(NaturalNews) You may have heard of the cupuacu fruit on one of the morning shows on the networks, but it's not likely you've seen it unless you eat at authentic Brazilian restaurants. This sweet cousin of cocoa, however, may be the greatest entrant into the superfruits category thus far.
Cupuacu (pronounced "coo poo wa soo") is very well known in South America, but largely unknown elsewhere. It is considered a delicacy in restaurants in Rio and Sao Paulo, Brazil and the cupuacu tree itself grows in the rainforests of South America.
Cupuacu belongs to the cocoa family and the tree grows to be twelve to twenty feet high. Natives have collected the fruits of the cupuacu tree as a primary food source during the rainy season for centuries. The fruits are hard on the outside, similar to a coconut (though larger and more football-shaped). The pulp is creamy and exotic to the taste.
The pulp of the cupuacu is made into all kinds of delicacies including ice cream, juice, jam, and more. The juice is drunk like an energy drink and has the same boosting effect of coffee, but without any caffeine.
Natives in the rain forest, besides eating the fruits, also save the "beans" (seeds). These are blessed by shamans and given to people as a cure for abdominal pains, to ease childbirth, and to increase vigor and potency for couples who want to have children.
Nutrients in Cupuacu The secret to the fruit's power is in the nutrient content. Cupuacu is extremely nutrient-dense. Compared to the popular acai berry, cupuacu has more nutrients per pound than the little berries do.
It's primary beneficial ingredient is the phytonutrient polyphenols (theograndins) it contains. These have a number of health benefits. In addition, cupuacu is heavy with Vitamins B1, B2, B3 (Niacin), both fatty and amino acids, at least nine antioxidants (including Vitamins A and C), and a high flavanoid content. Other nutrients include calcium, selenium, and more.
All of these nutrients combine to affect things in the body such as immune system boosting, evening out the metabolism, lowering blood pressure, and more. The vitamins and nutrients act as an instant energy booster (without the down that caffeine has) and its lipid peroxidation inhibition lowers cholesterol levels.
NaturalNews readers will need no explanation for the many benefits of antioxidants, including free radical neutralization.
Most of the cupuacu sources currently available to those of us in North America or Europe are either juices or powders. Often the juice is mixed with acai to harmonize benefits as well as to lower costs for the producer, since cupuacu is generally cheaper than acai. Juice or straight pulp is, of course, the best way to get cupuacu.
Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming in the USA. His blogs cover organic/sustainable living and environmental considerations (AaronsEnvironMental.com) and the science debunking mainstream medical and proving alternatives (HiddenHealthScience.com).