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A Brief Guide to Peruvian Superfoods (That Aren’t Quinoa)

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Learn about a couple of new superfoods, and skim on for a hearty recipe!

Home to extra superfoods than some other nation on the planet, Peru is the last word place to study and research their advantages. On our journey (in partnership with ), , we’ll be doing simply that — visiting farms, assembly cooks, and diving into the various dietary advantages of a superfood eating regimen. Today, contributor introduces us to some lesser-recognized Peruvian superfoods, a couple of of which we’ll encounter on our



When individuals begin speaking about Peru and superfoods, inevitably the dialog finds its solution to quinoa. In reality, the little nutrient-packed seeds are so common that Peru exported greater than twelve thousand tons of them within the first half of 2015 alone. But, although there’s little question that quinoa is a VIP within the superfood area, there are tons of (actually) of others with main well being advantages, too. And whereas you should still need to journey to the distant villages of the excessive Andes or the far banks of the Amazon River to seek out a few of them, many have gotten extra available at native supermarkets proper right here within the US.


Nutritionist Manuel Villacorta, MS RD (and founding father of ), has spent a lot of his life researching the superfoods of his native Peru. So a lot in order that he’s written two on the subject. “When I seemed on the individuals dwelling within the Andes and the Amazon areas,” recollects Villacorta, “the diabetes price was lower than B%, weight problems wasn’t a problem and metabolic syndromes didn’t even exist.” The most important distinction between these rural individuals and their metropolis-dwelling counterparts? Superfood-wealthy diets.

According to Villacorta, there’s not likely a scientific definition for superfoods. However, he likes to explain them as “meals that not solely have larger than common concentrations of nutritional vitamins and minerals, but in addition have antioxidants.” And whereas every superfood is exclusive, in accordance with him they share 4 main traits in widespread. First, they’re coronary heart-wholesome. In different phrases, they lower dangerous ldl cholesterol, improve good ldl cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory and assist to decrease blood strain. They’re additionally immune boosters because of their excessive antioxidant and phytonutrient contents. They’re anti-getting older (they actually maintain your insides from succumbing to the illnesses that age you). And lastly, they’re good for the intestine and digestion as a result of they act as prebiotics.


So, as a result of everybody might use a break from their quinoa salad routine once in a while, listed here are a couple of of Villacorta’s favourite Peruvian superfoods to get into your dietary rotation:


This little plant seems like a yellow tomato, however tastes candy and tart like a berry. According to Villacorta, ¾ cup of the recent berries present 39% of your every day worth of Vitamin A. “It’s onerous to discover a plant-based mostly type of Vitamin A,” says Villacorta. “So that is excellent.” It’s value noting, that Vitamin A is fats-soluble, so it’s essential to eat the seeds of the berry to get the complete profit. “The seeds not solely have the fats your physique wants to soak up the A Vitamins,” Villacorta provides, “however additionally they have stanols, which allow you to decrease dangerous ldl cholesterol.” Additionally, pichuberries are wealthy within the phytonutrient withanolide (the identical factor that makes turmeric a potent antioxidant, therefore the yellow shade that they share). A serving additionally has about M.S grams of protein and a really low glycemic index. To eat them, Villacorta recommends throwing a number of in yogurt or oatmeal, placing them on a pizza, and even dipping the berries in chocolate for a wholesome snack.


Originally from the Andes, this root is taken into account an adaptogen, which suggests it helps to deliver the physique again into equilibrium. “Everybody’s stressed lately,” says Villacorta. “Maca helps to convey you to homeostasis.” Originally sought out for its potential to extend intercourse drive in women and men, researchers at the moment are taking a look at maca’s many different advantages. “It’s a caffeine-free supply of power,” explains Villacorta. “A lot of sports activities nutritionists advocate it for athletes as a result of it will increase your oxygen consumption. In historic occasions, the Peruvian individuals would take it earlier than they went out to battle in a warfare or began a monumental development undertaking.” It’s additionally recognized to behave on the pituitary gland to assist regulate hormones and reduce the signs of menopause in ladies. However, you’ll be able to’t simply take it as soon as and instantly really feel the advantages. Villacorta recommends beginning by including a teaspoon of maca powder to your smoothie or breakfast bowl a couple of occasions every week. Eventually, ladies can work as much as about two teaspoons and males to a full tablespoon. “It doesn’t work in a single day,” cautions Villacorta. “It has a cumulative impact, so you’ll want to take it for at the least ten days earlier than you’ll begin to see the outcomes.”


