LUCUMA: The All-Natural Sweetener and Wonder Food

Read about the powers of Lucama from guest author and a true FFK inspiration, Samatha Hadadi, co-author of Iamintothis.com. After you read this piece on powerfood,  I strongly urge you to read Sam’s incredible Body Image story… ideally with a box of tissues at the ready!

LUCUMA

Until a few weeks ago, I was completely oblivious to the wonders of Lucuma.

While I love so-called superfoods such as Chia seeds, wheatgrass and Acai, I had never even heard of this funny little orange fruit.

But then, all that changed. And I quickly fell in love.

You see, Lucuma in its powdered form comes with a whole array of health benefits. Not only will it satisfy a sweet tooth (and, believe me, I have one of the sweetest out there!), but it’s also loaded with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.

What Is It?

Lucuma is a fruit grown in orchards in the highlands of Peru. Touted as a ‘superfruit’ for hundreds of years – the Incas used to call it “gold” – its distinctive, sweet taste makes it the most beloved ice cream flavour in Peru (check out my recipe below for a healthy, raw version!).

Once the Lucuma fruit falls from the tree, its pulp is then dried and milled into a sweet, ochre-coloured powder. Now used as a natural sweetener, Lucuma has a unique taste, with some saying it’s like maple syrup, and others settling for caramel.

What Are The Benefits?

Ideal for those on a low-sugar diet (I have sworn off the white stuff for years and it changed my life) Lucuma makes a fantastic, natural alternative. It is low in glycemic value and natural sugars (around 17.1g of sugars per 100g) and so won’t cause blood sugar spikes, making it ideal for diabetics.

What else? Well, Lucuma provides you with a healthy dose of nutrients too. Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron, it’s a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals.

It also happens to be high in fibre and anti-oxidants, meaning it will also help to boost your digestive system and your skin.

Boost Your Skin

Lucuma powder is packed with beta-carotene, which our bodies use and convert into vitamin A. This encourages cell repair, improves skin tone and also reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Lucuma powder also acts an anti-inflammatory, boosting your skin even more.

How Can I Use It?

Oh, let me count the ways! I have been adding Lucuma to my smoothies and protein shakes, to almond milkshakes and also to healthier cookies.

However, my favourite way is to embrace the ancient Peruvian tradition of Lucuma ice cream. This healthy, tasty raw ice cream is easy to whip up and makes a great pud for all your sweet-toothed types. Just top with chopped nuts or raw cacao nibs and enjoy!

LUCUMA ICE CREAM

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Lucuma powder
1 cup cashews, soaked in water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
1 cup almond or coconut milk

Method:

1) Tip each of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides every now and again. Pour the mixture into a container and leave to freeze. Scoop and top with whatever you fancy, then enjoy!

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Where Can I Get It From?

I’ve been using Naturya’s Lucuma Powder, which costs less than a tenner and is widely available online. What are you waiting for?