In a world that's all too full of artificial, over-processed and of non-nutritious food choices, it's sometimes difficult to find sources of sustenance that are both beneficial and easy to take. One such source is lucuma. Read on the learn more.

What is Lucuma?

Generally taken as a powder, lucuma fruit comes from a subtropical tree that's native to Ecuador, Peru and Chile. These trees thrive in cool weather and are highly drought-resistant. Growing 25 to 50 feet tall, lucuma trees yield a yellow-green, egg-shaped fruit that's known to indigenous peoples as “Gold of the Incas.” The yellow-orange flesh is starchy and somewhat dry. The taste is described as pumpkin-like with caramel and maple overtones. Lucuma fruit usually is dehydrated to produce a powder which is then added to foods or taken mixed with a liquid.

Getting Started with Lucuma

Interested in taking lucuma? Here are some facts and benefits you should know. The powdered has many healthy benefits. Its sweet taste makes it highly palatable. Lucuma is also gluten-free and an excellent source of anti-oxidants. It contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fibre. This makes taking lucuma a good way to support vital body functions and a healthy immune system. Although lucuma isn't widely known outside of South America, people all over the world are beginning to take note of it as a natural substitute for sugar. In addition, lucuma is thought to have skin-boosting, antifungal, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Lucuma's Remarkable Nutrition

Although many people supplement their diets with vitamin and mineral tablets or capsules, such sources often lack what are called “trace elements.” Lucuma contains 14 essential trace elements including phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. Each 100 grams of lucuma contain 329 calories, 2.4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of fibre and 87 grams of carbohydrates. Calcium content is measured at 92 milligrams per 100 grams and is important for keeping teeth and bones strong. Phosphorus helps with protein, bone formation, hormone balance and digestions. Lucuma provides 186 milligrams per 100 grams. Lucuma is considered to be a good source of the key nutrient iron, which may assist in improving physical endurance and stimulating the immune system. Lucuma is easy to take, as well. Just mix a tablespoon of the powder into a smoothie. You also can use it to make vegan ice cream.

More Reasons to Take Lucuma

Research has shown that lucuma promotes tissue regeneration and helps with wound healing. An importance source of beta-carotine that's essential for skin elasticity and eye health, lucuma also is rich in vitamin B3 (niacin) which is a key factor in the body's energy producing process.

An Important Research Study on Lucuma

Rutgers University in the US conducted a study that looked at the anti-inflammatory property of lucuma extract as it affects skin ageing and wound healing. The study concluded that lucuma significantly increases wound closure and promotes tissue regeneration. A report based on the study tells us that lucuma has important benefits for the skin, including anti-ageing. In fact, Rutgers applied for a patent in the US for lucuma extracts, especially the oil.

Essential Properties and Usage of Lucuma

We like the sweet taste and enticing fragrance of lucuma because it's a natural sweetener that doesn't raise blood sugar levels. Because lucuma is a healthy alternative to sugar, it may be useful for diabetics. Besides using it in smoothies, lucuma fruit powder can be added to pastries, puddings, granola and yogurt. Lucuma has the ability to emulsify and combine oils and fats with sugars. This means you can use lucuma in baking pies, cookies and cakes, which assists in fortifying the nutritional content of desserts. Finally, lucuma makes a great addition to foods for babies and children without adding a high calorie count. Just be sure to check with a doctor before using lucuma for both children and adults. Then, try this easy recipe from http://rawfoodsolution.com/mango-lucuma-smoothie/

Mango and Lucuma Smoothie

1½ cups fresh or frozen mango, cubed (about 1 medium mango)
¾ cup vanilla almond milk
1 medjool date
1 tablespoon lucuma powder
Dash of cinnamon
A few ice cubes (if using fresh mango)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately.

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