Also known as Brazilian Cocoa or the large-flowered cocoa, Cupuacu goes by the scientific name Theobroma grandiflorum. This tree, which grows up to 65 feet high, is commonly found in the dense jungles of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.
Similar to its cousin, the famous cocoa, the Cupuacu tree bears a big melon-like fruit with a tasty white pulp in the center. The flavor is said to be a combination of the wonderful tastes of chocolate and pineapple.
Cupuacu Health Benefits
Apart from being a staple food of the South Americans, Cupuacu has been touted as the “pharmacy in a fruit” – and it comes as no surprise why. Used for hundreds of years, Cupuacu comes with a bevy of health benefits that have been proven by many reputable studies:
Cupuacu reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Flavonoid phytonutrients are antioxidants known to give fruits and vegetables its vibrant colors. However, they offer more than just that. Phytonutrients found in Cupuacu increases antioxidant capacity and prevents lipid peroxidation, both of which can prevent the development of heart disease.
Apart from phytonutrients, Cupuacu is also rich in fiber, which is effective in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol. Such can contribute to the development of high blood pressure and heart conditions in the long run. With these substances, Cupuacu can maintain good heart health without the need for expensive, side effect-laden medications.
Cupuacu improves Digestive Health
It goes without saying that a high-fiber diet does wonders for the body. While vegetables and fruits are the sources that often come into mind, you will be glad to know that the Cupuacu peel is rich in fiber as well.
The peel is often made into baking flour containing 78.28% of insoluble fiber. This high fiber content brings about many benefits, such as regular bowel movements and a lower risk of developing hemorrhoids and other colon diseases.
Cupuacu is also rich in Probiotics, known to many as “good bacteria.” These help move food and maintain the health of your digestive system, especially during times when you are sick and need to take antibiotics.
One of the most common and heralded strains of probiotics is Lactobacillus, species plantarum 81 and 90 of which have been found in Cupuacu fruit. These microorganisms have been proven beneficial in addressing many gut problems, such as diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Cupuacu enhances Glucose Control
The fiber in Cupuacu is nothing short of a miracle, as it helps control blood sugar levels, which is especially important in patients with or at risk of developing diabetes.
Add to that, Cupuacu also contains 43% of Oleic Acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid which prevents insulin resistance in individuals with high bad cholesterol levels.
Cupuacu prevents Inflammation and its Related Illnesses
Cupuacu is teeming with nine antioxidants, which are natural substances that protect the cells from the damage inflicted by disease-causing free radicals.
The most famous of these is Theograndin, which is unique in Cupuacu and cannot be found in its cousin, Cacao.
Antioxidants in Cupuacu are known to prevent inflammation, which has been attributed to the development of several disorders, such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and erectile dysfunction.
Cupuacu makes this amazing feat possible through its phytonutrient polyphenols, which has been known to reduce inflammation and promote a variety of health benefits in the long run.
Cupuacu enhances Immunity
Ascorbic Acid is one of the vital vitamins for the body. Apart from being an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps tissues to heal faster and better. At 17 mg of Ascorbic Acid per every 100 gram of fruit, Cupuacu is one of the best natural sources of Vitamin C.
With that being said, it proves to be a delicious way to boost your immunity and defend yourself from colds, cough, and other communicable diseases. Note: to get the highest concentration of Vitamin C that Cupuacu has to offer, opt for fresh pulp instead of frozen ones.
Another element that makes Cupuacu a good booster of immunity is its community of probiotics, as was mentioned above. These can boost your immunity against colds, allergies, eczema, and other conditions that affect the mouth and female reproductive system.
Cupuacu diminishes Fatigue and Improves Memory and Learning
Are you too tired because of your strenuous daily activities? Do you find yourself spacing out because of this?
You need not fret anymore as Cupuacu can help reduce your fatigue – and improve your mental functioning as well.
These wonderful feats are made possible by the substance Theacrine, which is found in Cupuacu and Camellia assamica (Kucha,) among many other delicacies.
A study by Li has showed that Theacrine in Cupuacu can relieve fatigue – and even reverse the memory and learning impairments caused by excess tiredness.
Cupuacu relieves Pain Naturally
Most of us would turn to pills to ease the pain away. However, you can do away with the usual headache and body pains naturally and deliciously – with Cupuacu, of course.
A study by Wang et al has shown that one of its active ingredients, Theacrine, has been known to produce pain relief in tested subjects. This is one of the reasons why ancient South Americans, for the longest time, have used Cupuacu to reduce pain in people suffering from stomachaches, as well as in women undergoing the throes of childbirth.
Cupuacu contributes to Healthy Weight Loss
It has been said that Cupuacu is rich in insoluble fiber. Apart from its benefits on the heart, Cupuacu’s fiber content is something you ought to celebrate especially if you have a hard time losing the excess pounds.
Since the fiber in Cupuacu is filling, it curbs overeating, which can lead to weight gain. Most importantly, Cupuacu is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, you are sure to achieve a slimmer body in a delicious and healthier way.
Cupuacu moisturizes Skin Better
In terms of skin health and beautification, nothing comes close to the prowess of Cupuacu butter, not even the well-publicized shea butter or lanolin. It is absorbed by the skin faster and can support 440% of its weight in water, as such it is deemed a better moisturizing and plumping agent compared to the aforementioned substances.
Apart from hydration, Cupuacu is known to provide other benefits to the skin as well. For one, it contains antioxidants which can retard the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin. Most importantly, it can absorb damaging UV rays, prolonged exposure to which can cause premature aging and certain skin cancers.
How to Use Cupuacu
Basically everything you can find in the Cupuacu fruit is useful. The fragrant pulp can be eaten raw, or it can be used as an ingredient for a variety of food products, food supplements, even pills.
It can also be used to make beverages, such as Cupuacu shake – or liquor even! Cupuacu seeds can be used to make cupualte, a chocolate-like food that is more nutritious and heat-resistant than its popular counterpart. If you want a more convenient form of Cupuacu to take, you can also use the ground seeds to make a cupualte beverage.
Its peel, on the other hand, can be utilized to make high-fiber flour. You can use this in lieu of regular floor for your favorite breads and pastries.
Apart from nourishing your tummy, Cupuacu can also nourish your skin. It is the source of the world-famous Cupuacu butter, a hydrating element that can be added to cosmetic products.
If you want to create a Cupuacu cosmetic concoction by yourself, use 2 to 20% of Cupuacu butter for lotions or creams. As for soap and hair conditioners, 2 to 10% of Cupuacu butter is advised.
You can use anywhere from 5 to 100% of the Cupuacu butter for great moisturizing salves.
The time of cocoa has gone. There’s a bigger (literally) and healthier fruit that has taken the world by storm: its cousin, the Cupuacu.
Even with fairly limited research done on this great plant, it shows that it reaps a lot of benefits – and maybe a few more that we don’t know about. So if you are looking for a delicious fruit that can improve your health, then this is the perfect food for you!