Get supercharged with the latest superfoods from Peru. South American foods are trending at many upscale restaurants that are featuring these tasty delights. Popular for their versatility, these healthy foods are high in vitamins and nutrients. Great sources of antioxidants and vegetable protein, these superfoods will boost your metabolism, fight infection, reduce inflammation and keep you energized. Here’s just a sampling in the latest superfoods from Peru.
Kiwicha also known as amaranth, is a small whole grain that is gluten-free. This miniature quinoa is known for its dense nutritional content. Famed in Peru for over 4,000 years, Kiwicha is considered an anti-aging food. It contains all 10 essential amino acids, and makes a great plant protein for vegetarians. High in fiber, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and manganese.
Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit that tastes like maple, caramel and pumpkin all combined together. With orange/yellow colored flesh, it has the texture of a hard boiled egg yolk. Cultivated since 200 A.D. this fruit was known as the “Gold of the Incas.” High in carotene, fiber, iron and niacin, the fruit is not available locally, but the Lucuma powder is available at many health food and vitamin stores.
Maca helps to balance hormones, boost energy, improve fertility and provides health benefits to beautify skin, hair and nails. A tuber root of Peru, most commonly referred to as Peruvian Ginseng. It is high in these minerals: calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc and up to 20 essential fatty acids, lipids, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids.
Pichuberry a small, smooth berry also known as the Inca berry. From Peru, it is as small as a cherry, but comes wrapped in a thin, papery green shell making it look more like a tomatillo. The pichuberry has a low glycemic index (25-28) coupled with a high concentration of vitamin C and carotenoids meaning that it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Quinoa, though not new to menus, is still one of the top superfoods and deserves to be mentioned. Quinoa contains more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than any other grain. Vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, and riboflavin, plus minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, and folate, as well as the antioxidants phytonutrients quercetin and kaempferol, which lend anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting prowess to each bowl consumed.
Look for these superfoods at your health food store or grocery store, as well as finer dining restaurants. Many menus feature these superfoods in sauces, salads or garnishes. Expand your taste and give these Peruvian flavors a try.
~ Karen Ficarelli
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