As disease epidemics reach astonishing numbers in our country, combined with the cost of healthcare, more and more people are researching their options for maintaining or regaining their health and quality of life. After trying western medicine and fad diets, it becomes obvious that there is no way around addressing diet and nutrition in the quest for health. It is amazing how overfed and under-nourished we are in the industrialized world. One of the only ways to quickly and easily improve anyone’s health – in a healthy way – is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten every day. By a lot, usually. Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods packed with phytonutrients that have a powerful effect on human health. More and more people are discovering how much better they feel when they add superfoods to their diet.
One little-known superfood is a superfruit – camu camu (Myrciaria dubia). Packed with a multitude of phytonutrients, including vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids, amino acids, protein, fiber, and more, it offers a wealth of health benefits including disease prevention and immunity boosting. Not surprisingly, it comes from the Amazon rainforest, where indigenous peoples have used it in their folk medicine for centuries.
Why camu camu is a superfood
Camu camu has only been studied by scientists for a few decades. They are still discovering and understanding its chemical constituents and learning how they benefit human health both individually and synergistically. What they do know is that camu camu is the most potent source of botanical vitamin C in the world. It’s what makes camu camu famous. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12851044)
Camu camu has 30-50 times the vitamin C, 10 times the iron, three times the niacin, twice the riboflavin, and 50 percent more phosphorous as oranges, and other citrus fruits. It also has beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and amino acids (http://superfruits.com/index.php/camu-camu-superfrukter-99). This fruit has one of the highest concentrations of phytochemicals in the world. It is considered to be an antioxidant, astringent, emollient, and nutritive.
Extensive research has been done on vitamin C, and most people recognize and accept its importance in our diets. It is an essential nutrient, meaning we don’t synthesize it within our bodies but rather must obtain it from our diet. It is an antioxidant that is known to boost immunity, protect the nervous system, and help prevent chronic disease. It is understood to have anti-viral properties, helping to cut short infections such as the common cold or the flu. Antioxidants are one of the most powerful weapons we have against disease. They work on a cellular level to prevent disease and protect DNA. This means camu camu is useful in prevention of immune-related diseases. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21512298)
Most synthetic vitamin C is simply ascorbic acid, most often made from corn grown in China. Natural vitamin C from citrus fruit, or the camu camu, is different. It is a full spectrum source of vitamin C and it comes from many different nutrients, including ascorbic acid as well as several bioflavonoids. In addition to that, when derived from a plant source, it also comes with the minerals and other nutrients that make it more digestible and bio-available, such as potassium and amino acids (http://www.family-content.com/health/herbs/camu-camu). It has antigenotoxic and antioxidant activities. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22542553)
Latest research on camu camu
Camu camu is used for anti-aging, to protect the nervous system, improve mental performance, ease inflammation such as rheumatism, boost the immune system, improve vision, and fight viruses. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been found to be beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis, much more effectively than vitamin C tablets containing equivalent amounts of vitamin C. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18922386)
Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of camu camu make it a helpful joint supplement as it helps repair ligaments and tendons, as well as joints and cartilage by supporting collagen production (http://camucamu.org/). Proper nutrition improves muscle tone, shape, and function. (http://www.naturalnews.com/Report_Camu_Camu_3.html)
In addition to strengthening the immune system, camu camu is used to improve energy and mood. In recent years, alternative practitioners have been using camu camu supplements to address ADD and ADHD. It is good for the gums, eyes, skin, hair, and nails. Camu camu fights infertility. It supports a healthy liver and was found to suppress liver injury (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20208347). It benefits the brain by supporting serotonin levels to improve sleep, memory, and mood, as well as general support for overall brain chemistry, including fighting migraines. Camu camu supports a healthy nervous system, improves vision and guards against cataracts and glaucoma. (http://www.naturalnews.com/Report_Camu_Camu_3.html)
Recent studies have found that the peel of the ripe fruit has a high concentration of anthocyanins, a natural food color. Several genotypes have been found, including some that have a high concentration of citric acid. (http://www.family-content.com/health/herbs/camu-camu, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16302773)
South Americans have used camu camu successfully in treating Herpes Simplex, Shingles, and Eppstein-Barr viruses. Rainforest peoples make camu camu into a hair tonic also, using it to repair split ends and restore shine, strength, vitality, and silky texture. (http://camucamu.org/)
Camu camu is an anti-viral (fights cold and flu), anti-inflammatory (eases arthritis and other inflammatory diseases), an anti-atherosclerotic (prevents plaque buildup on arteries), powerful antioxidant (cellular protection), anti-septic (kills bacteria), anti-mutagenic (prevents cancer-causing genetic mutations), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), anti-ulcerous, anti-gingivitic (fights gingivitis), anti-hepatitic (protects against liver disorders) and antidepressant. It has no contraindications, other than those associated with excessive, prolonged use of vitamin C, such as nausea and diarrhea, if you use too much for too long. (http://www.naturalnews.com/Report_Camu_Camu_5.html)
The demand for camu camu and its involved process from harvest to powder/supplement, shipped worldwide, means it is a more expensive supplement than many other sources of vitamin C. Still, it is a powerful superfood rich in health-boosting phytonutrients that has changed a lot of lives.
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