Lucuma powder – proving you really are sweet enough without sugar!

How many times have you said ‘no thanks I’m sweet enough without it’ when offered sugar with your tea or coffee? Many of us have heard of the dangers of too much refined sugar in our diet and are actively trying to limit our intake. But are you right to avoid sugar and how can you satisfy your cravings for something sweet using natural superfoods sweeteners, such as lucuma powder, instead?

Lucuma powder

Are you right to avoid refined sugar?

Your body is naturally programmed to crave sugar – according to a dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, Christine Gerbstadt, “sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth.” Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbs stimulate the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel good. They also discharge powerful endorphins that are known to produce a natural ‘high’. And, in moderation, sugar is beneficial. Sugar, broken down from carbs, is your body’s preferred fuel for both the brain and muscles, and is the most accessible for your organs and tissue. It delivers energy fast, and was once vital for survival.

The problem arises when you eat more sugar than your body requires. Which, these days, is very easily done when sugar is increasingly hidden (under a number of confusing guises) in a large variety of processed foods, such as sauces, soups, bread, meat, salad dressings and soft drinks. Sugar is used to both prolong a product’s shelf life and add cheap bulk. So although you may be sprinkling less sugar over your breakfast cereal in the morning, you might still be consuming more sugar than you think. Indeed, global sugar consumption has tripled in the last 50 years. In the UK alone, it has grown by more than 30 percent in twenty years, to an eye-watering 1.25 pounds per person, per week.

And this over consumption of refined sugar has been directly linked to serious health conditions, including:

  • Weight gain and obesity
  • A diminished immune system
  • Reactive hypoglycaemia
  • Diabetes
  • Premature aging and osteoporosis
  • Fungal infections, such as Candida Albicans
  • High blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels and heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Learning difficulties and ADHD in children

Worryingly, it doesn’t take a lot of sugar to put you at risk – according to Dr. Abraham Hoffer, who has been studying the effects of sugar on our health for over 40 years, once your consumption exceeds 20 teaspoons of sugar per day, your risk of chronic illness increases dramatically.

Is lucuma powder a good alternative to refined sugar?

The NHS insist ‘it is generally accepted that excessive sugar consumption is bad for health and dieticians advise restricting sugar intake to the occasional “treat”.’ Disturbingly, artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame have also been linked to a large number of harmful side effects and don’t therefore provide the answer. Fortunately, thanks to a growing availability of natural superfood sweeteners, such as lucuma powder, you can still indulge in that sweet taste you’ve been hard-wired to crave, without exposing yourself to the dangers of refined sugars or artificial sweeteners. In fact, lucuma powder is not only not bad for you; it’s brimming with nutrients that make it positively good for you! So you see, you really can be sweet enough without sugar!

Lucuma powder – Inca’s Gold

Ordinary sugar made from sugar beet or sugar cane is highly refined and has been stripped of all its valuable nutrients, such as fibre, minerals, enzymes and vitamins. It’s also chemically bleached making it difficult for your body to digest. Lucuma powder, on the other hand, is crammed with beneficial nutrients that are a welcome addition to any healthy balanced diet.

Lucuma powder is a totally natural superfood sweetener made from the Peruvian lucuma fruit – a sub tropical fruit that’s known locally as ‘Incas Gold’. It boasts an extraordinarily high nutritional value and contains all of the following:

Vitamins

Lucuma powder is rich in both vitamin B1 (thiamin), and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Vitamin B1 helps to support your metabolism, nervous system and heart, whilst vitamin B2 helps to support your metabolism and nervous system, and in addition, encourages healthy red blood cells, skin and vision. Vitamin B2 also aids in the metabolism of iron, protects your cells from oxidative stress and can help to reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Lucuma powder also contains vitamin B3 (niacin), which boosts your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, helps to reduce hardening of the arteries and helps to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, lucuma powder contains B5 (pantothenic acid), a vitamin that helps your body to extract energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Vitamin B5 also helps to metabolise fats and produce red blood cells and hormones from your adrenal gland. And there’s evidence to suggest that it can be useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis and lowering blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels too.

