As we know, Peru is a rich country in many respects. From its countless archaeological ruins to its incredible gastronomic revolution, everything in Peru is something worth knowing. And within the Andean country, you will find numerous fruits, tubers, and seeds of great nutritional value. Therefore, it would not be surprising that Peru is considered the world capital of superfoods. Superfoods have a great influence on the constant growth and evolution of Peruvian cuisine. That is why, together with the travel experts at Machu Travel Peru, we have proposed to list those Peruvian superfoods that you cannot stop trying on your next trip. From quinoa to tarwi, you can find these superfoods in any store or restaurant in Peru. Check out some of these amazing foods.
Peruvian superfoods you must try while in the Andean country
Quinoa was the preferred food of the ancient Andean warriors who needed energy. Now, the so-called “gold of the Incas” is the preferred food of North America, Asia, and Europe, to name a few countries. Thanks to its high levels of protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, lysine, manganese, and vitamin B12, zinc, copper, and potassium, it qualifies as one of the best Peruvian superfoods. This star ingredient is great for digestion and is only a seed. On your next trip to Peru, you will find different types of Quinoa, all wonderful for your health. Quinoa helps prevent heart disease and high cholesterol levels, not to mention its amazing and delicious taste. This superfood usually grows in the Andean regions of Peru and is boiled like a grain. Many Peruvian desserts include quinoa as one of their main ingredients.
Cocoa is one of the most recognized Peruvian superfoods worldwide. Cacao is native to the Amazon basin and the surrounding Andean regions in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. This superfood is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, among other excellent characteristics. Its consumption helps protect the heart and is a natural mood enhancer. This incredible food contains more calcium per cup than the same milk cow. Many of the cocoa processing techniques tend to eliminate the many benefits of this superfood. But fortunately, more and more producers decide to make use of raw cocoa and take advantage of its natural capacities. Certain tours in Peru offer the possibility of visiting the Chocomuseum, an incredible experience where you can learn how to make your homemade chocolate bar.
This popular root is a tuber very similar in appearance to the average potato. Maca is one of the Peruvian superfoods whose popularity has grown in recent years. It has also gained some popularity around the world, especially in the United States and Canada. This root grows at high altitudes, between 2,000 and 4,000 feet tall. This comes in a large number of different varieties that are distinguished by the color of the root of each one. Maca root belongs to the same family as broccoli and radish. It is considered one of the healthiest natural ingredients in the world, with benefits such as improved testosterone production, improved libido, cardiovascular disease prevention, energizer, and much more. If you are looking for tips for a healthy trip, we recommend you try the delicious Peruvian Maca. A Maca breakfast can be a great alternative to a delicious Peruvian coffee.
Chancaca, also known as Panela, is one of the best alternatives to refined sugar. Although sugar is increasingly undeniably associated with the obesity epidemic in the world, Panela is a much healthier alternative to sugar. Panela is a solidified form of pure cane sugar. Being unrefined, Chancaca is full of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, copper, selenium, and iron. If used in moderation, Chancaca can be a great substitute for refined sugar or existing corn syrup. Despite being considered a Peruvian superfood, its consumption has to be moderate and conscientious. It may be a bit difficult to get in markets in the United States or elsewhere, but within the Andean lands, this is undoubtedly an easy product to get.
The coca leaf is not only a Peruvian superfood, it is also an important part of the Andean culture. It is one of the most iconic and emblematic plants of the Andean lands. When traveling to Cusco or Machu Picchu, you will surely have your first contact with this magical plant. Traditionally, people chewed this leaf to avoid fatigue and alleviate hunger. Its natural and unrefined consumption has to stop being related to the negative effects of cocaine. The coca leaf is full of minerals, essential vitamins, and alkaloids that help to cope with the great heights of Peru. Coca stimulates the immune system, increasing your body’s ability to metabolize negative compounds in your body. If you plan to go for a hike, a coca tea for altitude sickness can help you feel more energetic and vital.
