Gold of the Incas: 7 Health Benefits of Lucuma
Food as Medicine
Lucuma (Pouteria Lucuma) is a super fruit that has been eaten by Peruvians since 200 A.D., but modern science is just now getting a hint of how nutrient-dense this fruit really is and how it could offer great healing potential.
Europeans discovered Lucuma in the 1500s, calling it ‘egg fruit’ due to its shape (and since the flesh of the fruit is the same color as an egg yolk). It tastes like a combination of maple syrup and sweet potato to some, or a mango crossed with an apricot to others. While the fruit can be hard to come by owing to the fact that they grow at altitudes of 4,500 to 10,000 feet, the powder can be obtained from many health food stores.
To the Peruvian people, Lucuma is a symbol of both longevity and fertility. While it doesn’t rate as high as other foods on the ORAC chart such as sumac, another superfood in its own right with an off-the-charts ORAC value, lucuma is full of essential nutrients and can be used as a healthier substitute for sugar.
- 1. High in beta-carotene – You might have guessed with its yellow-orange color that lucuma is rich in beta-carotene, an important source of vitamin A which our bodies need for better eyesight, promoting cellular growth, and even helping with immune system reactions. Beta carotene may protect against other cancers as well, including esophageal, liver, pancreatic, colon, rectal, prostate, ovarian, and cervical cancers due to its potency as an antioxidant.
- 2. It is a natural sweetener – Lucuma can sweeten foods without spiking blood sugar, and it contains beneficial nutrients that sugar alone lacks.
- 3. Lucuma is iron-rich – Iron improves the transportation of oxygen into cells and is a vital nutrient to pregnant and breast-feeding women. Proper levels of iron contribute to energy levels as well.
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- 4. A vegetarian source rich in niacin (Vitamin B3) – While most meat-eaters get their B3 from steaks and chicken, vegetarians and vegans will enjoy this vitamin from lucuma. This nutrient aids in digestion, muscle development, and the regulation of stress and sex hormones.
- 5. Fiber–rich food – This super fruit is full of fiber, which can help the digestive system work properly, reducing constipation and bloating.
- 6. Wound Healing and anti-Inflammatory – Try an anti-inflammatory cinnamon, ginger, lucuma smoothie for a healthy and tasty treat.
- 7. Lucuma Nut oil is anti-viral and anti-bacterial – This super fruit can also prevent colds, flu, and other viral or bacterial diseases, possibly making it a sound substitute for pharmaceutical antibiotics in many cases.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.