You may have never heard of lucuma (it’s a fruit) but continue reading to find out more about it. It comes from a tree that grows in Peruvian lands. Actually, it’s quite popular there and people use it to make all kinds of desserts. This is due to its exquisite flavor.
Its resemblance to avocado is striking. In fact, they both have green skin and a large seed inside. This fleshy fruit is a yellow-orange color inside though. It has many health properties and today’s article is going to discuss them.
The origin and uses of lucuma
Lucuma, as we mentioned above, comes from a tree: the Pouteria lucumo. Its main characteristics are its large size and the light color of its wood.
It’s native to the Andean valleys and thrives in temperate climates. Also, it doesn’t require an excessive constant water supply, and because of this, adapts well to droughts.
People cut the lucuma from the tree and usually consume it when it’s quite ripe. In order to guarantee its proper conservation, they wrap it in protective materials once they remove it from the tree. Its flavor is sweet and a bit similar to maple syrup. It’s for this reason that people use it in pastries.
Health Benefits of Lucuma
This fruit has a characteristically high content of iron, beta-carotene, and niacin. So much so, that its regular consumption brings many health benefits associated with the consumption of these nutrients.
Despite the fact that the iron it contains is of vegetable origin and, therefore, has a lower assimilation rate, the consumption of this fruit has been shown to reduce the risk of developing pathologies such as anemia. As a general rule, people must consume iron together with a dose of vitamin C in order to enhance its absorption.
Also, we must highlight the presence of the beta carotenes in lucuma. These nutrients are active forms of vitamin A. Furthermore, this vitamin reduces the risk of developing certain complex diseases, such as those that occur in the liver. At least according to research published in the Nutrition and Health journal.
Similarly, we must also mention the niacin content of lucuma. Recent scientific literature claims this substance has proven beneficial effects on the prevention of dyslipidemia when taken in appropriate doses. It’s a water-soluble vitamin, so you must consume it on a daily basis.
In short, including lucuma regularly in your diet can:
- Prevent iron deficiency anemia
- Improve liver function
- Reduce the risk of developing dyslipidemia
How to consume lucuma?
It’s hard to find lucuma in many countries as it’s only sold regularly in certain states of South America. However, if you’re able to acquire this fruit, keep in mind you’re not to eat the pulp raw. It’s always better to cook it a little bit in order to enjoy its organoleptic qualities.
In addition, the pulp of lucuma has a high starch content, so you can add it to shakes and sweet sauces. Usually, most of the dishes that contain it are sweet; although, it isn’t unusual to find some salty dishes made with it too.
A rare sweet fruit
As we mentioned above, lucuma is a fruit from South America that grows under certain weather conditions. People consume it when ripe and always slightly processed. However, some people do eat it raw.
Its regular intake provides many health benefits as it contains micronutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. In fact, it can improve liver function.
As always, use it in moderation as it has a high sugar content. Thus, it’s best to introduce it to your life in the context of a well-balanced diet.
The pulp of this fruit is a healthy option to replace refined sugars in desserts. It’ll provide texture and an intensely sweet flavor similar to maple syrup. Finally, add it to cream soups, ice creams, cakes, and even shakes. It goes great with bitter cocoa and with other types of food that are typical of pastry recipes.