Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), also spelled cupuassu, cupuazú, cupu assu, and copoasu, is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao. Common throughout the Amazon basin, it is widely cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and in the north of Brazil, with the largest production in Pará, followed by Amazonas, Rondônia and Acre. The pulp of the cupuaçu fruit is widely consumed throughout Central and South America, and is used to make ice creams, snack bars, and other value added products.
The white pulp of the cupuaçu has an odour described as a mix of chocolate and pineapple and is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. The juice tastes primarily like a pear, with a hint of banana.
Cupuaçu is generally harvested from the ground once they have naturally fallen from the tree. It can be difficult to determine peak ripeness because there is no noticeable external colour change in the fruit. However studies have shown that in Western Colombian Amazon conditions, fruits generally reach full maturity within 117 days after fruit set.
Cupuaçu butter is a triglyceride composed of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, giving the butter a low melting point (approximately 30 °C) and texture of a soft solid, lending its use as a confectionery resembling white chocolate. Main fatty acid components of cupuaçu butter are stearic acid (38%), oleic acid (38%), palmitic acid (11%) and arachidic acid (7%).
Cupuacu is also heavy with vitamins B1, B2, B3 (niacin), fatty and amino acids, and at least nine antioxidants (including vitamins A and C). Being from the cocoa family, Cupuacu also has a high flavanoid content. It’s primary health benefit is stimulating the immune system while simultaneously supporting the body’s ability to fight disease. Cupuacu has a caffeine-like effect, but does not contain caffeine. It is one of the few cocoa relatives that does not, yet it retains this energetic effect.
Most of the benefits of Cupuacu are synergistic. For instance, the energy-boosting effect mentioned comes primarily as a result of the fruit’s heightening of the immune system, lowering of blood pressure, and the body-boosting effects of the fast-acting nutrients and vitamins from the fruit. Another huge benefit of the fruit is its extremely rich array and concentration of antioxidants.
List of Possible Benefits:
- To lower cholesterol levels
- To lower blood pressure
- Healthy hair
- For increasing libido
- To improve brain functions
- To boost gastro-intestinal systems
- To stimulate skin rejuvenation
- To achieve weight loss
- For combating diabetes
- To increase energy