Another member of the superfood family, lucuma has become increasingly popular around the world. Widely used by the populations of the Andean valleys since ancient times, lucuma is now used as a supplement and natural sweetener full of health-boosting nutrients. So if you are new to it, here are the lucuma powder benefits you should know about.
What Is Lucuma Fruit?
Lucuma is the fruit that comes from the Pouteria lucuma tree, which grows in mountainous regions of South America, mainly in Peru, Chile and Equador.
The outside of the fruit is hard and green, whereas the inside is soft and yellow, quite like egg-yolk. It actually looks like a mix between a mango and an avocado. It has a sweet and custardy taste often compared to maple-syrup or caramel.
Even though it is relatively new to us, lucuma has been used for a long time by indigenous populations for culinary, medicinal and even religious purposes. As a result, it is also known as the “Gold of the Incas”. Today in Peru, lucuma is widely used to make the very popular lucuma ice-cream.
Fresh lucuma tends to go bad very quickly which is why in the rest of the world, lucuma is usually found in powder form. The powder is made from freeze-dried lucuma fruit, which means that it is dried at low temperatures so the nutrients stay intact. It is often used as a supplement and sweetener in smoothies, desserts and baked goods as it makes a good sugar substitute.
Lucuma is actually considered a superfood because of the variety of nutrients and antioxidants that it contains.
It is rich in complex carbs, vitamin B3 (niacin), and C as well as minerals including iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Lucuma is also high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.
As a superfood, lucuma contains many antioxidants especially vitamin C and beta-carotene. These help fight and protect against free radicals (oxidative stress) that damage the body’s cells and are often responsible for many diseases. By doing so, antioxidants also protect the cells from premature aging. Beta-carotene is also what gives lucuma its bright yellow color and once in the body, it gets turned into vitamin A.
As you can see, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbs and protein, lucuma has it all!
The Health Benefits Of Lucuma
Because lucuma is nutritionally rich, consuming this superfood can provide a number of health benefits.
Here’s what it can do:
Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
This may seem strange as lucuma is very sweet, but that is because it actually contains carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index (GI).
Here’s how it works: Once digested, carbohydrates are turned into glucose. As these carbs have a low GI, it means that they are digested and absorbed more slowly. So when you eat lucuma, there’s a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels, which is useful to prevent or control diabetes.
For more information, here’s our guide on how to naturally lower blood sugar.
Helps Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
Lucuma contains a good amount of potassium, which is known to help maintain normal blood pressure. Moreover, lucuma also contains polyphenols which are natural compounds that act as antioxidants and have been proven to protect against cardiovascular diseases.
Find out more about some other effective and natural ways to lower blood pressure.
As lucuma contains complex carbs, it’s a great source of energy. Along with these carbs, the fiber content helps to keep the blood sugar levels balanced, which leads to better energy distribution.
Because it’s also rich in iron, lucuma can help increase energy levels while contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue while the vitamin B3 helps the body to turn food into energy.
Since lucuma contains antioxidants, the fact that it can help reduce inflammation isn’t surprising. Moreover, lucuma also has its own way of reducing inflammation. This means that, if consumed regularly, this fruit can help prevent many health conditions including heart problems, skin problems, digestive problems, and cancer.
Supports The Immune System
Lucuma contains a good amount of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which together help protect and support the immune system.
Good For Digestion
As lucuma is high in both types of fiber it can help support proper digestion.
Soluble fiber is important to keep the gut healthy as the good gut bacterias feed on it.
Whereas insoluble fiber adds bulk which helps the food pass through the digestive system more quickly, and so prevents constipation.
Good For The Skin
Because lucuma is rich in antioxidants including vitamin C, it’s a great food for your skin. Actually, a study has shown that lucuma nut oil supports skin regeneration and reduces inflammation which helps to speed up wound healing.
How To Add Lucuma To Your Diet?
Thanks to its low glycemic index, lucuma powder is considered better than cane sugar as it is more nutritious and doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes. Lucuma powder is usually used as a sugar substitute with a 2:1 ratio. So instead of one spoon of sugar, you can use 2 spoons of lucuma powder. However, you may still have to experience a bit in order to get the right taste.
Lucuma powder can be added to pretty much anything that needs a bit of sweetness such as baked goods, juices, smoothies, yogurt, porridge, cereals and even home-made ice-cream. You can also try to put some in your tea or coffee. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless!
To be able to enjoy all these great benefits, make sure you buy a high-quality organic lucuma powder.
Possible side-effects of lucuma powder:
Lucuma isn’t known to have any side-effects but since it is used as a sweetner, even though it is considered healthier than regular sugar, you should still be careful if you have diabetes and not consume too much of it at once.
Lucuma Powder As Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle
Fresh lucuma tends to ripe and go bad very quickly so unless you live in South America, you will only be able to find lucuma in powder form. The lucuma powder benefits are numerous and it is safe to say that pretty much anyone can add this amazing superfood to their diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. It contains a high amount of different nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for overall health and that can help protect against many diseases. And since lucuma powder is versatile, it can be added to all sorts of desserts and smoothies, so introducing it into your life shouldn’t be a problem.
Have you ever tried lucuma powder? What do you think of it? Do tell us in the comments below!