Peru is one of the most biodiverse nations on Earth. Thanks to its 84 microclimates (out of the world’s total 144), Peru has a great variety of agricultural produce that is synonymous with healthy living. Known for their high nutritional value, these superfoods include aguaymanto, maca root (Lepidium meyenii), sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis), quinoa, kiwicha (amaranthus), canihua (Chenopodium goosefoot), blue corn, camu berry (Myrciaria dubia) and others.
The beneficial properties of these superfoods have been well-known in Peru for over 10,000 years. Recently, these foods have become known globally, part of the growing world trend of health-conscious eating. They can be found fresh as well as processed, prepared in sweet or savory dishes and even in a range of beverages. These superfoods are nutritional staples for diets rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Among the superfoods grown in Peru is aguaymanto or physallis, a berry containing powerful antioxidants and a plenty of vitamins A, B and C, as well as calcium, iron and phosphorous. A perfect way to strengthen the immune system, it is also an ingredient of choice in gourmet gastronomy and international mixology.
Camu camu is a small berry from the Amazon rainforest known for its high vitamin C content, exceeding other traditional citrus fruits, including limes and oranges. Its strong antioxidant properties help regenerate the body’s tissues, prevent colds and assimilate iron found in vegetables.
The amazing properties of Andean grains explain their growing popularity in the modern world’s diets. Cañihua, sacha inchi, giant kernel corn and Amazon nuts are recognized as exceptionally well-balanced sources of proteins, fats and starch, and their high content of essential amino-acids and nutraceuticals.
Quinoa’s history in Peru goes back 3,000 years. This vegetable provides essential amino acids, micronutrients and vitamins all in one single food. It is so nutritious it has been included in the diet of NASA’s space crews, while its flavor is highly praised by Peruvian and international chefs.
Since ancestral times, maca (regarded by the Incas as a sacred food), blue corn, yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) and mesquite (Ceratonia siliqua) have been consumed as major sources of proteins, carbohydrates and amino-acids. More recently, because of their energizing properties, they are also used as ingredients in power drinks.