced by research published in the journal Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry.
Health Benefits of Camu Camu
First of all, it should be noted that camu camu is a very positive fruit for the immune system. This is due to the presence of vitamin C.
This nutrient stimulates the innate and adaptive lines of defense, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients. As a result, the body becomes less susceptible to virus infections. Vitamin C is also essential for enhancing the absorption of iron, a mineral that isn’t readily available and whose deficiency leads to anemia.
The antioxidants in this food may help to delay the aging process and the development of many related pathologies. It is important, for this purpose, to ensure the presence of vegetables in the daily diet. Especially exotic fruits, which can provide many polyphenols.
The benefits of fiber should also be mentioned. It not only reduces constipation, but also acts as an energetic substrate for the bacteria that live in the digestive tract. Thanks to it, the density of the microbiota is improved, which is key to optimizing the digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Camu camu and obesity
In this regard, some research is promising. Although conducted on animals, it seems that camu camu has the ability to modify microbiota for the better.
This modification would increase energy expenditure in organisms and reduce the accumulation of lipids in internal organs. Both functions are essential in a weight loss plan.
However, the results are incipient and need to be corroborated in humans. At the moment, it can’t be considered, by itself, a fruit for weight loss.
However, in a secondary way, researchers affirm that it can reduce the presence of complex pathologies associated with obesity. This would be achieved, above all, by its concentration of antioxidants.
How to consume it?
Camu camu can be consumed fresh or in the form of juice. A simple way to prepare it is to dissolve 50 grams (about 2 oz) of pulp in a liter of water and then whisk it all together.
It’s also possible to find the food itself in powder or tablet form. This presentation facilitates its inclusion in different shakes or smoothies.
One of the best sources of vitamin C
Camu camu is one of the best sources of vitamin C that you can include in your diet. It isn’t common in all countries, but, thanks to technology, it’s increasingly marketed in more and more different places.
You can always resort to frozen or powdered versions, which retain much of the benefits. It’s a more concentrated option, so be careful not to overdo it.
So, if you want to boost the vitamin C intake in your diet, don’t hesitate to seek out camu camu in the format that’s best for you. You can also find it under other names, such as carnu carnu.