6 Local Superfoods to Stock in Your Costa Rican Kitchen

What’s in a superfood? In a sentence: high concentrations of powerful nutrients – naturally sourced and wild-grown.

Costa Rica is rife with superfruits. From avocado to soursop, our farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and backyards overflow with super-healthy, nutrient-dense superfoods packed chalk-full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. They’re not called nature’s medicine for nothing!

Almost as good, despite their buzz-worthy superfood label, these foods are available in Costa Rica at a fraction of the price you’d pay for their imported, not-as-ripe (and therefore, not-as-tasty) cousins back home. So go ahead, stock your kitchen with six of Costa Rica’s favorite superfoods:

  1. Mangosteen

Mangosteen (in Spanish: mangostino, “mahn-go-stee-no”) is an excellent choice for the first superfood on our list. For one, it’s spectacularly delicious! (Seriously. Superfood status or no, it’s one of our favorite-ever fruits.) But mangosteen is, indeed, a superfood, and for good reason: packed with natural enzymes and nutrients, this sweet treat is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants known as xanthones, which can inhibit cancer cells.

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  1. Soursop

Soursop, known locally as guanábana (“gwah-nah-bah-nah”), contains high levels of important nutrients, including vitamin A, iron, vitamin C, and calcium.

What’s more, it’s been used for centuries as a medicinal plant and key ingredient in home remedies for high blood pressure, cancer, and infections. And did we mention? It tastes great – a fruity ice cream flavor, more or less – making it a welcome addition to your Costa Rican table.

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  1. Chan

You’ve heard of chia, but how about chan (Hyptis suaveolens)? This Central American weed produces a seed that look like chia, only larger. Triangular and black, these super-powerful seeds are soaked in water to make a sweetened, somewhat viscous drink.

The seeds are high in magnesium but their true power lies in their medicinal qualities: believed to help with gastrointestinal issues (indigestion, heartburn, constipation, gastritis, and other concerns), as well as with heart heath and stress reduction, chan is a welcome drink in our Costa Rican fridge. 

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  1. Raw Cacao

Think chocolate can’t be good for you? Welcome to the world of raw cacao, a fruit-covered seed packed with antioxidants and other nutrients. There’s the calcium, which helps fortify bones and fight the onset of osteoporosis. It’s also a quality source of iron, necessary to oxygenate the blood (and stave off exhaustion due to iron deficiency). And then, there’s the magnesium, to support nervous system function and heart health.

And yes, of course cacao does contain those powerful antioxidants (at 40x the quantity of your favorite blueberries!), known to fight heart attacks, stroke, and cancer. Finally, cacao can also boost happiness and positive feelings, to provide a much-welcome boost to your mood. To top it off, it also tastes great, both as a fruit and as a seed (try it in smoothies or as a chocolate chip replacement!).

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  1. Avocado

Come to Costa Rica, and you’ll be introduced to a smorgasbord of avocado (Spanish aguacate, “ah-gwah-cah-tay”) varieties. From a familiar Haas to the huge, green-skinned aguacate criollo, these creamy fruits (and yes, they are a fruit – not a vegetable!) contain plenty of good fats and powerful nutrients.

To start: Unsaturated fats, which help you feel full, fight diabetes, burn fat, and fend off inflammation and its related conditions (arthritis and heart disease, among them). What’s more, avocado contains high quantities of vitamins E, K, and D – all nutrients your body craves and needs. Guacamole recipe, anyone? (Try one with mango and thank us later!)

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  1. Noni (#sorrynotsorry)

Noni (“no-nee”) may not be the tastiest addition to our list – okay, its taste definitely does not recommend it, if we’re being honest! – but this odiferous fruit is considered Mother Nature’s cure-all.

For centuries, noni has been used to reverse aging, lower blood pressure/reduce hypertension, fight cancer, lower cholesterol, improve memory, boost the immune system, help with stress, and provide myriad other benefits. What’s more, it’s a powerful antiseptic, anti-histamine, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. As we said, a true superfood!

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 Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? Let us treat you to a feast of Costa Rican superfoods on an incredible (and often tasty) Discovery Tour! For 4 glorious days and 3 relaxing nights, we’ll treat you to the pura vida lifestyle, complete with superfoods, friendly smiles and your very own infinity pool. Call (800) 219-0310 to book your free Discovery Tour today or click here to learn more.