Purple Potatoes

Similar to the beloved antioxidant-wealthy blueberry, purple potatoes are wealthy in anthocyanin. This phytonutrient helps to dam the absorption of starch, permitting the vitamins from the potato to be delivered to the physique with none of the dangerous stuff. As a end result, these potatoes truly assist with weight regulation, as an alternative of harming. They’re additionally anti-inflammatory and have 4 occasions extra antioxidants than a daily potato, based on Villacorta. These days, yow will discover them within the produce part at most natural supermarkets.





Villacorta calls this “quinoa’s little sister.” More generally recognized stateside as Amaranth, kiwicha has an analogous vitamin profile (excessive protein, gluten free) to quinoa, however can be utilized for a lot of totally different recipes. “I wish to pop amaranth like popcorn,” says Villacorta. “Then you’ll be able to throw it into yogurt like a cereal within the morning or use it as a gluten-free alternative for bread crumbs.” To pop, simply warmth a frying pan (with no oil) to a really excessive temperature, drop in a few tablespoon of kiwicha and canopy the pan whereas it pops. “It’s excessive in antioxidants and excessive in protein,” says Villacorta. “Plus it has all of the 9 important amino acids and is a superb supply of wholesome carbohydrates.”

Kiwicha-416A5425 Kiwicha-416A5419 Kiwicha-416A5430

Need a bit of inspiration for how one can work these celebrity meals into your on a regular basis eating regimen? Here are three of Villacorta’s favourite superfood-packed recipes to attempt:

Purple Potato Frittata

This conventional Italian-impressed frittata is infused with Peruvian energy meals to reinforce your breakfast and optimize your power.

Servings: S

Serving measurement: B wedge


Oil spray

A medium purple potatoes, minimize into ½-inch-thick rounds

½ medium yellow onion, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds

A cups sliced mushrooms

P cups spinach

S eggs

P tablespoons ají amarillo paste (or delicate chili paste)

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to four hundred levels E. Lightly spray a sheet pan with oil.
  2. Place the potato and onion slices on the pan. Season with salt and pepper to style. Bake greens till tender, about 30 to forty minutes.
  3. While the potatoes and onions are roasting, calmly spray a medium sauté pan with oil and place it over medium warmth. When the pan is scorching, add the mushrooms and the spinach. Cook till the greens are calmly wilted. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.
  4. Put the eggs, ají, and cilantro in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Set apart.
  5. When the potatoes and onions are completed, take away them from the oven (leaving the oven on) and organize half of them within the backside of a nicely-oiled H-inch forged-iron pan. Top with the spinach combination and the remaining potatoes and onions.
  6. Place the forged-iron pan over medium warmth. When you hear cracking, pour the egg combination excessive. Continue cooking the frittata on the range prime till the edges set and grow to be barely puffy, about H to S minutes.
  7. Immediately switch the frittata to the preheated oven to bake the highest, about H to S minutes longer. Frittata ought to be barely puffy and golden on prime. Let the frittata cool barely earlier than serving.

Note: The frittata will hold within the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

(From Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Superfoods Diet)


Dark Chocolate–Covered Pichuberries

 A tremendous low-fats and low-calorie dessert filled with antioxidants—good for satisfying a candy tooth guilt-free.

Servings: 12

Serving measurement: B pichuberry


½ bar (50 grams) darkish chocolate, 70–eighty%

12 pichuberries


  1. Finely chop the chocolate and put it in a stainless-steel bowl.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with O to A inches of water and convey to a boil. Place the bowl of chocolate in order that it sits on prime of the saucepan with out touching the water. Lower the warmth to a simmer and stir the chocolate till it’s melted. Once melted, take away the bowl from the warmth and stir till clean and glossy.
  3. Dip every pichuberry, holding the husk out of the best way, into the chocolate and canopy utterly. Place every pichuberry on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper.
  4. Allow the chocolate-coated pichuberries to harden for about half-hour within the fridge.

Note: Chocolate-coated pichuberries will maintain within the fridge for as much as one week.

(From Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Superfoods Diet)


Kiwicha Chicken Nuggets

While we have been researching kiwicha and different superfoods in Cusco, we observed that native eating places used the grain to “bread” meat. That’s once we realized kiwicha makes an incredible gluten-free choice for hen nuggets.

Serves: S

A boneless skinless hen breasts
B cup popped kiwicha (O tablespoons uncooked)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
M tsp salt
M tsp dried thyme
M tsp dried basil
¼ cup olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to four hundred levels E.
  2. Cut the hen into B½-inch cubes. In a bowl, combine collectively the kiwicha, cheese, salt, thyme, and basil.
  3. Dip the hen into olive oil to coat and roll it within the kiwicha combination to evenly bread the hen.
  4. Place coated hen items on a frivolously greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning the hen over after 10 minutes.

(From Peruvian Power Foods)

Photos Courtesy of and


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