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5 Peruvian Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

April 6, 2016

Peru is beginning to become known for a lot more than just Machu Picchu and epic hikes—it’s superfood and culinary nation.

Today chefs are raving about the cuisine that they once reserved for France and Peruvian restaurants and are learning to cook with the various superfoods.

Superfoods provide tremendous health benefits. They boost heart, bone and brain health, improve immune system function, and increase energy, strength and sex drive.

Below five of our favorite common Peruvian superfoods are detailed. Try adding them to your diet and let us know what you think.

1. Yacon

High in the Andes grows this sweet and juicy cruch, used in the native habitats as both a delicious food and an effective treatment for various ailments. It’s often used as a healthy substitute for sugar and one of its known as being naturally high in inulin, a complex sugar that breaks down slowly into fructooligosaccharides (FOS). This is useful because the sugar in inulin is not digestable and it simply passes through the body (Huffington Post’s Manuel Villacorta, a registered dietitian). It also contains around half the calories of an average simple source, as well as promotes the healthy production of probiotics for a better digestion and colon health.

2. Quinoa

Quinoa is an Andean super seed that’s a food staple grown from the coast to high in the Andes (around 4,000 meters above sea level), and has a protein content of 18 percent. It’s almost the perfect food—high in protein, low in carbs, with an eight-pack of essential amino acids. This is an essential food to any vegan or vegetarian diet.

3. Maca

This root of the epidiummeyenii grows high in the Central Andean Region of Peru and has traditionally been used to natives to improve sexuality and fertility. In fact, during the Incan empire, it was appreciated as agift from the gods. It is easy to take as a pill or a powder and a a hangover miracle cure. In addition, it is greatly helpful for women going through menopause since it helps to strengthen the endocrines glands.

4. Cacao

Sure, people think of eating chocolate as a “guilty pleasure,” but cacao is fairly healthy, natural, delicious, and rich in nutrients. It’s also originally from Peru.

Cacao has four times as many antioxidants as green tea, much more than blueberries, or red wine. It’s also a delicious addition to desserts, cereals, and smoothies.


5. Sachu Inchi 

In Quechu, Sachu Inchi means “The People’s Seed.” It is grown on vines in the Peruvian Amazon and is harvested from star-shaped seed pods, which have been consumed by indigenous tribes dating back to the Indas for their various health benefits. It has some of the highest concentrations of Omegas in any known food. They’re also easy to find in the west today.

Experience Peru’s superfoods for yourself. Join us along with Free People on FP Escapes from July 16–24. Learn more. 

Living every single day for the mat, Sara is a yoga teacher, a published yoga writer and storyteller, an innovative yoga marketer, a YOGANONYMOUS editor, and a dedicated yoga student.

Sara strives to live from the connection of her head and her heart and encourages her students and clients to do the same by motivating them to step into their full powerful purpose through the transformational magic of yoga.

When not on the mat, you can find this earth sign hiking up a mountain in the beautiful Boulder, Colo., where she’s based or shredding down a ski hill.