Peru is a land that packs a punch when it comes to nutrition.
Most South American countries have their native foods that become somewhat trendy once they hit America, and rightly so. The people of each country take pride in their food, from soil and seed to your table.
I happen to have an affinity for the country of Peru, as my Mom was born in Lima, and I have discovered that most nutrition from that region truly resonates with my dietary habits and lifestyle.
The Incan Indians are legendary in tending to the crops at very high altitudes in the Andes’ mountains. Their culture thrives on cultivating every aspect of the growing process with each of these foods and making sure that when it is delivered to your table, it is pure and natural.
Peru is one of the first few countries who have won over blocking the invasion of Monsanto and their GMO ugliness, as the people take major pride in their land and crops. The Inca natives who work so diligently at maintaining their food in its original state were not about to have a big American corporation take over what they deem so precious.
The following foods are not only considered to be some of the most nutritious on the planet, but they have some power-packed anti-aging properties as well:
1. Maca: This indelible root is a potent ancient super food used by Andean societies as a source of nourishment and healing for thousands of years. It is excellent when used for energy. Both women and men find it useful to aid in libido and balancing the endocrine system. It is available in both powder, pill and root form, yet does have its side effects and warnings.
Too much of a good thing can be harmful, as any supplement label will attest, yet maca has been known to help women with menopause symptoms and boost testosterone levels in men. Either way, a great energy supplement in shakes or smoothies when taken liberally and under the guidance of a knowledgeable professional.
2. Camu camu: This tropical berry is the single most potent source of Vitamin C on the planet. Ounce for ounce it has 50 times the Vitamin C content of a single orange. Due to the high levels of Vitamin C, camu camu has been known to support the collagen in skin to fight wrinkles, increase immune function, and lower blood pressure levels.
3. Purple potatoes: These small spuds are not just a colorful novelty, they actually have high doses of anthocyanin, a phytochemical that acts as an antioxidant absorbed directly into your bloodstream after eating, therefore it slows down the signs of aging. There are roughly 4000 varieties of potatoes originating in Peru, but purple potatoes are seemingly the most popular.
4. Sweet potatoes: Dubbed one of the healthiest and most nutritious potatoes around, this orange-colored tuber is extremely high in beta carotene, and is a preventative for the risks of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Sweet potatoes have also been known to lower heart attack risks in men. Peru grows the most potato varieties of any country, and this versatile seasonal spud is just one of the super foods Americans gravitate towards when cooking as a substitute for grain-laden recipes.
5. Quinoa: A small, lightly pearled grain that has become a trendy protein source for vegetarians and vegans. It is one of the rare plant-based foods that provides all nine of the essential amino acids that your body can’t make itself, making it a complete protein. While quinoa is considered a whole grain, it is actually a seed but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice, barley, etc.
It is typically used in stir fry dishes, casseroles, and as a good post-recovery workout food. Quinoa is gluten and cholesterol-free and is almost always organic. It has been a staple for the Peruvians for thousands of years, as it is one of the few crops grown in the high altitudes of the Andes region. It is packed with amino acids and many prominent minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and selenium.
The high levels of magnesium alone promotes skin elasticity and regenerates skin cells. Enough can’t be said about this amazing food and its ability to nourish and keep us healthy forever.
6. Ceviche: This raw fish dish is made with fresh sea bass or red snapper caught off the waters of South America. Mixed with cilantro, tomatoes, chilli peppers and marinated in lime or lemon juice, this superb Peruvian fish dish is loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, and phosphorous. The roots of ceviche was disputed for years, however it is now known that the origin lies in present-day Peru. Each ingredient listed in the making of ceviche is highly effective in all areas of overall health and aging.
There is another surprising super anti-aging food native to Peru that most of us might have thought otherwise: avocados.
Avocados were said to originate in Mexico, however the Peruvians were growing them for much longer, dating back to the time of the early Incas. While it is an excellent monounsaturated fat source, avocados are a staple for practically every Latin meal. With the big vitamin and mineral content of an avocado, eating one avocado per day can aid in weight loss, skin enhancement, and contribute to the complete protein package as well.
These powerful Peruvian foods are becoming so popular in the United States that the people of that gorgeous, rich land are being supplied with opportunities and jobs beyond what the original Incans had imagined as possible.
If we can consume these foods with the idea about good nutrition coming first, then no doubt all of the benefits regarding heart health, skin health, and full anti-aging properties will be a byproduct as well.
I have yet to visit this land that is a significant part of my heritage, but safe to say traveling there is tops on my bucket list for the next few years, if not sooner.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise