Nature doesn’t get more abundant than the mighty Amazon jungle, a full on food forest where you are more likely to die from lunch falling on your head (or getting eaten by an caiman) than from starving to death. Here in the Amazonian metropolis of Iquitos, Peru, a wide variety of wild fruits and nuts fill the bustling markets to overflowing and are hawked as snacks on just about every street corner.
But beyond a small handful of items that got trendy and garnered worldwide attention, like acai—one of the highest antioxidant-packed fruits in the world, by the way—most of the Amazonian cornucopia remains relatively unknown, even among self-professed superfood aficionados who like to stay on top of the food chain nutrition-wise.
But check this out: the Amazon is also home to the most concentrated sources of Vitamins A and C (and possibly even E) on the planet—all delicious and extremely common fruits that also tend to find their way into heavenly ice creams, juices and smoothies here. There are also several little known Amazonian nuts with amazing protein, omega oil and antioxidant profiles that are prolific, inexpensive and tasty.
So, let us take you on a photo tour through Iquitos, Peru’s frenetically fantastic Belen market—where the entire bounty of the jungle is on daily display—and see six of the top Amazonian superfoods. The majority of these nutrient packed rainforest treasures are now starting to be sustainably produced and packaged for export and a wider audience by local Iquitos companies like Eco-Ola and Frutama, and should be available in select health food stores in the states soon if they are not already.
Ocean Malandra is a frequent Paste contributor that divides his time between the Redwood Forest of Northern California and the Amazon jungle of South America. He is the author of Paradise Now, forthcoming from Param Media.