Peruvian Superfoods are considered natural foods that contain an extremely high density of nutrients in only small amounts. In other words, they are foods with superior sources of antioxidants and essential nutrients that humans need for the proper functioning of their body.
Superfoods have been achieving greater recognition among consumers around the world and in this sense, Peru is among the leaders in the production of this type of food because it has great biodiversity, export capacity, internationally recognized gastronomy and ancestral knowledge that they preserve crops domesticated thousands of years ago. Also, due to our geographical location, Peru is considered a Hub in Latin America.
In 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) presented the new brand “Superfoods Peru” at the Fruit Logistica Fair that took place in Germany, which seeks to position 39 Peruvian superfoods that have important nutritional properties. Next, let’s see the classification of Peruvian Superfoods in the following categories:
Classification of Superfoods
It is made up of: aguaymanto, camu camu, custard apple, lucuma, passion fruit, blueberry, grape, mango, pomegranate, soursop, mandarin, avocado and organic banana. Many of these fruits have exotic flavors and are recognized for their disease-preventing properties.
Made up mainly of asparagus, artichokes, chili peppers, olives, and capsicums, which meet the quality requirements of international markets and are processed in presentations as fresh and canned.
This category is made up of chestnuts, cañihua, kiwicha, sacha inchi, giant corn, quinoa, purple corn, cocoa, tarwi and chia. Andean grains are currently recognized for their exceptional balance of proteins, fats and starch, as well as for their high degree of essential amino acids and nutraceutical properties.
Super Tubers and roots:
It is made up of maca, yacon, sweet potato, yucca, muña, cat’s claw, turmeric, ginger and native potato. Many of these products are ingredients recognized for their source of protein, carbohydrates and amino acids.
Super Fish: Recognized for their quality and great variety, it is made up of trout and blue fish.
Quinoa is a Super grain. Although there are more than 3,000 varieties of quinoa, currently less than 1% is used. Due to its composition rich in nutrients, it is considered a very complete food. It has been included by NASA in the astronaut diets for long-term space travel. In addition, being a cereal, it has the property of absorbing water and staying longer in the stomach.
Quinoa provides proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals (calcium, iron and magnesium), vitamins (E, B1, B2 and niacin) and phosphorus. Its high content of total dietary fiber (7 grams per 100 grams of raw quinoa), produces a feeling of satiety.
Super Maíz Morado
Today, purple corn has become very important due to its high antioxidant content. It is traditionally used as a cleanser, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Purple corn contains a significant contribution of anthocyanins, which have been shown in experimental studies that the increase in its consumption can lower blood pressure in hypertensive people and raise the total antioxidant capacity of the blood.
It is a herbaceous plant, native to our Andes, which has multiple health benefits, due to its high nutritional and medicinal value. In 2018, foreign sales of maca and its derivatives registered a volume of 2,913 tons valued at 12.9 million dollars. The main export market for maca and its derivatives during 2018 was the United States.
Maca consumption is associated with a low body mass index and low blood pressure, because it contains high amounts of potassium, an important nutrient for reducing the risk of hypertension. Through plant sterols, maca is considered to stimulate the endocrine system and help maintain hormonal balance, in a way that is not yet well understood. A study has shown that maca reduces depression and anxiety. In addition, a self-perception survey showed that it acted as an energizer. Maca is traditionally used to restore mental and physical balance, provide vitality and improve endurance in athletes.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it also has a purifying, choleretic and cholagogue action, useful for the liver and gallbladder.
The plant has always been known for its purifying action, choleretic (stimulating the production of bile by the liver) and cholagogue (which favors the emptying of the gallbladder, increasing the inflow of bile into the duodenum and preventing the formation of gallstones) , is a hepatoprotector, stimulant of the biliary tract, antioxidant, blood thinner.
The most important active ingredient is curcumin, which recent studies have shown to have anticancer properties, because turmeric can block the action of an enzyme thought to be responsible for the development of various types of cancer. This active ingredient also gives turmeric an anti-inflammatory and analgesic action, and for this reason it is used effectively in the treatment of inflammation, joint pain, arthritis and arthrosis.
Super Sacha Inchi
It is a native oilseed plant from the Peruvian Amazon, known throughout the world as the “Inca peanut”, particularly interesting for the nutritional content of its seeds. So let’s find out all the benefits that Sacha Inchi seeds and oil offer. Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) grows in the Amazonian flora, a plant that is of great interest in particular for its content of Omega 3 and other polyunsaturated fats. In fact, it seems that it is currently the plant product with the highest content of Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. It is a climbing plant native to Peru that has been cultivated since the times of ancient civilizations to exploit its therapeutic properties. For this purpose, seeds or oil obtained from them are used in particular with cold extraction, very versatile in terms of both internal and external uses.
The benefits of a regular and constant consumption of Sacha Inchi seeds or oil are highlighted in particular on the cardiovascular system. The active ingredients contained in it help to reduce cholesterol and keep pressure at bay. It can also be an excellent Omega 3 supplement for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, also helping to increase protein intake. For external use, Sacha Inchi oil is particularly useful in case of dry, chapped or irritated skin, it helps strengthen nails and hair.
Chia is an excellent source of fiber. For example, 100g of seeds have four times more calcium than 100ml of milk.
Chia is a source of calcium, which contributes to the normal functioning of muscles, and of iron, which contributes to the normal transport of oxygen in the body and the normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Chia contains antioxidants and proteins, in addition to being a food with a high concentration of omega-3 alpha-linoleic fatty acid and a low concentration of omega 6, which gives it a good balance.
Kiwicha is a source of essential amino acids and has lysine as one of the main ones. The latter is used in the nutrition of pregnant mothers and children and could help the body to absorb calcium. In addition, it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, an important substance for bones and connective tissues, including skin, tendons and cartilage.
Kiwicha contains calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Calcium is necessary for the maintenance of bones under normal conditions, phosphorus contributes to the maintenance of teeth. For its part, iron contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Super Camu Camu
Although it may still be little known in the West, the Camu Camu today is the focus of various scientific researches. What surprised scientists was its high Vitamin C and antioxidant content. After the discovery of its health properties, many South Americans use Camu Camu to enrich various ice creams, jams and herbal teas. Unfortunately, as with any other fruit, even the Camu Camu, only a month after being picked, already loses 25% of its Vitamin content, even if it is frozen. The Camu Camu in Raw Food Powder does not undergo this dispersion of nutrients because the Berries are harvested manually at the ideal ripening moment. Then the delicate fruits are immediately put to dry naturally in the sun and then pulverized. Both the exposure and the subsequent grinding never exceed the 42 ° threshold, thus preserving the precious nutritional content of this amazing berry.
Canihua or Canihua is a fairly common grain in the highlands of Peru. It is a plant that grows at 4,200 meters above sea level and its cultivation is possible in adverse climatic conditions, without resorting to herbicides and pesticides.
The seeds present in its ears are collected from the canehua plant, the seeds are very dark and have fundamental nutritional potential for our body. The importance of this grain is mainly due to its high content of proteins (15.23%), calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin E phosphorus and a large amount of essential amino acids, being a versatile and energetic food it can be an excellent variant in the kitchen, unlike quinoa, its use is more immediate, as it does not contain saponins, the product is ready to use and should not be rinsed before cooking.