About the Camu-Camu
If you’re someone with an interest in exotic fruits, you might have come across the camu-camu fruit. However, it’s not as well known in the western world as it is in Asia. The camu-camu fruit is especially popular in Japan, where it’s believed to fight depression and improve mood, increase energy levels and also have a number of other potential health benefits.
With various forms of camu-camu fruit now being available online, it’s never been easier to sample this superfood for yourself and see how it can boost your immune system, fight free radicals and give your mental health a boost too.
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The fruit of the camu camu plant is mainly grown in the Amazon rainforest across Peru and Brazil. The latin name of the bush is the myrciaria dubia, and it’s evergreen. The fruit itself is maroon or purple, almost black, when fully ripe. It’s a round fruit that grows to around 25mm in diameter and has a flesh that is more sour or tart than sweet, similar to some citrus fruits.
Camu Camu Health Benefits
There are a number of potential health benefits to camu camu fruit. It’s considered a superfood because of the high number of nutrients it contains, including vitamin C. In fact, of all fruits, camu camu has one of the highest vitamin C levels – around 2-3% of the entire fruit is the vitamin.
Vitamin c plays a number of important roles in the body. It can boost your immune system and strengthen your bones and muscles, as it’s a key nutrient in the production of natural collagen. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect your cells from free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress – when free radicals outnumber the antioxidants in your body – has been linked to conditions around diabetes, heart problems and even some cancers. Camu camu can lower your risk of cancers and other serious illnesses.
And that’s not just because of the vitamin C. Camu camu also contains flavonoids such as anthocyanins and ellagic acid, other antioxidants that can help improve your physical health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
It’s worth noting as well that, while natural camu camu contains up to 3% vitamin C, it’s rarely eaten as a fresh fruit due to the strong sour taste. Normally most people eat camu camu capsules or add camu camu powder to a smoothie. Since the powder has all the water removed from the fruit, it’s actually even richer in vitamin C.
Another benefit of the high amounts of vitamin C is the production of serotonin in the brain, a natural mood enhancer that can help anyone suffering from depression or low moods. Eating nutrient-rich foods like camu camu helps promote healthier brain activity, fighting mood disorders.
How Camu Camu Benefits Hair:
Camu camu can strengthen your hair and fight some of the causes of hair loss:
1. It improves collagen production, giving you stronger hair
2. Applying camu camu oil to your scalp strengthens the skin and promotes hair growth
3. Vitamin C can fight illnesses which can cause hair loss
4. It boosts serotonin production, reducing depression and stress which can have hair loss side effects
How Camu Camu Benefits Skin:
Camu camu can also benefit your skin in a number of ways:
· The boost to collagen production caused by camu camu’s Vitamin C can soften skin, reducing wrinkles
· Camu camu oil applied to the scalp can fight bacteria and fight dandruff and skin flakes
· Camu camu contains niacin, which alongside vitamin C can fight discoloration caused by sun damage or acne
· It improves skin tone by helping remove more dried out, dead skin
Camu Camu Side Effects:
Generally, camu camu is a healthy fruit, but as with any nutrient-rich food there are potential side effects if you eat too much.
One teaspoon of camu camu powder contains around 760% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C – and around a third of the tolerable upper limit. So, three teaspoons would be unsafe, potentially risking nausea and diarrhea.
Vitamin C also encourages iron absorption from foods. Anyone who has a condition related to iron overload, such as hemochromatosis, may need to avoid camu camu fruit to ensure they don’t take in too much iron and trigger their condition.
And with any superfood, it’s always worth consulting a healthcare professional if you’re on medication before taking supplements or concentrated powders, to ensure there won’t be any problems.
Camu Camu Juice:
Some people prefer to buy camu camu juice over the powdered form of the fruit, although that’s still a rare find in North America. It still has the sour taste of the fresh fruit, so it’s not for everyone. But if you don’t mind sharp citrus fruits, then you may enjoy it. It may be a good idea to mix it with other, sweeter fruits to soften the tart flavor.
A study was conducted on smokers who had advanced oxidative stress in 2008, to determine the antioxidant qualities of camu camu juice. A control group was fed 1050mg tablets of vitamin C, while the test group were given 70ml (around 2.5oz) of camu camu juice, which contained the equivalent 1050mg of the vitamin.
The test group given camu camu juice showed a considerable reduction in oxidative stress, with little to no change in the group only taking the vitamin tablets, which shows just how effective camu camu fruit can be.
The Best Camu Camu Amazon Products:
When you’re shopping for camu camu products online, you won’t be able to buy the fresh fruit in the west. Instead you’ll need to look at capsules or powder.
I’ve reviewed Navitas Naturals Camu Camu powder before – you can read that here or buy the powder from Amazon here.
The powder is a fantastic supplement that can be added to smoothies, or you might prefer to dust it on top of your granola, yogurt or desserts. You can also add it to water if you want to drink it, or add it to sauces.
If you would prefer to avoid the flavor and just get the benefit, consider camu camu capsules. This 120-pack from Mother Nature is completely organic and vegan, and with a recommended dose of two capsules a day will last you two months.
Purchase on Amazon.
Camu camu is a rainforest superfood that is absolutely packed with antioxidant benefits. Introducing this fruit into your diet can do wonders for your physical and mental health alongside a healthy diet, boosting your immune system and your mood.