Lucuma | Huacachina Peru | Superfoods in Peru | Peruvian Superfoods
Why You Should Be Eating Peruvian Superfoods
Why the focus on Peruvian superfoods and what are some of your favorites?
I'm a registered dietician so I know all foods; however, in the past three to four years, I've focused on Peruvian superfoods because I've started to see them more and more in the supermarkets. I love amaranth and kiwicha seeds. Kiwicha is like quinoa's little sister—it's gluten-free, full of protein and antioxidants and you can pop it like popcorn and eat it like a cereal for breakfast or use it in place of bread crumbs. Purple potatoes are another Peruvian superfood that I'm seeing more and more of in the supermarkets and Pichuberry, which comes from the Andes, is a new fruit to the United States. Maca is very popular right now. Take maca juice before you exercise and it gives you this great energy; the Incas took maca to fight war and it's known to increase strength and tone and build muscle. The thing is that maca needs to be processed down—people usually take it in liquid or powder form, so I recommend YouthH2O. It has three superfoods that you can't really eat whole—maca, camu, which has the highest content of vitamin C of any fruit on the planet, and purple corn, which is a beauty enhancer and decreases inflammation.
Do you only advise taking supplements if you can't eat the foods whole?
That's exactly it. I obviously recommend to eat whole food first. Depending on case by case, I recommend taking a B complex or omega-3 and if a client is vegetarian or vegan or has an allergy and their diet is sort of insufficient, that's when I ask them to take a supplement.
We hear corn and potatoes and think they have no real nutritional value.
It's the purple soil it grows in. The purple potato has antioxidants which research has shown reduces blood pressure and the content of antiphentermines in purple potatoes and purple corn actually helps to block the absorption of carbohydrates, so they're great for someone who is trying to lose weight but doesn't wan to cut out carbohydrates.
What's your ideal breakfast?
You definitely want to combine carbohydrates and protein—one gives you immediate energy and the other helps sustain the energy throughout the day. I like a smoothie because it's quick and you can put a lot of nutrients in: Combine fruits with vegetables, and add fat with chia seeds, walnuts or avocado; without adding a little bit of fat you lose out on the benefits of vital nutrients. You can add protein and shot of youthH2O, too. People tend to concentrate on only green smoothies, but I would suggest changing the colors of your smoothies—think red, yellow, orange, green, purple—for a different set of nutrients.
What should you eat for a mid-afternoon energy boost?
I like to eat Greek yogurt in the afternoon for protein and you can incorporate dates, dried figs and apricots.
What do you tell people who avoid fruit because of the high sugar?
Fruit is amazing—don't listen to anyone who tells you to cut out fruit. However, it does have sugar, naturally-occurring but still sugar nonetheless, so normally I recommend to eat a cup or one medium size fruit. Because if you just have a fruit juice and you don't add anything else, your glucose is going to spike tremendously in the morning and you're going to crash later.
Video: Peruvian Superfoods | Gizzi Erskine | Wild Dish
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