Golden Sweetener of the Incas
by guest blogger & Healing Arts Practitioner, Addison Landry
Heralded as the ‘Gold of the Incas,’ and acting as a symbol of fertility and creation, Lucama’s creamy citrus and caramel flavors give us sweetness without the guilt, and introduce us to a fascinating superfood.
The lucuma fruit, native to Peru and its surrounding islands, is a cross between mango, nashi pear and avocado. With its distinct sweetness being described as creamy with a hint of maple and sweet potato,(not to mention its extensive health benefits) what's not to love? With sugar flowing from the super market aisle and that afternoon sweet spot to feed, lucuma has come to the rescue.
To make the powder, lucuma is dried at a low temperature to ensure the retention of all its vital nutrients. It is then milled into a superfine powder. As a sugar replacement, lucuma powder is quite low on the glycemic scale, and is a great substitution for diabetics. The best part? It wont give us that sugar crash that makes us crave more sugar. This powder is wonderful to use in baked goods, smoothies, and nuts butters, as it doesn't overpower the flavors, but rather enhances them.
Lucuma is usually grown sustainability in regions without pesticides, however it is important to make sure the product you're buying is organic, as pesticides are toxic to our bodies and will cause harm over long periods of time.
This vibrant yellow tropical fruit packs a punch! Here are 8 reasons why its beneficial to our diet:
1. RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS - Lucuma’s rich antioxidant levels allow it to help fight and prevent disease, and slow the aging process.
2. ANTI-FUNGAL AND MICROBIAL- Used in South America as a healing medicine, it aids with protecting the body against infection.
3. NATURAL LOW GI SWEETENER- It is low GI in nature, and supports basic cell function. It also assists in stabilizing blood sugar levels when consumed. unlike other sweeteners that offer empty calories. This makes it a great sweetener not just for diabetics, but for the rest of us too. It can be substituted for other sweeteners in a 2:1 ratio, two tablespoons of lucuma for every one tablespoon of sugar.
4. HIGH IN VITAMINS AND MINERALS- Lucuma is packed full of calcium, plentiful amounts of beta carotene ( which helps protect the body from carcinogenic substances), high in zinc, iron, vitamin C and cottons 14 trace minerals.
5. SUPPORTS HEART HEALTH- It has been used for centuries to help support hypertension with is ACE inhibitory activities.
6. SKIN HEALTH- from ancient records, we know that lucuma was know for supporting health and digestion. In recent studies, it's shown that lucuma oil may be helpful in healing superficial wounds, as it encourages activation of healing factors in the skin. It significantly increases the speed of wound closure, and promotes tissue regeneration.
7. IMMUNITY- Lucuma is high in iron and is known to stimulate the immune system.
With such positive benefits for our bodies and a great taste, it's a well-rounded superfood worth trying. Lucuma is great in ice cream (number one flavor in Peru). You can also add it to your morning porridge,use it in a cookie recipe, add it to nut butters, and make your own caramel sauce. Here at Healing Arts, we love trying various healthy sweeteners, and this is one we love. Give it a try and let us know what you think- we are happy to test it with your programs if you would like to bring it in!
Enjoy all the wonderful benefits of this tropical fruit - now you can eat your cake too!
Below is a recipe you can try creating with lucama:
LUCUMA CARAMEL SAUCE
Total time: 25 min not including soaking time
1 tablespoon lucuma powder
1 tablespoon mestique powder
3 tablespoon of coconut nectar
1/2 cup Cashews ( soaked overnight, or for at least 6 hrs, drained before use)
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1/2 a vanilla been seeps scraped out
Place all Ingredients in a blender or food processor. I find that the best option is to use a Vita Mix- it creates the smoothest, creamiest sauce. Blend until all ingredients are combined and smooth, then taste for seasoning as it may need a touch more salt.Serve with ice cream, over fruit, or even on pancakes. Enjoy!