Chances are you’ve never heard of this super fruit, but for those with a sweet tooth, Lucuma might be the perfect addition to your morning smoothies!
The Incas of Peru used Lucuma often, so much so that it became known as the “Gold of the Incas.” Looking a bit like an avocado, Lucuma has a mellow sweetness that has been described as “a cross between caramel and a sweet potato.” Its texture is smooth and almost creamy, and it sits low on the glycemic index, making it a great addition for those who are watching their blood sugar.
In addition to having lots of beta carotene (good for skin, eyes, and in warding off age-related diseases), iron (a necessary nutrient), zinc (which boosts the immune system and fights acne), vitamin B3 (which helps treat high cholesterol and migraines), and calcium (essential for bone growth and health), Lucuma also has proven skin-regeneration properties. According to a study done by Rutgers, this super fruit was shown to help in wound healing and tissue regeneration.
Additionally, it’s been used to help with cardiovascular health and may even ease hypertension.
Lucuma also contains a few grams of protein, and many people buy it in powdered form to add to both smoothies and recipes. Its natural, maple-like sweetness is also a great addition to baked goods and yogurts.
Interestingly, one of the most popular uses for Lucuma fruit in Peru is to turn it into ice cream!
With all the benefits Lucuma provides, it seems silly that most of us have never been exposed to it! See if you can find some at your specialty grocery store this summer to give yourself a sweet health kick that will leave your skin looking luscious!
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Smoothie Recipes with Lucuma
Papaya Carrot Lime
Tropical fruit papaya may aid with everything from macular degeneration to bone health. Plus, it tastes delicious! The subtly sweet flavor and smooth texture complement the other orange-colored elements in this fiberful smoothie. Papaya and carrots both contain beta-carotene, which provides vitamin A and may reduce asthma, cancer, and heart disease risks. Lime adds a citrusy zing, and lucuma and cashews provide some nutty flavor!
Berry Apple Cheesecake
Tartness of a green apple cuts through this creamy, bright purple, superfood-filled smoothie. Banana and cashews are a guaranteed way to make any blend feel like a decadent dessert. Maqui powder originates in South America and may help support the cardiovascular system. The powder of the antioxidant-rich berries also has antiviral properties. Lucuma powder is also from South America, and has anti-inflammatory benefits that help with skin aging and healing. Cheers!
Rhubarb is a source of vitamin K, which plays a role in brain health and function. Vitamin K also stimulates bone growth and repair. Strawberries possess a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which can prevent collagen destruction and inflammatory response—two major factors in the development of wrinkles! Cashews, banana, and lucuma powder blend together to add a creamy consistency and nutty flavor.
Almond Chocolate Chip
It’s always surprising how spinach can sneak into a sweet recipe so subtly. Even with all the new greens on the scene, spinach is still the powerhouse it was in Popeye’s heyday. Pears bring the sweetness and flavonols. Almond butter, cacao nibs, and caramelly lucuma powder make this smoothie rich and sweet as a cookie -- a protein and nutrient-packed cookie, that is! Drink your dessert for breakfast, or anytime.
Green Irish Cream
Move over Bailey's, this Irish Cream is loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and tons of superfoods. Lucuma powder hails from Peru and brings a subtly sweet caramel finish without causing a sugar crash. Cashews and hemp seeds provide plenty of omega-3 fatty acids while also adding potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and almost every essential amino acid.
Pancakes with Maple Water
Pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and bananas with a drizzle of maple syrup are a breakfast staple. Now, you can have your pancakes, and drink them too! Pairing maple water with a tablespoon of lucuma powder will amplify the maple flavor. Maple water is actually pure sap from maple trees. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. It is light and refreshing with just a hint of maple flavor. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and has half the sugar of coconut water. Try a sip of this before adding it to your smoothie. It is divine!