Peru is full of healthy and nutritious ingredients available throughout the country. Peruvian superfoods are a common addition to people’s daily diet due to the diversity of their climate, geography, and the variety of plants in the country. Peru’s long agricultural history has produced thousands of delicious and energizing types of fruits, grains, and seeds.
A superfood is any food that is rich in compounds beneficial to a person. These nutrient-dense ingredients contain antioxidants, fiber, carbohydrates, and minerals that help maintain the body’s good health and reduce diseases.
The great thing about Peruvian ingredients is that they go perfectly well in a smoothie. What better way to enjoy a superfood than add it to your smoothie right after a fantastic workout? It feels so refreshing, and preparing these ingredients is hassle-free!
There are so many Peruvian foods available. Here are six Peruvian ingredients for ultra health and energy!
Nutrients: Vitamin C. antioxidants like ellagic acid. Iron, niacin, riboflavin.
Flavor: tart, sharp sour, berry flavor.
Camu Camu is a small sour berry found in Peru. Quite common in the country and available as berry powders outside of Peru, this ingredient is super rich in vitamin C. It has about thirty times more vitamin C than an orange. It also contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, studied to reduce cancer risks, protect brain function, and alleviate inflammations.
Aside from the health benefits, this berry adds excellent flavor to your smoothie. The tart taste is lovely with other fruits like banana, watermelon, and avocado. Adding Camu Camu powder to your smoothie also adds a creamy texture a beautiful pink color. You’d feel this incredibly refreshing taste after your workout session with a camu camu fruit smoothie.
Nutrients: antioxidants like anthocyanins, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Fiber, complex carbohydrates, and proteins.
Flavor: Similar to sweet corn with a tender consistency and a lightly crisp exterior.
In the numerous varieties of corn, the Peruvian purple corn variant densely contains nutrients, making it a superfood. Just like the standard varieties, purple corn is rich in fiber, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are healthier because they digest slowly, distributing energy throughout the day without spikes in blood sugar. Purple corn also contains fiber for better digestion and protein for metabolism. It is different from standard sweet corn because it is rich in anthocyanins, which prevent cancer and viral infections, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye and skin health.
Purple corn is great for your morning smoothies to get that energy you need throughout the day. The sweetness and texture of the corn are great with any kind of fruit. In Peru, a common purple drink called chichi morada is made from purple corn and is a healthy beverage famous in the country. You can recreate this in a smoothie and enjoy a healthy Peruvian drink.
Nutrients: Flavonoids, Theobromine, minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Flavor: The higher cacao concentration, the more bitter and earthier the taste. A fruity, creamy flavor comes out when added with sugars.
This might be your favorite Peruvian ingredient that you weren’t aware of; Cacao comes from the cacao plant that bears cocoa seeds, which are then dried and fermented to make chocolate. Cacao is pure, less processed chocolate, originating in South America and also culturally available in Africa and Southeast Asia
The flavonoids in chocolate improve sugar metabolism and lower blood pressure. The theobromine in chocolate improves cardiovascular function, and it also boosts mood and improves concentration. Thus it’s a good substitute for caffeine in the morning.
Traditionally, cocoa is made into a hot, frothy beverage mixed with different plants and fruits. You are simply adding pure chocolate to your smoothie, and you can make cacao your main ingredient or add fruits and berries. Fruity notes go well with that unique bitter and sweetness of chocolate. But we all know anything goes great with chocolate, right? So any fruit combination of smoothies will go well with cacao.
Nutrients: minerals like calcium, iron, selenium, and magnesium.
Flavor: sweet but unrefined, retaining a molasses taste.
If you like to add sugar to your smoothies, consider replacing your regular sugar with a healthier alternative, chancaca. Chancaca is Peruvian unrefined cane sugar, which means the minerals that your body can use are not processed out of the sugar. The sugar retains a molasses taste and results in the brown color of the sugar.
The minerals present in chancaca are essential in metabolism, bone structure, and nervous system efficiency. This is an excellent alternative to sugar in your drinks. You can add this to any smoothie you want to enhance the flavor, and the sweet molasses taste compliments different fruits and vegetables in your smoothie.
Nutrients: Low fat and sodium content. Carbohydrates and fiber. It contains compounds that give various health benefits.
Flavor: sweet but slightly bitter nutty taste. It has a malty flavor when mixed with fruit.
Maca is a vegetable root native to the Andes region. Also known as “Peruvian ginseng”, this ingredient is increasingly popular due to its health benefits.
The compounds in Maca are known to increase libido and fertility. Aside from that, it also improves mood, relieves fatigue, and adds more daily energy. You can say maca isn’t just energy for the sheets but also the streets. With the high demands of our work and goals, we need all the energy we can get.
The flavor is excellent for smoothies as when mixed, maca produces a malty flavor. Great with chocolate (or cacao) and creamy fruits like avocado and mango. It’s a great pre-workout smoothie to give you maximum workout energy and more.
Nutrients: contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a type of carbohydrate that improves gut health and acts as a prebiotic. Vitamin C
Flavor: sweet and crisp, with fruity, earthy, and floral notes.
Yacon is an indigenous tuber in Peru that looks like a sweet potato but tastes like a pear. It has been traditionally used as medicine for hundreds of years. Now it is studied to have a prebiotic effect on the guts, and it improves gut health and absorption of other nutrients during digestion. Yacon has also been seen to reduce cravings and appetite as an effect of enhanced nutrient absorption.
The yacon root powder is another excellent substitute for table sugar in your smoothies as it is sweet but has a low glycemic index. You don’t have to worry about rising blood sugar levels for your sweet drinks with yacon root. It goes well with other fruits like oranges and apples in your smoothie to give that complete, guiltless, fruity sweetness.
The best way to enjoy these superfoods is to try them out from the source in Peru. But thanks to its popularity and demand, you can find these ingredients in a store near you. Have a sample of these ingredients and see which smoothie combination you enjoy and share with friends.You can get these health supplements at Healthy Planet and Organic Garage.