Top 10 Peruvian Super Foods To Enhance Your Diet

Monday Dec 14 | BY |
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Lima Market

Peru is a treasure house of healthy foods with a wealth of amazing super foods.

After weeks in a remote region of the Peruvian Andes, I returned to Lima, a hustling frenetic city eager to become modern and hip. I gave talks on what makes for a balanced diet to a group of health food activists and a presentation on chronic fatigue syndrome at the national hospital.

For the last twenty years, Peru has been a second home for me. I’ve found that Peruvians are health conscious, but in a different way than Americans.

Compared to the United States, where people follow diets with the zeal of finding a new religion, Peruvians are more practical. They shun chemical laden and GMO foods because of distrust for giant agribusiness, but also because they don’t taste good. They have good reason to know the difference.

Peru is a treasure house of healthy foods with a wealth of amazing super foods. The dry coastal climate and the cool Andean weather are ideal for keeping foods fresh. A mineral rich water supply pours off the Andes enriching the nutrient value of crops and creating intense flavors.

Markets in Lima abound with fresh seafood, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, olives in red wine, and wild honey. In Cusco, the bewildering variety of potatoes requires a special section of the central market. Small natural foods stores and Peruvian super food shops, often with cafes, have become popular in Lima and Cusco.

I’ve selected ten of the most useful superfoods, some that I’ve blogged about before, to consider adding to your diet

Peruvian Super Food PowdersThe Top 10 Peruvian Superfoods:

1.Aguaje: It’s hard to get enough fat-soluble vitamins from plants, but there are exceptions. Aguaje has five times more carotenoids, natural precursors of vitamin A, than carrot

2.Camu Camu: Vitamin C is found in many fruits, but camu camu rules, with 60 times more vitamin C than oranges. It also has more than 30 other antioxidants making it one the best super foods

3.Chuchuwasi: This superfood hasn’t made it to the US market yet, likely because it’s very bitter. But in the Amazon, it rules as an elixir. The extract or tincture is considered a cure all and aphrodisiac.

4.Maca: Best know as a hormone balancer in the US, in Peru maca is ground into a fine powder and made as a hot breakfast drink used to fortify the body, increase endurance, and boost energy

5.Muña: Pronounced “moon-ya,” this tough plant grows everywhere in the Andes it’s used as a panacea. Have a stomachache? Try muña. Headache? Drink muña tea. It’s called Andean mint, but it’s slightly bitter and very aromatic, but without the classic minty smell or taste.

6.Noni: Though not native to Peru, it’s widely available in the open markets and valued as a general health tonic. Some consider Peruvian grown Noni more potent than other varieties.

7.Purple Corn: Maiz Morado is the Spanish word for Peruvian purple corn, that is used to make the national health drink called chica morado. It’s sold in every grocery store and you can get the raw materials to make your own in the markets. You can order a pitcher of chica morado in nearly every restaurant in Lima. Purple corn is an exceptional antioxidant.

8.Quinoa: Traditional Andeans don’t eat quinoa; they drink it as gruel or fermented as chica. It’s rich in amino acids and has the highest complete protein profile among plant foods.

9.Tocosh is a Quechua word (the language of the Incas and still spoken by millions in the Andes) for a preparation made from fermented potato pulp. It’s known for its natural antibiotic properties and nicknamed “Incan Penicillin.” For gastritis, mix one tablespoon of the powder in hot water and drink on an empty stomach.

10.Yacon: Native to the Andes, yacón is valued as a healthy substitute for high fructose sweeteners. It has a low glycemic index and is an excellent prebiotic because of its high inulin content.

In the US, Peruvian super foods are available in most health food stores and Latin markets. You’ll also find them on the Internet.

When you go to Peru, be sure to try them out. See if you can go through the list of the ten top super foods!

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. June Hanson says:

    It seems all those super foods are made into drinks. How about all those great veggies I, see in their open air markets? I, am envious, they look great. Oh, to have all their variety of potatoes.

    I, enjoy quinoa as rice, with veggies or salads. Quinoa flour for pancakes. Great cereal, cooked in slow crock pot with fruit. It is high in protein.

    No wonder, you enjoy going to Peru, such a beautiful, country.

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