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Camu Camu vs Acerola Cherry: Which Fruit Reigns Supreme?

Published: July 28, 2018

The camu camu fruit is a small orange-red fruit that grows in the Amazon rainforest. The acerola cherry, also known as the Barbados cherry, is the red fruit of a shrub that is native to Central and South America. Both the camu camu fruit and the acerola cherry are famous for their high vitamin C content and strong antioxidant properties, and both have been touted as superfoods. But how do these two powerhouse fruits fare against each other? Below, we compare camu camu and acerola cherries in terms of vitamin C content, antioxidant capacity, taste and uses.

Vitamin C Content

Acerola Powder

Both camu camu and acerola cherries are known for their high vitamin C content. The vitamin C content of camu camu ranges from 1,882 to 2,280 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh fruit, which is about 40 times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges. Acerola cherries contain slightly less vitamin C than camu camu, with fresh acerola cherries providing 1,357 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams.

Both camu camu and acerola cherries have been touted as superfoods because of their extremely high concentration of vitamin C.

Antioxidant Properties

Considering the exceptionally high levels of vitamin C in camu camu and acerola cherries, it is not surprising that these two South American superfoods have been found to beat many other fruits in terms of antioxidant capacity. A Brazilian study comparing the antioxidant capacity of 18 tropical fruits singled out camu camu and acerola, along with the rare Mouriri pusa fruit, as having exceptionally strong antioxidant properties.

Published in the journal Food Chemistry, this study used several common methods to assess the antioxidant potential of the fruits, and camu camu and acerola showed consistenly strong antioxidant properties across the methods.

It is worth noting, however, that vitamin C is just one of the many antioxidant compounds found in the camu camu fruit and acerola cherries. Camu camu, for example, contains a fair amount of ellagic acid, a phenolic compound that has been shown to exert strong antioxidant activity in test tube and animal studies. Acerola powder, by contrast, is rich in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and lutein, all of which are known for their antioxidant properties.


Foods rich in vitamin C tend to have a sour taste, and camu camu and acerola cherries are no exceptions. The camu camu fruit has an extremely sour, citrusy flavor that is best when sneaked into beverages and desserts in the form of camu camu powder.

The acerola cherry has a delicate flavor that ranges from sub-acid to acid, and that can sometimes be slightly sweet. The intensity of flavor depends on how ripe the fruit is, with perfectly ripe acerola cherries being sweeter and less acidic than their less ripe counterparts.


Camu camu powder and acerola powder can be used to boost the nutritional profile of a wide range of dishes. Some of the best ways to use camu camu powder, or acerola powder, include sneaking it into smoothies and sauces, adding it to energy bar recipes, and incorporating it into frozen desserts.

What's more, foods rich in vitamin C, such as camu camu and acerola powder, can be used to improve the texture of homemade breads because vitamin C boosts the action of yeast by providing a slightly acidic environment in which yeast thrives.

Where to Buy

Can't wait to start reapping the nutritional and health benefits of camu camu? You can today buy freeze-dried camu-camu powder at most well-stocked health food stores as well as online. If you like to shop on Amazon, try Feel Good Organics' camu camu powder – not only is this highly-rated camu camu powder free from sweeteners and other additives, it is also USDA certified organic.

Looking to buy acerola powder instead? Like camu camu powder, acerola powder can be found at many health food stores, but you can also buy it online. If you like to buy acerola powder online, check out Terrasoul's acerola powder on Amazon.

1. M. Rufino et al (2010). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacities of 18 non-traditional tropical fruits from Brazil. Food Chemistry, 121(4), 996-1002.

Peruvian SuperfoodDid you know that some of the world's most nutrient-dense foods originally come from Peru? In Peruvian Power Foods registered dietitian Manuel Villacorta provides 101 mouthwatering recipes showcasing Peruvian superfoods like camu camu, quinoa, avocado, cilantro, yacon, papaya, sweet potatoes, lucuma and maca. Packed with nutritional info and gorgeous photographs, this 300-page guide and cookbook is available through Amazon (affiliate link).