The Amazon's Beauty Secret
Cupuacu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) is a delicious melon-sized fruit with creamy white pulp that grows in the drainage basin of the Amazon in northern parts of Brazil. Cupuacu is known in the Amazon as “the pharmacy in a fruit” and could be considered one of the most nutritionally beneficial superfruits ever introduced to the outside world. As a cousin of the cacao fruit, cupuacu has a prized tropical flavor combining elements of chocolate, bananas, pear, passion fruit and pineapple.
Benefits of the Cupuacu Fruit
Has a unique polyphenolAntioxidants can help protect our bodies against the cell-damaging effects of free radicals, which can be produced by various factors such as stress, pollution, sunlight, or radiation. called theograndinAntioxidants can help protect our bodies against the cell-damaging effects of free radicals, which can be produced by various factors such as stress, pollution, sunlight, or radiation., as well as many other antioxidants.
Contains Omega-6 and Omega-9 essential fatty acidsOmega-6 and Omega-9 essential fatty acids can help maintain cholesterol levels in the body. in proportions similar to olive oil
Rich in essential and nonessential amino acidsAmino acids are the building blocks of the body’s proteins. As such, they can help regulate and sustain many of the body’s functions, such as tissue repair and nutrient absorption.
Contains essential vitamins such as Vitamin AVitamin A may contribute to maintenance of vision, immune functions, cell integrity, and the moisture & health of skin., Vitamins B1(thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin)Vitamins B1(thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), may help regulate metabolism, support cell growth and contribute to maintenance of mental function., Vitamin CVitamin C can help the body fight infection and support bone health., and Vitamin E.Vitamin E can help increase the body’s immune response and may contribute to maintenance of heart health and healthy skin.
Contains minerals including calciumCalcium can help promote the maintenance of bones and healthy muscle function., ironIron carries oxygen to the cells in the body through its role in creating hemoglobin., magnesiumMagnesium can help to release energy and absorb nutrients in our foods and can contribute to a healthy immune function and maintenance of healthy bones., potassiumPotassium can help maintain a healthy blood pressure level., seleniumSelenium can contribute to efficiency of the immune system, and can help regulate the effects of thyroid hormones on fat metabolism., copperCopper can help the body absorb iron to more easily transport oxygen to important tissues., manganeseManganese can help the body maintain healthy bone, cartilage, and connective tissues., phosphorus, and zinc.
Good source of immunity-supporting plant sterolsPlant sterols (beta-sitosterols, campesterol and stigmasterol) can reduce blood cholesterol, and can help promote healthy cardiovascular and digestive systems.
The History of Cupuacu
The cupuacu tree, which is a relative of the cocoa tree, can be literally translated as “Food of the Gods.” It was greatly revered among ancient South American cultures for both its taste and medicinal properties.
During the days of shamanistic tradition, cupuacu fruits were often given to pregnant women or newlyweds as heralds of blessings and fertility. In turn, the seeds of the fruit were considered a possible remedy for abdominal pain.
Today, cupuacu is the official fruit of Pará, a state in northern Brazil, and is used to make juices, smoothies, jellies, and desserts.
The cupuacu seeds, on the other hand, are used to make a more nutrient-dense, locally-available version of faux chocolate known as “cupualte.”
Cupuacu is also used a great deal by the cosmetics industry, as its hydrating nutrients and emollient properties are similar to cocoa butter.
Cupuacu is harvested as a sustainable rainforest product from the Amazon. It is common throughout the Amazon drainage basin where the trees grow wild under the canopy of the rainforest and preserve the natural ecosystem of the region. What’s more, since it grows naturally throughout Brazil and can be harvested in between more intensive harvests like acai, the popular spread of cupuacu is uniquely positioned to benefit the people of the Amazon most directly.
That being said, cupuacu does require some patience. Cupuacu trees don’t produce fruit that humans can eat until they are at least five or six years old. Once the tree begins producing fruit, the ripening and harvesting will generally occur during the rainy season between January and April.
Once ripe, the fuzzy and oblong fruits look like a mashup between a coconut, a papaya, a melon, and a potato. They are covered with a thick outer skin and are harvested for both their pulp and their seeds.