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Best Peruvian Superfoods

Peru is gaining worldwide attention, and for good reason.

World traveler and cuisine connoisseur, Anthony Bourdain, recently called the cuisine of Peru, “the most underrated in the world.” Peru has some of the greatest plant diversity in the world—making it a land where nutrient-filled superfoods flourish.

You may have heard of the explosively popular grain, quinoa. Quinoa’s incredible spurt in popularly sparked the United Nations to call 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa.” And we have Peru to thank for all that quinoa.

Peru is making its mark on the health and culinary world, to say the least. With all the delicious, organic superfoods emerging from the western South American country, let’s take a look at some of the best Peruvian superfoods:

This root, which tastes more like a fruit, grows in the nutrient-rich soil at the slopes of the Andes Mountains. Recently, yacon has gained popularity for its naturally sweet flavour, similar to caramel. It doesn’t spike blood glucose levels, due to yacon’s makeup of compounds called Fructooligosaccharides. These compounds are made of fructose that travels through the digestive system without being metabolised.

Fructooligosaccharides promote healthy production of good bacteria in the gut, and support normal bowel movements. Although yacon is surprisingly low in calories and sugar for its delicious, sweet taste, yacon root is packed with phytonutrients and probiotics that boost the immune system, stimulate metabolism and support normal digestion.

Yacon is available in pill, powder and liquid form. Yacon root is an easy way to sweeten beverages or recipes without significantly raising the sugar or calorie content, while adding health-boosting nutrients.

Maca grows at the top of the Andes Mountains at altitudes reaching over 11,00 feet, which makes maca root the highest growing food on the planet. Exposed to the harshest elements of the world, maca root still thrives and has been utilised for thousands of years to promote health and vitality in Peruvian natives. The high elevation and severe elements help give maca its complex nutrient qualities.

Packed with phytochemicals and nutrients, maca powder contains B vitamins, alkaloids, flavonoids, fatty acids, amino acids, protein, potassium, and more. This nutrient-dense superfood supports nearly every bodily system, and has been traditionally used to promote sexual vitality, fertility, healthy energy levels, longevity and overall wellness.

Maca is most commonly available in capsule and powder forms. You may add maca powder to a smoothie or favorite recipe without altering the flavour too drastically, or maca capsules are a convenient way to reap all of the benefits.

Quinoa grows at high altitudes in the Peruvian mountains. Although quinoa is exposed to some of the harshest elements of the world—including night frosts and day temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees—quinoa thrives and is jam-packed with nutrients.

Even though quinoa has only recently gained incredible popularity in restaurants and grocery stores worldwide, quinoa has actually been around and eaten for thousands of years. Inca warriors are believed to have eaten quinoa to boost stamina and energy, and the powerful grain is known as the “the gold of the Incas.”[1]

Not only is the quinoa superfood a superior source of protein and fiber, but also this Peruvian superfood is packed with lysine, magnesium, iron, B vitamins and essential amino acids. Quinoa is coveted for being less starchy with more nutrients than other wheat grains.

You can buy quinoa freshly cooked at many health food stores or restaurants, or you may buy quinoa to make yourself at nearly any grocery store. Many protein powders and organic superfood supplement powders also contain quinoa superfood.

Camu Camu
Camu camu grows on bushy trees along the rivers of Amazon jungle in Peru. Each wet season, the rivers flood, which provides the camu camu trees with nutrient-dense soil and moisture. Peruvian natives have long juiced and eaten camu camu to boost immunity and treat illnesses. This exotic superfruit is filled with B vitamins, amino acids, bioflavonoids and phytonutrients.

Camu camu only thrives in its native, wet jungle. However, camu camu has gained a surge of popularity, which has brought a variety of forms of camu camu to grocery stores and supplements stores worldwide. You can buy camu camu in a dried form, whole form, in capsules, in a liquid form or powdered.

Cacao beans grow in moist, nutrient-rich soils along the Peruvian coast and in the Amazon jungle. Cacao beans are cooked and ground to make cocoa and chocolate, or dried to create raw cacao beans or raw cacao powder. [2] Needless to say, cacao beans boast a good reputation in the culinary world, but even better, cacao beans are making its mark on the health and wellness world.

Cacao beans are filled with healthy fats, flavonoids, magnesium, and contain vast antioxidants powers. Cacao powder has been long used to boost mood. It’s believed that cacao may help stimulate endorphins resulting in positive feelings. Also containing wholesome antioxidants, cacao supports overall vitality and longevity.

Cacao is made in many different forms, but it is most popular in powdered forms, whole, dried form, or encapsulated as a superfood supplement.

Pichuberries, commonly called goldenberries or Incan berries, are derived from the mountainous region of Peru. For hundreds of years, Pichuberries have been largely cultivated in the kitchen due to its sweet, bold citrus flavour. No only do these exotic berries pack a flavourful punch, but the Peruvian superfood also contains many health benefits.

Pichuberries are a superior source of fiber and pectin, making it ultra-supportive of the digestive tract. Also containing large amounts of vitamin A and C, pichuberries boost the immune system while providing the body with powerful, Peruvian antioxidants.

Pichuberries are most commonly eaten fresh or dried. The flavourful berries go well in citrus recipes or fruit smoothies.

1. Wilcox, J. (2012, June 26). 7 Benefits of Quinoa: The Supergrain Of The Future . Retrieved April 9, 2015, from

2. Marie, J. (2015, April 9). Antioxidant Benefits of Raw Cacao. Retrieved April 9, 2015, from Healthy Eating: