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Scientifically known as Myrciaria dubia, the fruit camu camu is also known by the names camucamu, cacari, or camocamo. A small bushy tree, camu camu is closely related to rum berry and Brazilian grape. Termed as the biggest source of vitamin C, the fruit has 30 to 60 per cent more vitamin C than lemons or oranges.
Similar to cherry fruits in appearance, the taste of the camu camu fruit, however, is not the same. Camu camu has a mild acidic-sour taste and has gained popularity worldwide in recent times. Due to the plethora of nutritional benefits possessed by the cherry-like fruit, it is widely used in the Amazons as a medicine   .
Various researches are being conducted on exploring the health benefits offered by the fruit. Once the fruit reaches maturity, the vitamin C concentration in it begins reducing; thereby increasing the demand for slightly less ripened camu camu fruit.
Curious to know the health benefits and nutritional value of this fascinating fruit? Scroll down!
Nutritional Value Of Camu Camu
The fruit majorly consists of water, where 100 grams of camu camu has 94.1 g water, 0.4 g protein, 0.44 g starch, 0.2 g fat, 0.2 mg copper, 0.53 mg iron and 0.2 mg zinc. The remaining nutrients present in the fruit are as follows  :
- 5.9 g carbohydrates
- 1.1 g dietary fibre
- 15.7 mg calcium
- 12.4 mg magnesium
- 2.1 mg manganese
- 83.9 mg potassium
- 11.1 mg sodium
- 1882-2280 mg vitamin C
Uses Of Camu Camu
Due to the fruit's overwhelming flavour, the most common uses of camu camu are in ice creams and sweets.
Apart from that, the fruit is also used in its dried form, which is powdered down and used for medicinal purposes. It is also used as a dietary supplement  .
Health Benefits Of Camu Camu
1. Improves liver health
According to studies, camu camu contains a compound called 1-methyl maleate, which helps in improving one's liver health. The compound is also beneficial in treating injuries related to the liver  .
2. Enhances cognitive ability
Possessing powerful antioxidant abilities, the vitamin C content in the fruit is extremely beneficial in improving our cognitive ability. The flavonoid antioxidants, including anthocyanins and ellagic acid aids in removing the plaque build-up in the cognitive pathways - caused by free radicals and oxidative stress, and help prevent the onset of cognitive disorders  .
3. Aids weight loss
Studies have pointed out that camu camu can be an effective remedy for weight loss. The fruit's ability to help you maintain healthy gut bacteria, which improves your metabolism and hence, help shed that extra weight  . Apart from this, the fruit also helps limit the onset of chronic diseases that are linked to obesity.
4. Manages mood swings
Camu camu possess sedative properties which makes it useful in being used as a relaxing agent. Although studies are being conducted on understanding the reason behind it, the fruit is beneficial for reducing mental anxiety and mood swings  . Some studies suggest that it could be due to the presence of magnesium and other vitamins that help in calming your body  .
5. Tones muscles
The plethora of nutrient, vitamins and amino acids present in the fruit helps in the growth and protection of muscles. Regular and controlled consumption of the fruit powder can help in increasing your muscle tone, making it ideal for your workout sessions  .
6. Improves eyesight
Rich in carotenoids, consuming camu camu is beneficial for your vision. Known for its ability to protect eye health as an antioxidant, it aids in eliminating the oxidative stress in the ocular system and limits the onset of macular degeneration  . It also helps prevent the development of cataract.
7. Supports digestion
The dietary fibre present in camu camu helps in boosting your digestive processes, which in turn improves your overall health  .
8. Improves heart health
Apart from these health benefits, camu camu is also said to possess the ability to prevent infertility, manage diabetes, improve blood sugar levels and promote healthier blood pressure.
Healthy Camu Camu Recipes
1. Camu camu, beet and cranberry smoothie bowl
- 1 small to medium beet, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup frozen cranberries or blueberries
- 3-4 dates
- 2 teaspoons camu camu powder
- 1-1 ½ cups of almond milk
- Combine all smoothie ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy.
- Garnish with toppings of choice and enjoy.
2. Immune booster smoothie
- 1 teaspoon of camu camu powder
- ½ cup of carrot, grated
- 1 teaspoon of ginger, fresh and peeled
- Spinach, a handful
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of preferred vegan sweetener
- 1 cup of cold water
- Add spinach, carrot, ginger, and camu camu powder into a blender.
- Fill with water, lime juice, and sweetener.
- Blend until all ingredients are well combined.
- Serve it in cold glasses.
Side Effects Of Camu Camu
- Excessive consumption of the fruit can cause diarrhoea and nausea.
- Individuals suffering from hemochromatosis (iron overload) should avoid consuming the fruit.
- Do not consume the fruit if you suffer from gout or other uric acid-related condition.
-  Salomão-Oliveira, A., Costa, S., Dos Santos, K., Souza, T., & Marinho, H. (2018). Ascorbic acid from lyophilized camu-camu fruit: stability and quality control of hard capsules. Journal of Basic and Applied Pharmaceutical Sciencies, 37(1).
-  Blare, T., & Donovan, J. (2018). Building value chains for indigenous fruits: lessons from camu-camu in Peru. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 33(1), 6-18.
-  Zanatta, C. F., & Mercadante, A. Z. (2007). Carotenoid composition from the Brazilian tropical fruit camu–camu (Myrciaria dubia). Food Chemistry, 101(4), 1526-1532.
-  Akter, M. S., Oh, S., Eun, J. B., & Ahmed, M. (2011). Nutritional compositions and health promoting phytochemicals of camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) fruit: A review. Food Research International, 44(7), 1728-1732.
-  de Araújo Padilha, C. E., Dantas, P. V. F., Nogueira, C. D. C., Leitão, A. L. D. S., Almeida, H. N., de Santana Souza, D. F., ... & dos Santos, E. S. (2018). Enhancing the recovery and concentration of polyphenols from camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia HBK McVaugh) by aqueous two-phase flotation and scale-up process. Separation Science and Technology, 53(13), 2126-2135.
-  Anhê, F. F., Nachbar, R. T., Varin, T. V., Trottier, J., Dudonné, S., Le Barz, M., ... & Roy, D. (2019). Treatment with camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. Gut, 68(3), 453-464.
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-  Juhasz, M. (2018). U.S. Patent Application No. 15/472,269.
-  Guedes-Oliveira, J. M., Costa-Lima, B. R. C., Cunha, L. C. M., Salim, A. P. A. A., Baltar, J. D., Fortunato, A. R., & Conte-Junior, C. A. (2018). Oxidative Stability of Ground Lamb Enhanced with Extracts from Peel and Seed of Camu Camu (Myrciaria Dubia). Meat and Muscle Biology, 1(2), 155-155.
-  Chang, S. K., Alasalvar, C., & Shahidi, F. (2019). Superfruits: Phytochemicals, antioxidant efficacies, and health effects–A comprehensive review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 59(10), 1580-1604.
-  Langley, P. C., Pergolizzi Jr, J. V., Taylor Jr, R., & Ridgway, C. (2015). Antioxidant and associated capacities of Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia): a systematic review. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 21(1), 8-14.
-  The Nutty Scoop. (n.d.). Camu Camu Recipes [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.nuts.com/camu-camu-beet-and-cranberry-smoothie-bowl/
-  Torres, L., Guevara, B., Cruz, V., & Valdivia, M. (2019). Myrciaria dubia “camu camu” flour as a magnetoprotector in male mouse infertility. Bioelectromagnetics, 40(2), 91-103.
-  Fujita, A., Souza, V. B., Daza, L. D., Fávaro‐Trindade, C. S., Granato, D., & Genovese, M. I. (2017). Effects of Spray‐Drying Parameters on In Vitro Functional Properties of Camu‐Camu (Myrciaria dubia Mc. Vaugh): A Typical Amazonian Fruit. Journal of food science, 82(5), 1083-1091.