Peruvian Foods to Fight Fatigue and Four More Superstars

January 24, 2014

Peru is on the foodie radar. More and more Peruvian offerings are becoming mainstream and these are foods you want to know because of their tremendous health benefits. Find out five of the best here

Peru is on the foodie radar. More and more Peruvian offerings are becoming mainstream. In fact, the San Francisco Bay Area has at least 20 Peruvian restaurants. A Peruvian restaurateur commented that Peru offers tremendous diversity. Dishes reflect the sea, the Amazon and the Andes. The country has thousands of varieties of potatoes as well as a huge variety of corn and quinoa; and the South American nation's tastes are flavorful and healthy.  So what are some of the most nutrient rich foods that originated in Peru? Here are SupermarketGuru’s top five. 

Camu Camu: is another exotic Amazonian berry that is extraordinarily high in vitamin C, as well as the amino acids valine, leucine, and serine. It has been traditionally used as a medicinal herb, improving the function of the brain, eyes, heart, lungs, liver, and skin. It is the single most potent source of vitamin C on the planet. Ounce for ounce, it has 50 times the vitamin C of an orange. Camu camu is thought to help ward off the common cold, flu and other viruses (could be due to it’s high vitamin C content), and helps with stress and anxiety, making an excellent addition to your life.

Kiwicha or Amaranth: This antioxidant- and protein-packed seed dates back hundreds of years (similar to quinoa). It contains a high quality protein and is high in fiber. Amaranth has a nutty flavor and is being used with other alternative flours in breads, pasta, pancakes and more. It boasts a superb nutritional profile and is a great source of calcium, iron, manganese and folate. Many studies have shown that it lowers LDL, or "bad cholesterol," protecting your cardiovascular system as well as helping to manage blood pressure.

Maca is an herbaceous plant native to the high Andean Mountains of Peru (and Bolivia). It is one of the only food plants in the world able to thrive at such a high altitude. Maca, and more specifically the root of the plant, has a long history as a superfood. It is high in calcium, iron, vitamin-C, and essential amino acids. But as the Incas knew, maca has extraordinary rejuvenative or adaptogenic powers.  According to the history, the Incas gave maca to their soldiers to fortify them before battles to increase their energy. Today maca be a benefit for anyone who wants to improve energy or better deal with stress.

Pichuberry: Also known as a gooseberry, golden berry, Peruvian cherry, ground berry, Inca berry or aguaymanto, are rich in vitamin C, almost twenty time that of an orange and so rich in Vitamin-D that 3/4 cup will give you 39 percent of your daily value. Pichuberries also contains rare phytochemicals called withanolides that have been demonstrated to slow the growth of tumors. It is anti-inflammatory, vitamin-rich food.

Purple potatoes: These spuds are not just a colorful novelty. Once reserved for Peru's kings to eat, their bright color comes from anthocyanin, a phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant. While all potatoes are naturally high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, purple potatoes because of their antioxidant content are even more powerful. A study conducted by the USDA among overweight participants suffering from hypertension reported that consuming six to eight golf ball-sized purple potatoes twice daily for one month reduced blood pressure by an average of 4 percent. These antioxidants also strengthen your immune system and can help prevent certain heart diseases and cancers.

Information gathered from:
Eating Free 
Nativas Naturals
SF Gate