Benefits of Pequi for Health

Pequi , whose name comes from Tupi, is a popular fruit from the Brazilian cerrado and widely used in the cuisine of the north of Minas Gerais, Northeast and Midwest of Brazil. The size corresponds to that of an apple, the skin is green in color and the fruit has a soft yellow flesh.


The fruit has significant amounts of vitamins A and C, so they have essential properties for the body. Vitamin C, in addition to helping the immune system, improves the absorption of iron from plant foods.


The pequi tree is a tree that can reach up to twelve meters in height and can be classified as fruit and oil. The stone is covered with a light yellow pulp, edible and soft, surrounded by a layer of thorns. Pequi germination can take up to twelve months, however, less than half of the seeds germinate.

Lightly heavy and resistant, the wood of the tree is suitable for civil and naval construction. The pequi husks have a febrifuge action and the oil extracted from the pulp is rich in vitamin A and E.

The oil extracted from the seed is indicated to fight colds and bronchitis and is also available in capsule format.


The thorn layer has an essential function for the fruit. Considering that, in nature, there are several natural consumers, such as field mice, capybaras and tapirs, for example, the demand would be so intense that there would be no maintenance of the species. From this perspective, it is understood that this protection emerged as the species evolved to ensure the protection of the seed.

Because of this, this fruit is also known as “spiky skin”.


Pequi has properties such as:

  1. Healing;
  2. Digestive; and
  3. Anti-inflammatory.


  1. Protects eye health

Since search is a source of vitamin A rich in carotenoids, it acts as an antioxidant, especially in the eyes. This action prevents macular degeneration and even cataracts, which are caused by free radicals.

The carotenoids present are carotene, lycopene and lutein, the latter, in turn, acting on the ocular structure.

  1. cancer prevention

Researches show that a diet rich in antioxidants, such as pequi, helps prevent various types of cancer. This is due to the fight against free radicals, compounds that can trigger degeneration processes in the body’s tissues.

  1. Reduction of Injuries in Athletes

The anti-inflammatory properties of pequi meet the goals of regular practitioners of physical activities. A study was done in which athletes had to eat large amounts of pequi. The result showed that there was a considerable reduction in inflammation in the joints and muscles.

  1. Fight against premature aging

Free radicals are also responsible for skin aging. Therefore, consuming foods such as pequi, rich in antioxidants, improves skin elasticity.


  1. Relief from muscle pain

Recent studies show that the oil extracted from pequi can reduce joint and back pain. For people who have an intense pace of physical activity, using this oil can be a good way out after training.

  1. Optimizes the digestive process

It is worth mentioning that pequi oil is composed of fibers. This nutrient is known to improve the intestinal tract, which includes lessening constipation, cramps and diarrhea. Furthermore, fiber contributes to the process of eliminating bad cholesterol from the body and good heart health.

  1. Abundance in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a nutrient that supports the immune system, supports vision when light is dim, and helps develop epithelial tissue.

  1. Acts as an anti-inflammatory

One of the great benefits of pequi oil is the fight against inflammation. It is important to mention that one of the consequences of inflammation in the body is the narrowing of blood clots, which, in turn, can worsen heart problems.


There are no contraindications regarding the consumption of this fruit. However, due to its high caloric value and also the oil, people who are in the process of weight loss should ingest it in moderation.

It is important to highlight that there are no studies regarding the recommended amount of this fruit daily. However, as it is a caloric food, it is recommended that consumption be done moderately.


Pequi has two parts that are suitable for consumption: the pulp, which surrounds the skin, and the chestnut inside the kernel.

The fruit, which can be consumed by hand, can also be used in recipes.

If you want to consume the chestnut, you must wait for the pequi seed to dry for a couple of days and then roast it. Although it is beneficial to health, it is rarely used in recipes.

The pulp is widely used, especially in preparing salads, rice, chicken and fish.


Here are some selected recipes with pequi:


This pequi rice recipe is easy to make. In addition to being practical, it is a great dish to have lunch with the family.


– 1 cup (tea) of rice

– 3 cups (tea) of water

– 1 teaspoon of olive oil and/or oil

– 10 to 15 pequis

– Chopped garlic (to taste)

– Onion (to taste)

– Chopped parsley (to taste)

Preparation mode

In a pan, put the olive oil and/or oil and saute the onion. Add the garlic, let it brown and add the rice. Add the water, which should be hot, and the pequis. Wait to cook.

If you want, toss the parsley on top and serve. That portion yields for four people.

Don’t forget that the pulp must be bitten superficially, as the thorns can hurt the gums and are difficult to remove.


The recipe that we will show below is typical of the Brazilian cerrado.


– 15 to 20 pequis

– 1 chicken

– 2 tomatoes

– 1 pepper

– 3 tablespoons of oil

– 4 tablespoons of vinegar

– 1 tablespoon of salt

– Garlic (to taste)

– Paprika (to taste)

– Onion (to taste)

– Pepper (to taste)

Preparation mode

Cut the chicken into pieces and wash it with vinegar diluted in ½ cup of water. When you notice that it is no longer slippery, soak it under running water. Season any way you like and let it sit for about fifteen minutes.

After heating the oil in a pan, add the crushed garlic and paprika. Let it brown. Add the clean pequi and the chopped chicken. Saute. Add the diced onion, pepper and tomato.

Water should be added little by little. A thick broth will form. Add salt to taste.

Serves with white or brown rice and salad.


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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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