In the Amazon hides a variety of delicious fruits with unique health benefits. Most restaurants in Iquitos offer a diverse choice of freshly squeezed juices or alcoholic cocktails made from these “Superfruits.” This is a delightful way to experience the tastes of the Amazonian nature, and benefit from the health benefits these fruits bear. Many of these fruits are unknown to outsiders, and visitors often seek out this experience driven by curiosity, adventure and a longing for alternative wellness food.
Viva Tip: always ask for freshly squeezed drinks without sugar to get the best out of these superfruits.
1. Camu Camu
Image source: https://peru.info/en-us/superfoods/detail/super-camu-camu (not labeled for reuse)
Camu Camu berries are becoming increasingly popular as their medicinal properties are uncovered. The fruit is about the size of a lemon with a reddish color. It is used to fight viral infections and common colds, as well as maintaining healthy gums, eyes and skin. It is also used as an antioxidant and immune system stimulant. Camu Camu is recognized for its energy-boosting benefits and could be a substitute for coffee. The berries grow in the swampy regions of the Amazon. It is rich in vitamin C, as well as valine and amino acids. The people of the Amazon use both fruit and leaves of the Camu Camu as medicine. The berries are unlikely to be found in your local American store, but powders and supplements are available. Visit Iquitos to taste Camu Camu freshly squeezed juice and enjoy its health benefits to complement your wellness journey.
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Maracuyá, commonly known as Passion Fruit, is a popular and commercialized citrus worldwide. The fruit is usually of yellowish color with a bittersweet taste. It is mostly used for its distinguished flavor and scent in desserts and drinks. However, Maracuyá also has important health benefits. The citrus fruit is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that protect the health of your cells. It is known to embellish skin and cleanse the body of free radicals and toxins. Maracuyá seeds contains a lot of water and fiber that support the digestive system, and act as a laxative to fight constipation. The people of the Amazon have long recognized the health benefits of this fruit and use Maracuyá for healing. It is best consumed raw to maximise health benefits. You will find freshly-harvested Maracuyá fruit in the form of cold natural juices in most commercial eateries in Iquitos.
Image source: https://www.tipshealthline.com/12-health-benefits-of-cashew-juice/ photoshopped with http://www.gcmtrade.com.br/food/superfruits/cupuacu to better represent the fruit (not labeled for reuse)
Cupuaçu is a common tropical Amazonian tree related to cocoa. The fruit is considered to be the “taste of the Amazon” and was declared as the national fruit of Brazil in 2008. It is described to have an aroma of chocolate mixed with pineapple as is frequently used in desserts and juices. It can also be made into butter, characterized by a low melting point. Native tribes of the Amazon have consumed the fruit as food for centuries. The fruit is harvested once it naturally falls from the tree. Cupuaçu is difficult to come by as a fruit in western market, but it has been commercialized in the form of powder and pulp due to its enjoyable flavor. Visit Iquitos to explore this unique taste of the Amazon in the most nutritious and flavorful natural juice.
Image source: https://articulo.mercadolibre.com.pe/MPE-435222599-pulpa-de-aguaje-cajamarca-_JM (not labeled for reuse)
Aguaje is known as the “miracle fruit for women.” It grows on an elegant palm tree in the swamps of the Amazon forest. Aguaje is rich in vitamin C and the most concentrated fruit in beta carotene or vitamin A (7 to 12 times the concentration of carrots). While there is limited research on the fruit, it is believed to contain a high amount of “phyto-hormones” which supplements and balances estrogen. The fruit is also believed to help with fertility and body rejuvenation. Millions of people in the Amazon consume this fruit daily. It is used by the tribes to protect the skin from sun damage. Aguaje is consumed as juice and made into cream, jam and fermented wine. Oil is extracted from Aguaje to treat burns and cancer-causing UV rays.
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The cocona has an intense acid flavor and is one of the favorite ingredients in Amazonian gastronomy. The fruit can only be consumed once very ripe and is often accompanied by other ingredients or sweeteners. It is related to the family of tomatoes and is often used in spicy sauces, juice and sweets (diverse, right?). The cocona is so highly nutritious that it has potential of being commercialized as an ingredient for baby foods. It is a common ingredient in salads and often cooked with fish and meat. It is also sweetened to make sauce for desserts, or jam and jelly. Drink cocona juice freshly squeeze and ice cold, diluted with natural sweeteners or other fruits to attenuate its acidity.