Nutritional composition of camu-camu
In its composition, it presents various bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamins, among which the vitamin C content stands out. It contains 2,780 mg/100 g (Reyes et al., 2009), minerals (calcium, potassium, sodium, zinc, magnesium…) and phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins and tannins, which give it the characteristics of a functional food.
|100 g of camu-camu pulp|
|Vitamin C||2.780 mg|
|Source: Reyes et al., 2009.|
What are bioactive compounds?
Bioactive compounds are functional ingredients of food, capable of providing beneficial health effects, influencing cellular activity, physiological mechanisms and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. The bioactive compounds are mainly carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamins and phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins and tannins.
Featured Nutrients and Bioactive Compounds
The camu-camu contains a large amount of water, essential for life. A healthy person needs between two and three liters of water a day . Fruits are excellent alternatives to hydrate the body. Water is essential for many functions, the most prominent are:
- Transport nutrients into cells.
- It is the main responsible for the elimination of toxic elements.
- Participate in digestive processes.
- Intervene in joint structures improving cushioning.
- Participate in the regulation of body temperature.
- Represent 91.5% of blood plasma.
Its intake helps prevent decalcification and osteoporosis . Calcium is responsible for many structural functions of the body’s hard and soft tissues, as well as the regulation of neuromuscular transmission of chemical and electrical stimuli, cell secretion, and blood coagulation.
The main function of phosphorus is the involvement of bones and teeth. It participates in the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates and helps in the formation, conservation and protein repair of tissues and cells. Participates in the production of ATP (molecule that helps store energy), kidney function, muscle contraction, nerve impulse…
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that are produced in the body for different reasons, harmful to the body. In addition, it is necessary for the growth and repair of tissues, forming proteins that make up the skin, tendons, ligaments… It helps in wound healing and participates in the absorption of iron.
Phenols are a type of antioxidant that help reduce the effect of free radicals , preserve cell function and structure, and prevent cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and degenerative diseases. Anthocyanins stand out , a biochemical compound present in camu-camu (especially in ripe fruit), responsible for giving the fruit the characteristic purple color.
Tannins are phenolic compounds with astringent and anti-inflammatory properties , in addition to their antioxidant action that protects cells against free radicals , reducing the risk of degenerative diseases.
Vitamin A is necessary for the proper functioning of the retina and especially for night vision or in low light, for the good condition of the skin and also plays an important role in mucosal immunity. For this reason, a good contribution is essential at any time and especially before the arrival of the cold. It is also involved in the formation and maintenance of teeth, soft tissue, and bone.
Vitamin A is found in two ways in food:
- Retinol: is the active form of vitamin A. It is present in foods of animal origin such as liver or whole milk.
- Carotenoids: they are dark-colored pigments found in foods of plant origin such as oranges, once ingested, the body is capable of transforming them into their active form of vitamin A.
- Antioxidant action : thanks to vitamin C, phenols and tannins contained in camu-camu, it protects cells from damage caused by free radicals, which contribute to the development of certain diseases and play a role in aging processes.
- Anti- inflammatory effect: camu-camu has anti-inflammatory properties, in a research carried out in Japan, where volunteer male smokers after consuming a daily dose of 70 ml of camu-camu juice (corresponding to 1050 mg of vitamin C) for 7 days, were able to reduce inflammatory markers such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and interleukin (Inoue et al., 2008).
- Cardiovascular: studies show an effective power of camu-camu against cardiovascular diseases and its lipid-lowering effect. The consumption of this helps to lower the levels of lipids in the blood and thereby counteracts diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and dyslipidemia (Schwertzi et al., 2012).
- Digestive problems : camu-camu has the ability to protect the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract from the action of the acidic environment, digestive enzymes and cells of the organism (Rafael et al., 2010).
- Helps fight anemia: in case of iron deficiency anemia, it is very useful and recommended to consume any food rich in vitamin C together with foods rich in iron (meat, fish…) or as an accompaniment to medications for the treatment of anemia, vitamin C contained in camu-camu favors the conversion of ferric iron into ferrous, making it more assimilable. The result is an acceleration of recovery.
- People with a greater need for vitamin C: camu-camu can be used by people with a greater need, such as during periods of growth, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Likewise, tobacco, alcohol abuse, the use of certain medications, stress, intense physical activity, chronic inflammatory diseases…
- It is a very hydrating food: thanks to its high water content, it is very interesting for older people, who find it difficult to drink water, as well as an alternative to increase the water supply to the body.
How to consume it?
Camu-camu can be consumed fresh in the form of juice, diluting 50 g of fruit in 1 liter of water, or it can also be found in powder or tablets (take the indicated dose).
Possible Side Effects
Due to its high content of vitamin C, if excessive consumption occurs, it can cause gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting.
Current research indicates that there are several benefits to consuming camu-camu both in fruit form and in supplement form, as it is a source of different bioactive compounds, in addition to its high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which are the responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, as well as being an alternative for the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. It is important to remember that a single food does not provide a good state of health, a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, healthy fats, etc. is necessary. and an active lifestyle.
What you should know…
- Camu-camu is the fruit with the highest vitamin C content. To get an idea, it contains 100 times more than lemon.
- Camu-camu contains phenols, a type of antioxidant that helps reduce the effect of free radicals, preserve cell function and structure, and prevent cardiovascular diseases, different types of cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and degenerative diseases. Anthocyanins stand out.
- Camu-camu helps combat iron deficiency anemia by accelerating its recovery. The vitamin C it contains favors the conversion of ferric iron into ferrous, making it more assimilable.