Minerals

Lucuma powder is high in minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.

Iron is an essential mineral that has several crucial roles in your body. It helps to manufacture red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, for example. It also plays an integral role in the growth, maintenance and healthy appearance of your skin. A lack of iron can lead to anaemia – a serious condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells.

The potassium in lucuma powder helps to control the balance of fluids in your body and may also help to lower blood pressure.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body; it helps build strong teeth and bones, regulates muscle contractions (including your heartbeat) and ensures that your blood clots properly. According to the NHS, calcium may also help to lower blood pressure and is thus a valuable tool in the fight against hypertension (high blood pressure) – known as the ‘silent killer’ due to its lack of obvious symptoms.

Calcium also works closely with another important mineral that plays a crucial role in bone health – phosphorous. The NHS positively recommends consuming 550 mg of phosphorous, in addition to 700 mg of calcium per day, not only to promote healthy teeth and bones, but also to help prevent osteoporosis. Lucuma powder boasts both minerals in abundance.

Fibre

Lucuma powder contains a generous amount of fibre, which helps to cleanse your intestines, regulate your bowel movements and promote feelings of fullness. Indeed, dietary fibre actively slows down your digestion of glucose and prevents the type of blood sugar highs and lows that are commonly associated with refined sugar. This allows excess glucose to be burnt as fuel, instead of being stored as unwelcome layers of fat – good news for those of you who are watching your weight! According to the NHS, fibre can also help to prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Beta-carotene 

Lastly, lucuma powder contains beta-carotene – a natural pigment and antioxidant that can help to rejuvenate your body and improve your vision. Beta-carotene also helps to promote the repair and restoration of damaged skin cells and can protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and free radicals, leaving it visibly younger and free from unsightly fine lines and wrinkles. A recent study by the State University of New Jersey concluded that lucuma could have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and skin-repair effects on human skin.

Health benefits of lucuma powder

After digesting all of the information above, you’ll perhaps not be surprised to learn that lucuma powder can offer a number of significant health benefits.

Peruvian tribes, such as the Incas have long associated lucuma with fertility, partly due to its distinctive shape that closely resembles the female breast. But lucuma powder is also believed to help:

  • Boost energy
  • Reduce the visible signs of aging
  • Improve digestion
  • Promote beautiful, radiant skin

And, as lucuma powder has an extremely low glycaemic value of just 25, it makes a particularly suitable sugar replacement for diabetics.

More lucuma powder please, we’re British!

Lucuma powder might sound exotic, yet these days it’s readily available on our own fine shores from most good health stores.

It possesses an extremely sweet flavour (that may liken to maple syrup), a wonderfully creamy texture and a lovely rich aroma and is a delicious alternative to refined sugar in all of your favourite dishes and drinks. Try stirring lucuma powder into your favourite smoothies, shakes, juices and protein drinks, or using as a yummy ingredient in raw chocolate and desserts for example. In Peru and Chile lucuma powder is a favoured ingredient in ice cream. Below is a simple recipe for this tropical treat to help you get started.

Luscious Lucuma Ice Cream

This luscious lucuma ice cream contains lashings of lucuma powder for a delicious dessert to remember.

Ingredients

– 1 cup of cashew nuts

– 1/2 cup of lucuma powder

– 1/4 cup of agave nectar

– 1 tsp. of vanilla bean powder

– 1 cup of (spring) water

Preparation

Simply place all of the above ingredients into a blender and blitz until nice and smooth. Next, scoop the lucuma ice cream into a suitable container and place into your freezer for around 8 hours prior to serving. 

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3 Responses to “Lucuma powder – proving you really are sweet enough without sugar!”

  1. always get coffee without suger

    September 1, 2014 at 4:06 am Reply
  2. I’m struggling to believe that something that tastes this good can really be healthy! I still feel pangs of guilt as I indulge – it simply does not seem right to enjoy something sweet without feeling guilty! I’m sure I’ll adjust in time.

    September 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm Reply

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