DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF PERUVIAN SUPERFOODS THIS RAMADAN
Peru shares its top produce for happy and healthy eating during the holy month
With the holy month of Ramadan on the horizon, GCC citizens are looking forward to spending time with loved ones, sharing memories and creating new experiences over daily Iftar and Suhoor meals. With nighttime tables laden with favorite foods, following the correct diet can be vital in maintaining stable energy levels and ensuring optimum wellbeing during this special time of year.
With its mega diversity, ancient wisdom, rich culinary traditions and strong trading links with the UAE, Peru is the ideal country to turn to for wellness boosting gastronomy inspiration for the month ahead. Here, Peru shares its superfood heroes in the form of fruits, vegetables, tubers, roots, grains and riches from the sea that have been conquering international markets for years.
All of these ingredients are readily available across the UAE.
Avocadoes are one of nature’s most popular gifts, with global demand growing 5% per year and with Peru the world’s second largest exporting country. High in fibre, folic acid, omega 3 potassium and magnesium, these super fruits are also packed with flavour to enhance an array of salads, soups and hot and cold dishes.
Peru is the world’s largest blueberry exporter, offering consumers around the world the benefit of this super-charged berry that offers abundant natural pigments and antioxidants. The fruits contain bioflavonoids and vitamin A, which can contribute to night vision.
This rich red fruit is high in antioxidants such as tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Their attractive seeds also pack a visual punch to beautify dishes. They can be eaten in a multitude of ways including fresh, sprinkled over salads or side dishes, in juices, preserves, yoghurts, ice cream and also used as an extract.
Peru is one of the largest global exporters of mango, including the Kent, Edward, Haden and Tommy Atkins variety. Widely appreciated for its sweet and intense flavour, mangoes are also very rich in vitamins A and C, minerals, fibres and antioxidants, whilst providing only low amounts of fat and sodium.
PERUVIAN VEGETABLES: TOP PICKS
Olives contain large quantities of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are beneficial to a number of bodily functions and help stave off heart disease. Other nutrients include vitamin A, antioxidants, sodium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and iodine.
Peru is the first exporter of asparagus worldwide, reaching 80 countries around the world, including the UAE. Its high fibre and water content helps maintain a healthy digestive tract, reducing the risk of colon cancer. It is also a strong source of folic acid for pregnant women.
Peru is one of the centers of origin of the capsicum and boasts over 50 variants of chili peppers. A rich source of fibre, vitamins A, C, K and B6 and also potassium, these fiery vegetables add a lively kick to sauces, pickles and used fresh to add spice and zest to a variety of hot dishes.
GRAINS AND TUBERS: TOP PICKS
Purple corn has acquired great importance owing to its high content of antioxidants, which have shown to lower blood pressure in experimental studies. It is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, as well as adding colour to an array of recipes.
Peru is the world’s number leading producer and exporter of this popular grain. Due to its rich composition in nutrients, this superfood has long been used as a complete food by NASA, who offer it to astronauts during space travel. Quinoa provides proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and phosphorous and is best used in salads, flour and patisserie.
Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered or as an oil or juice. It is a close relation of turmeric, cardamom and galangal, and is known to offer powerful medicinal qualities, from reducing nausea and pain to helping with osteoarthritis.
Maca is a native plant from the Andes that offers multiple benefits to the health of those who consume it, due to its high nutritional and medicinal value. The consumption of maca is linked to a low body mass index and low blood pressure and enhanced energy and endurance. Studies have also shown that maca reduces depression and anxiety.
Chia is an excellent source of fibre, calcium and iron as well as containing antioxidants and proteins, and a balanced high concentration of alpha-linoleic fatty acid omega 3 and a low concentration of omega 6. This super food can be used as a snack in cookies or flour or used in smoothies and sprinkled on salads.