Since I am in Chile now, I am surrounded by South American food. People who live here are lucky to have so easy access to the diverse and really nutritious food! I am sure that you must have heard about some of them, for example Quinoa, Chia seeds? Do they sound familiar to you? If not, do not worry. Below, in this post I will describe my favourite 5 superfoods from South America that you may want to (and should) add into your daily diet.
Acai berries are South American berries that are high in amount of the antioxdiants. They have even more health benefits than commonly known blue berries. Additionally, acai berries lower risk of heart disease and cancer. They are very often consumed in Brasil as the ingredient of ‘acai bowl’ which is a delicious alternative for breakfast. It is usally made from blended acai, banana, milk, oats and some seeds (but you can mix up the ingredients however you want and play around!).
Most likely, you will find acai in some health markets in puree packs, juice or powder form. Since they lose nutrients quickly, it’s best to buy them frozen.
This tiny, orange fruit is exceptional in terms of its high Vitamin C content! Believe me or not, but camu-camu has 40 times more vitamin C than oranges! It comes from Amazonian forest, helps to boost the immune system and neutralize free radicals.
The most common way is simply adding camu-camu powder to smoothies/fruits shakes (due to its sour taste it is good to sweeten it up with a table spoon of honey 🙂 )
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and full of fibre, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. They are also good for lowering cholesterol.
Chia seeds absorb water easily and form a gel when mixed with water. I heard that chia seeds are also a good substitute for eggs in vegan diets.
Personaly, I like to add them to yogurt with some fruits. It gives a ‘funny’ texture and fills you up quicker and for longer due to its content of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Probably you will find maca in store on shelf in powder form. But maca is actually a root (!) also known as Peruvian ginseng. It is a highly nutritious vegetable that contains plenty of fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. Maca root has been associated with a number of health benefits. One of the most intersting is the fact it that it has been touted as a natural remedy for women’s hormonal imbalances and contributor in boost of fertility.
Often mistakenly considered as a grain, Quinoa is a seed in fact. Originally cultivated in Peru. It is real superfood, great for vegetarian and vegan, due to its high protein content as well as for celiac people since it is naturally gluten-free. Additionally it has high levels of B vitamins and minerals.
There are few diffrent kind (colors) of quinoa. For example, red quinoa is also an excellent source of flavonoids and antioxidant properties.
These are 5 South American foods that I have been using in my kitchen recently. Try to look for them in your bio/eco shops. I am sure that you will find them easily!
Have a wonderful and healthy weekend! 🙂