The search for wellness is a hot topic in 2015. In the past few years, Peru has been firmly placed on the culinary map thanks to the rise of restaurants such as Ceviche and Coya London bringing Peruvian cuisine into the mainstream. But as our attention turns away from our stomachs to focus on our health, Peru is emerging as one of the newest Wellness Destinations.
Firstly, this is in thanks to the prime location. Machu Picchu is a sacred destination for the ancient Incas, who regarded it as a spiritual, almost mythical place. High up in the Andes, the altitude has a positive effect on your health, with the frequency of obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease being drastically reduced. Unfortunately for most, permanent residency isn’t an option. However the trek up to the citadel is certain to get the heart pumping, and with some 1500 steps on the Inca Trail, those leg muscles will certainly ache.
Wellness is not just about exercise, but about nutrition too. Peru is also home to some of the newest ‘super foods’ – heralded to be the perfect compliment to any diet.
Maca is a native Peruvian plant that grows high in the Andes. Though not much to look at, resembling a small, rough stone, Maca is packed full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals which help to increase energy, reduce stress and create an overall revitalising effect.
Though we hear that chocolate is the dieter’s worst enemy, the natural Cacao which was cultivated over 3,000 years ago has some surprising health benefits. It is rich in vitamin B, as well as iron and zinc. That doesn’t mean you can help yourself to the next tray of chocolates – sadly the added fats and sugars in commercial chocolate don’t have the same benefits. Instead go for raw cacao to make the most of this natural ‘food of gods’.
Lucuma is making headlines in the UK as one of the newest super foods favoured by celebrities and fitness fanatics. Known colloquially as the gold of the Incas, this tropical fruit tastes like caramel, pumpkin and syrup – no wonder it is Peru’s favourite ice-cream flavour. Despite the natural sweetness lucuma is full of health benefits – it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, as well as being known to lower blood pressure.
Eating right and exercising is a sure way to put the spring back into your step, but there is another way of rejuvinating. The Inkaterra Unu Spa offers a unique concept that combines the classic nurturing of a SPA with a mystical Andean approach. All the products used in the Unu Spa are 100% natural, derived from local botanical extracts, for example the Coca leaf, which has been identified as one of the essential elements of the magical, religious and medicinal rituals of the Andean tradition.
Taking inspiration from the Incan heritage, the unique Andean Sauna at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel uses heated stones in a candle-lit eucalyptus hut located next to the natural spring water pond, providing a unique, natural spa experience, which is sure to revitalise and rejuvenate guests.
So we have the food, the exercise and the spa treatments – now all we need is you.