In this crucial moment of needing to support our immune systems so they can work optimally for us, we are all wondering where to turn. We are seeking answers to what practices we should incorporate into our lives and what foods are best to eat. And, with an aligned intention and perhaps a bit of a leap of faith (“What even is this thing?”), we take a collective inhale and turn to camu.
At this point, it’s possible you’re vaguely aware that camu contains more vitamin C than any other known food on earth. Perhaps you’ve even added it to your shopping cart or have begun figuring out ways to incorporate it into your meals. But at the end of the day you’re still left wondering…what even is camu?
Camu (officially named camu camu) is a sour berry, about the size and texture of a cherry. It grows on small shrub-like trees along rivers in wet, tropical climates (including the Peruvian Amazon, which is where Navitas Organics’ camu comes from) and is harvested by canoe! Fascinatingly, camu berries grow underwater during Amazonian flood season, which lasts for nearly half of the year. This resiliency and ability to withstand such extreme natural conditions is part of how camu develops its extremely dense nutritional content.
The sour-tart flavor of the camu berry is also a result of its nutritional content. One of my favorite fun facts about nutrition is that bitter, sour and tart flavors in foods are often reflective of the abundant nutrients in them—like dandelion greens or broccoli rabe, for example, which are intensely bitter and also super high in nutrients. (Food is crazy, I know.)
Camu is most revered for its truly remarkable vitamin C content; as mentioned before, it is nature’s most abundant source! Let’s make that concrete. One teaspoon of Navitas Organics Camu Powder provides 760% daily value of vitamin C (in its complex, natural form, no less—which is the best way to support immunity and overall health). We can also assess camu by comparing it to an orange—another gift of nature that we turn to as a good source of vitamin C. A standard sized, 141g orange contains 63mg vitamin C, while a single one teaspoon serving of Camu Powder contains 682mg vitamin C*. That’s 10 times as much!
We tend to associate vitamin C with immune health—for which it is a vital nutrient—but it actually plays many additional, equally crucial functions in our bodies. Many vitamins, vitamin C included, fall into the nutrient category of antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential protectors of our cells, fighting off damage we inflict upon them from everyday acts of living. This cellular protection is necessary for healthy skin, reduced inflammation, sustained immunity and overall physical longevity. The consumption of vitamin C alongside particular amino acids (the building blocks of protein) is particularly important for skin health, as it catalyzes collagen production in our bodies.
There’s no question that vitamin C is a critical nutrient for our physical health—truly all the time, but especially when our immune systems need some extra fortification. Incorporating Navitas Organics Camu Powder into your diet is an incredible way to support your body, as it delivers a concentrated amount of vitamin C in as close to its complex, natural form as we can access (considering we live in a region where whole camu berries aren’t available). Our Camu Powder is made from certified organic, traditionally grown, gently dried and ground whole camu berries—with no additives at all, including sugar.
Ultimately, at Navitas, we believe in the fortifying and healing power of food. We are turning to nutrient-dense foods now more than ever and are humbled by the opportunity to help you do the same. Stay safe and well out there!
*USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.
Meredith is Navitas Organics’ Product and Education Specialist. The first Navitas product she ever purchased was Cacao Powder, with which she is still massively obsessed. A contemporary art museum educator in what now feels like a past life, Meredith is passionate about education and will talk your ear off about food, health, and mindfulness if you let her.