Lucuma and amaranth are some of the lesser-known Latin American superfoods
From Mexico to South America, these Latin American superfoods are some of the most nutritious foods out there and are packed with health benefits. According to NBC News, some of the most popular items found in health food stores, such as quinoa and acai berries, originate from Latin America. But were you ever aware of foods like maca root, amaranth, and lucuma?
These extraordinary Latin American superfoods were farmed and used by indigenous people from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. They’re nutritious, colorful, delicious, and simple to incorporate into your diet. We’ll be going over each and every one one of these special superfoods to keep you informed.
Native to South America and the high Andes mountains of Peru, the maca root was found in the 1980s at the Meseta de Bombón plateau close to Lake Junin. It can be freshly prepared as a root vegetable or dried and ground into flour for baking or used as a nutritional supplement. Maca root is abundant in iron and iodine, which promotes healthy cells and keeps the metabolism in check. Its high potassium content aids digestion and relaxes muscles.
You might mistaken the lucuma as an avocado, but this hard, green Peruvian fruit actually contains yellow-colored meat. The pulp of a raw lucuma fruit has a somewhat sweet flavor, and Lucuma powder has a creamy potato-like flavor with caramel undertones. Lucuma possesses anti-inflammatory qualities, anti-cancer properties, and high iron and vitamin B3 levels. It’s one of our favorite Latin American superfoods.
Cultivated in Mexico and Central America, amaranth is a grain that’s collected from the genus of the perennial plant. Amaranth has a nutty flavor and is crunchy in texture, similar to quinoa. It’s also rich in protein, vitamin B6, and dietary fiber and minerals. In Mexico, amaranth is a popular snack and sometimes served with puffed rice and chocolate.
Originating from the Andean region of the northwestern part of South America, Quinoa is a crop farmed for its edible seeds and belongs to the same plant family as amaranth. Those seeds are a complete protein, meaning it’s made up of all nine necessary amino acids. Like its amaranth cousin, Quinoa is high in B vitamins, protein, and dietary fiber and minerals. It’s also gluten-free!
By now we’re most likely very familiar with acai berries, the last item on our Latin American superfoods list. The acai species is found mostly in the marshes and floodplains in eastern Amazonia. This earthy and sweet berry is filled with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins A and C, as well as iron, calcium, and dietary fiber.