Annatto is an important condiment and colorant in the preparation of many typical and traditional dishes throughout Costa Rica, but we want to share a little more about its multiple uses and benefits.

Do you know the origin of annatto?

This particular condiment is originally from Central America, Mexico and the tropical zone of America, more specifically from the southwest of the Amazon. For this reason, it was the native Indians of that territory who used it for the first time in pre-Hispanic times, although today its use has spread to various parts of the world, forming part of the traditional cuisine of many cultures.

old machinery used for the extraction of annatto seed in Costa Rican plantations.

The annatto is a very complete plant: it has a very great ornamental value, since it can be grown both in pots and in soil, it is medicinal and culinary. Besides that, its care is simple and its multiplication is fast.

Five Benefits of annatto for your health.

  1. Protects eyesight from UV rays
    The colorant obtained from annatto seeds is composed of an organic pigment or carotenoid called bixin, and one of its great benefits is its ability to protect the eyes from harmful rays, since this component helps absorb UV rays that affect our eyesight. Bixin represents more than 80% of the pigments present in annatto.

It also acts as an antioxidant for the ocular system and prevents different eye diseases, such as cataracts, premature blindness and macular degeneration (loss of the areas in the center of the visual field).

  1. Prevents cancer
    This nutritious seed has another carotenoid called norbixin, which is also an antioxidant. Studies have revealed that this component has an antimutagenic function in healthy cells exposed to cancer cells. Therefore, the consumption of annatto may help in the prevention of various types of cancer.
  2. Delays aging
    Because the pigments present in annatto are antioxidants, they contribute to delaying the signs of aging by fighting cell-destroying free radicals. You can use annatto paste as a mask to reduce wrinkles, blemishes and other skin imperfections.
  3. Improves digestion and relieves stomach pains
    Annatto seeds and leaves are high in fiber, and have been shown to be very good for digestion, as they have a substance that resembles wax and acts as a paralyzer of intestinal parasites, for this reason, it is essential for the regulation of digestive functions. It also helps with heartburn problems.
  4. It takes care of the skin
    You can apply annatto seed paste on burns, wounds or skin irritation, this will help accelerate healing and reduce the appearance of scars. It also works as an insect repellent and sunscreen. To do this you can grind the seeds and apply the powder on wounds, mosquito bites or on the skin area you want to protect from the sun.

The benefits of annatto are outstanding and diverse. It is recommended to treat prostate diseases and problems, a recommendation that even the Peruvian Ministry of Health defends.

It is also a diuretic and contains flavonoids that help to clean the urethra and the proper functioning of the kidneys.

One of the most important and widespread uses, besides being an excellent condiment for the most diverse dishes, is that it helps regulate the levels of glucose, insulin and cholesterol in the blood, which is why its consumption is highly recommended for people suffering from diabetes.

Given its nutrients, mainly vitamin A, it helps to protect eyesight from UV rays and deterioration. As if that were not enough, as a good antioxidant, it helps to counteract cell deterioration and premature aging.

For this same reason, it is a great ally for skin care, being also a very digestive food, which helps to relieve stomach heaviness and improve digestion.

Annatto Costa Rica

Industrialization of annatto in Costa Rica.

DIPROA S.A. is a 100% Costa Rican company leader in the market of spices and condiments, we are proud to be the manufacturer of the most popular annato paste among Costa Ricans, our commitment is to meet the highest standards of quality and safety to ensure our consumers a safe product for human consumption.

The annatto of Costa Rica outside the borders.
So much tradition in a product so consumed in Costa Rican homes has expanded our brand reaching the U.S. market where Latin Americans know perfectly well the use we can give to this excellent condiment by integrating it to their infallible products in the kitchen. /
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