Deep in the swampy regions of the Amazon rainforests dwells the world’s most vitamin-C rich food. Camu camu is an Amazonian superfruit that’s catching up to acai as the most coveted exotic superfood.
The growing popularity is justified. Camu camu berries deliver 2,145 milligrams of vitamin C in every 100 grams. That’s 3,575% the daily recommended value of C…and up to 60 times more vitamin C than an orange packs!
What Is Camu Camu?
Camu camu berries look like cherries, but they have a much more sour taste. So tart, in fact, that while South American locals may sweeten the berries with milk and sugar to make jams and jellies, the rest of us are better off consuming camu camu as a powder.
Camu camu in powder form is also more nutrient rich. When camu camu berries are dried and reduced to powder form they deliver 600 times more vitamin C than oranges do! Let’s see what other nutrients this potent superfruit possesses.
Camu Camu Nutrition Facts
Camu camu contains the following nutrients per every 100 grams:
Protein – 0.4 grams – 1% DV
Fat – 0.2 grams – NA
Vitamin C – 2145 mg – 3575% DV
Carotenoids – 355 mcg – NA
Calcium – 15.7 mg – 2% DV
Copper – 0.2 mg – 10% DV
Iron – 0.53 mg – 3% DV
Magnesium – 12.4 mg – 3% DV
Manganese – 2.1 mg – 106% DV
Potassium – 83.8 mg – 2% DV
Sodium – 11.1 mg – NA
Zinc – 0.36 mg – 2%
Look at those record-setting vitamin C and manganese percentages! And the wealth of carotenoids, namely lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin, keep your antioxidant bank well supplied. Let’s take a look at some camu camu health benefits.
- Keeps Hair, Skin, Nails, and Joints Healthy
Collagen is a crucial building block of our skin, hair, nails, and joints. As it starts to break down with age, fine lines and wrinkles form, and joints become more susceptible to damage. Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen. By eating a vitamin C-rich diet, we can help keep collagen levels in our bodies holding strong.
- Protects Your Vision
Age-related macular degeneration is the number one cause of blindness in adults over age 55. Vitamin C has been shown to help prevent macular degeneration, and carotenoids in camu camu, particularly lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin, have stellar reputations as vision protectors.
- Gets Gums Strong
Camu camu health benefits include gum health. And healthy gums help keep your heart healthy! The antioxidant-rich and antiviral profile of camu camu makes it a superior free radical and inflammation fighter shown to help stall the advancement of gingival and periodontal gum issues.
- Manages Your Moods
Vitamin C also plays a key role in mood maintenance by increasing serotonin levels, the feel-good hormone. Specifically, vitamin C acts as a cofactor in serotonin production, helping to convert tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan.
Science has shown a pretty strong link between vitamin C deficiency and depression. A study out of Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital showed that patients who reported sluggishness and depression also had low vitamin C levels. When given vitamin C, those patients responded with quick and clinically significant improvements in mood.
- Improves Liver Health
Vitamin C is the ultimate immune booster, chasing away colds, viruses, and flus since the beginning of time. But vitamin C is also a powerful liver detoxifier, and has been shown to improve liver function and health even in those suffering from liver diseases such as cirrhosis.
Camu Camu Side Effects
Camu camu berries are generally considered safe for consumption, although there haven’t been extensive studies conducted on humans. Camu camu powder side effects are few. High doses of vitamin C can cause stomach or digestive upset, including diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea, and potential kidney problems. Always consult your doctor before taking supplements, but pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people prone to kidney stones or ulcers, should avoid ingesting camu camu.