Camu camu is an Amazon native berry that resembles a cherry. It has increasing popularity worldwide because of several health benefits it offers. From being a superfood to potentially helping you improve your skin health because of its rich vitamin C content, camu camu may be worth considering to include in your diet.
Learn more about camu camu, its health benefits, and associated risks in this article.
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Camu Camu: A Berry Superfood
Camu camu also known as Myrciaria dubia, is a sour berry similar to a cranberry that is too acidic in its natural state. This is also why people use camu camu berries as part of their juice, and smoothies, freeze-dried into a powder form and blended into other foods.
Considered a superfood, camu camu provides a high content of nutrients and plant compounds that are beneficial to humans. Let’s explore the wonderful health benefits of this superfood in the next section.
Camu Camu Health Benefits
Let’s look at the evidence-based health benefits of camu camu berries, making them a sought-after part of juice or smoothies that health-conscious fanatics would love to incorporate into their daily diet.
Rich in Vitamin C
Camu camu is considered one of the most concentrated natural food sources of vitamin C . A journal published in 2022 showed that camu camu’s pulp contains a high amount of vitamin C than any other fruit .
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in strengthening our immune system and is also essential in collagen formation, a protein that supports muscles, bones, and skin [3 4]. And this can be the reason a significant intake of camu camu in your diet can improve your skin health and may also benefit your hair health because how vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen formation.
However, some of the camu camu’s natural vitamin C is lost during processing. Camu camu is a great source of vitamin C, even when processed. Furthermore, according to one study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2015, how you keep camu camu influences its vitamin C content .
The study explained how the concentration of vitamin C changes with storage temperature and declines with time in camu camu. However, despite losing 26% of its vitamin C content over 335 days at zero degrees during the trial period, the pulp’s vitamin C concentration held steady at 1.16 g per 100 g.
Additionally, vitamin C works as a potent antioxidant to save your cells from unstable molecules known as free radicals. Although free radicals are a typical byproduct of cellular function, an excessive amount can be produced due to stress, poor diet, and pollution exposure.
Oxidative stress is a condition that develops when your body’s free radicals exceed its antioxidants. It has been related to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer .
May Reduce Inflammation
Camu camu might be helpful for lowering inflammation in the body . This is because the fruit pulp contains ellagic acid, an antioxidant that prevents triggering an inflammation enzyme called aldose reductase .
According to a study, inflammatory markers such as Interleukin (IL-6) and high sensitive C-reactive protein levels were dramatically reduced after consuming 0.3 cups (70 ml) of camu camu juice with 1,050 mg of vitamin C daily for a week in smoker men.
A control group that took a vitamin C tablet with the same dosage did not experience the same results. This implies that camu camu may include various valuable elements that support the body’s ability to fight inflammation .
Another study conducted in mice suggests that the camu camu seeds also contain anti-inflammatory properties as they can suppress inflammation .
The study offers promising benefits, but it still needs more research to further understand the potential effects of camu camu on humans.
Reduces Body Weight and Improves Metabolic Syndrome
Animal study suggests that camu camu berry may reduce weight gain as it increases the chance of burning calories while improving the gut bacteria [11 12]. This animal study offers promising results, especially for people wanting to reduce body weight and improve their overall health.
Regulates Blood Pressure
There were human and test tube studies that provided promising results that camu camu berry may help in lowering blood pressure [13 14]. This happens as it causes the widening of blood vessels, increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Ways to Incorporate Camu Camu into your Health Routine
Because of its sour taste, most people find it unpleasant to consume camu camu on its own. Instead, it is available as pulp, puree, and juice, all of which are often added with sugar to enhance flavor.
But the most common form is the camu camu powder. This makes sense because the water is taken out, increasing the camu camu concentration and extending shelf life.
Camu camu powder is easy to add to your daily smoothies, cereals, muesli, yogurts, and salad dressings. It becomes more tolerable when additional flavors are added to cover up the sour taste. Adding camu camu to meals after cooking can help minimize the loss of nutrients due to heat, particularly vitamin C.
Furthermore, camu camu is also available in extracts and concentrated dietary supplements aside from the above-mentioned forms. But there can be potential side effects which we’ll take a closer look at in the next section.
Potential Side Effects
Consuming camu camu supplement still requires caution. Most come with a warning that anyone pregnant or breastfeeding should speak with their doctor before taking them. But it is always advisable to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement or getting into medical therapy, regardless of your health condition.
Another potential risk one must consider is camu camu’s high vitamin C content. A teaspoon of camu camu powder has 682 mg of vitamin C, which is 760% higher than the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for this micronutrient.
In general, the daily recommended amount of vitamin C we need to take varies on someone’s health. For women, the suggested daily intake should be 75 mg, and men should take 90 mg daily.
It is also critical to know that the Tolerable Upper Limit (TUL) for vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day. This means that any amount lower than 2,000mg is considered safe for most people. Too much vitamin C intake may lead to digestive problems like nausea and diarrhea.
But these symptoms usually disappear once vitamin C intake is reduced to its tolerable amount. It is still important to note that since vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient and is not stored in the body, camu camu is considered safe for consumption.
The popular berry known as camu camu originates from the Amazon rainforest and may offer health benefits. Also describes as a superfood, this fruit contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which may reduce inflammation, and prevent obesity, among many other health benefits mentioned above.
Despite the sour flavor of fresh camu camu fruit, you may simply incorporate it into your diet by using its powdered or concentrated supplement form. However, consult your doctor to find out if adding a pinch to a smoothie or herbal tea is more of a risk than a benefit to your health.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
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