As with most Peruvian superfoods, Sacha Inchi, or “Maní Inca” was one of the favorite foods of the majestic Incas. This star ingredient is very similar to walnut and was consumed centuries before North American health advocates were aware of it. The Incas used to consume this seed before its popularity grew to give it the title of one of the many Peruvian superfoods. This seed is rich in omega fatty acids, protein, fiber and also contains vitamins A and E. Being able to eat these roasted seeds or use unrefined virgin Sacha Inchi oil has numerous health benefits. It is beneficial for the eyes, hair, skin and reduces cholesterol significantly. The seed and its oil have direct benefits for the skin, hair, and eyes and help reduce cholesterol levels. Some alternative Peruvian ceviche recipes even include this iconic superfood.
Superfoods are considered as such due to their richness in various and beneficial nutrients for health. A single serving of these foods is capable of supplementing a large number of other known foods. The Camu Camu berry is another of the Peruvian superfoods that you cannot miss on your next trip. This small berry with a tangy taste is rich in vitamin C. A single serving of Camu Camu is estimated to have 50 times more vitamin C than can be found in an orange.
Camu Camu is also considered a natural antidepressant. The berry is reddish and grows in the swampy regions of the Peruvian Amazon. The fruit decomposes very quickly, so it is usually rare to see it outside these regions. You can only see it in powder form in most stores and places outside of Peru. If you want to taste it fresh, better take a trip to the source and enjoy the exclusive tourism in Peru.
The Olluco is a tuber that has existed for thousands of years. These have a similar appearance to the potato but are completely different species from a botanical point of view. Its texture, however, is much crunchier and its flavor is also very different. This Peruvian superfood is very popular in the cuisine of all of Peru, including it in many dishes from the Andean lands. It is commonly used in stews and soups, and the spinach-like leaves that come from this plant are also used for fresh and cooked salads. The Olluco is rich in proteins, fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C among other benefits. Therefore, an Olluco broth can be highly beneficial for digestion, in addition to providing good nutritional value to our meals. Today, many renowned chefs decide to reinvent fusion food dishes and add Peruvian superfoods such as Olluco.
Quinoa is not the only Peruvian superfood in seed form. Kiwicha, also known as amaranth, is another Peruvian favorite and is very similar to quinoa, but smaller. Some even choose to call it “mini quinoa”. Kiwicha is a vegetable protein rich in amino acids, fiber, vitamin B, phosphorus, and manganese among others. This ancient seed was used for certain ceremonial rituals by the Andean peoples and the ancient Incas. Today, Kiwicha is considered a gluten-free alternative for making bread and other delicacies. This impressive seed grows on a plant native to South America. Kiwicha is sold in the form of seeds and powder. It is used in endless delicious recipes. Some very popular breakfasts are prepared with Kiwicha. You can find it in some Peruvian street food stalls in the morning.
The favorite food of many vegans and vegetarians due to its high protein content. As with other Peruvian superfoods, the Tarwi is a plant that grows in the Andean lands. This plant has an edible seed very similar in appearance to a bean. Rich in protein and fiber, the nutritious Tarwi legume is another of Peru’s best-kept secrets. Tarwi is a bitter bean that requires constant rinsing to remove certain alkaloids before being used in different traditional Peruvian foods. It is rich in omega fats, minerals, and has high levels of healthy fiber. Tarwi is used in a great variety of traditional dishes belonging to the Andean culture.
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT LESS, YOU JUST HAVE TO EAT RIGHT.”
As you can see, Peru is home to a wide variety of superfoods, many of them native to and originating in the country. It cannot be denied that the great cuisine characteristic of Peru is linked to a large number of healthy ingredients. We hope together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru to have clarified some of the most important Peruvian superfoods. This is just a glimpse of everything you can find in Peru. You can try each of these foods on your next trip to the Andean country. If you want to know about Peruvian gastronomy, you can consult for free with our qualified advisers.