DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT LUCUMA-min

DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT LUCUMA?

Lucuma is a native fruit in Peru that has been serving as a flavoring agent and sweetener for many years. It’s said to provide a lot of health benefits.

Today, there exist many sweeteners used in various foods. Different powders are added to food to introduce a tastier feel. Most sweeteners give you the best taste but are accompanied by many unhealthy outcomes. That’s not the case with lucuma. It’s a healthier alternative than other well-known additives available in the market. So, why opt for lucuma when there are other options like stevia herb?

How lucuma looks like

Lucuma appears like avocado on the outside, but its interior is yellow and soft with an intensely sweet taste. Its flavor is in between a sweet potato and caramel. Its sweetness is enough to satisfy your cravings, yet its glycemic index is low. Thus, making it appropriate for people with diabetes and anyone watching their sugar intake. Finding a fresh fruit lucuma isn’t easy for someone not in Peru or anywhere near an ethnic supermarket. Still, you can get lucuma powder which is greatly available as a superfood supplement. You can largely gain all the benefits your body needs by adding it to your diet. Depending on your preferences, you can purchase it as fresh fruit or powder, and both forms have health significance.

What’s the nutritional value of lucuma?

Most sweeteners have consumption restrictions due to their richness in sugar content. Lucuma powder is a better option than most choices because of its low sugar content and high amounts of antioxidants and fiber. Again, it’s more nutritious compared to other selections because it’s a great source of;

  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Potassium

2.5 tablespoons of lucuma powder contains;

  • Calories-140
  • Protein-1 gram
  • Carbohydrate-35grams
  • Fiber-11 grams
  • Sugar-11 grams

Health benefits of lucuma powder

Helps to control blood sugar

Lucuma is rich in carbs yet offers protection against diabetes due to its complex carbs, starches, and fiber-which help maintain a healthy blood sugar level. What’s more, lucuma’s fiber is soluble, thus offering protection against diabetes by controlling insulin sensitivity and preventing blood sugar spikes. Certain antidiabetic drugs have fractions of lucuma. It helps to inhibit the alpha-glucosidase enzyme, which breaks down complex carbs into simple sugars. This enzyme is also responsible for spiking blood sugar levels. That’s not all about lucuma. Unlike most sweeteners, it has a low glycemic index, hence not likely to raise blood sugar levels. For this reason, you can consume lucuma without worrying about conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, as long as it’s a moderate consumption.

Promotes heart health

Lucuma contains polyphenol. This plant compound is useful in preventing heart illnesses and high blood pressure. It acts as an inhibitor for ACE (Angiotensin I-converting enzyme), thus further promoting a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure.

It’s bursting with a variety of antioxidants

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants will protect you from certain cancers and heart diseases. Lucuma is particularly full of carotenoids and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy promoting properties and cancer-fighting abilities. Also, it’s high in xanthophylls which promotes eye health and generally promotes good vision.

What’s the taste of lucuma powder?

The pulp of a raw lucuma has a sweet flavor and a somewhat dry and coarse texture. It tastes like sweet potato in its powder form and has undertones of caramel.

Does lucuma make a good sugar substitute?

Lucuma powder is less sweet compared to table sugar, stevia, and honey. As a flavoring agent, you can use lucuma powder to add hints of sweetness and unique flavor to food. It’s a popular ingredient in oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, nut milk, and chia pudding. What’s more, it makes a good substitute for most baked goods. Lucuma has more minerals and vitamins than other artificial sugar alternatives. Its powder is a natural source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, carbs, calcium, iron, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and niacin. However, its nutrients are insufficient to reap health benefits and improve your immune system effectively.

How can you use lucuma powder?

As a flavoring; mix your preferred amount of lucuma powder into your favorite yogurt or oatmeal. Also, you can add to sorbets and ice creams.

As a baking ingredient; lucuma powder is a great alternative for brown sugar since the two have a somewhat similar taste. The general rule is to use double the lucuma powder to substitute the brown sugar. Two tablespoons of lucuma powder are equal to one tablespoon of brown sugar. Lucuma powder is not as good as normal sugar when absorbing water. Hence, you’ll need to add more milk or water to ensure the moisture level satisfies your baking process.

How should you store your lucuma powder?

Lucuma should be far from direct sunlight. Store in a well-closed container or airtight bag. It does not need refrigeration. Typically, it can last about two years if stored at room temperature. Most companies include an expiration date on their product, so you can always know up to when you can use your powder.

Where can you buy lucuma powder?

Most Latin food markets sell frozen, fresh raw lucuma or lucuma powder. The powder is available online, and many health food stores have it. It’s not inexpensive, but worth the pounds it cost.

How does lucuma powder help with skin?

Lucuma has outstanding anti-inflammatory properties, which serve as a tropical cure for skin wounds and abrasions. Consuming lucuma powder will help you repair sun damages on your skin and even assist in preventing unwelcomed signs that come with aging, such as wrinkles. Lucuma powder is well packed with beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body and promotes cell repair and growth. It also stimulates wound closure and supports tissue regeneration. Its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and skin-repair abilities make it a great friend for your skin!

Conclusion

Lucuma is available as a raw fruit but mostly available in its powder supplement form. Due to its sweet taste, it’s considered a healthier alternative for table sugar and other sweeteners. It’s highly nutritious and packed with powerful antioxidants. Although it’s a safer option than other sweeteners, it contains enough sugars. Thus, it should be consumed in moderate quantities. You can use it as a flavoring agent, sweetener or add it to your baking goods. Don’t you think now is the right time to include lucuma in your shopping list?

Elena Ognivtseva
Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.