Lucuma: The Next Delicious Superfood from Peru

Lucuma looks similar to mangos
Lucuma looks similar to mangos | © kimmingkit / Shutterstock
Photo of Brandon Dupre
28 August 2018

A fruit from Peru that dates back to ancient times has amazing health benefits — and it’s delicious.

Experts have recently added a food from Peru to the superfood list: the lucuma. The Peruvian fruit has recently made its way to health food and supplement stores all around the world. Here’s everything you need to know about lucuma, the dessert of the Incas.

What is lucuma?

In its natural form, lucuma looks like something similar to an avocado or unripe mango with a green outer skin. Once opened, you’ll find a golden-yellow flesh that tastes something like a creamy caramel. Its texture isn’t soft or slimy, but dry, which is why Peruvian’s don’t typically bite into it, but instead add it to smoothies, ice cream and other sweets.

The Peruvian fruit called lucuma | © Ildi Papp / Shutterstock

The health benefits of lucuma

The food dates back to the Incas, who held the orangish-yellow fruit in high regard. It’s even sometimes referred to as “the gold of the Incas” and is considered a fertility fruit by some. As expected, the superfood is full of healthy components like beta carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium and protein. It’s also championed as an anti-aging food and promotes cardiovascular health. It has become increasingly popular to purchase powdered lucuma instead of buying the fresh fruit, which is more difficult to find.

Visitors can find lucuma most especially during the summer months of January through April at nearly any market or local grocery store in most cities in Peru.

The lucuma flesh | © MySp / Shutterstock

How Peruvians eat lucuma

Some of the most sought-after ice creams in Peru have lucuma in it. It pairs perfectly with chocolate, and many add it to smoothies – and such smoothies are popular all over the country. The best and cheapest options for the drink are found in markets, where you can order it freshly blended on the spot and add any of Peru’s wide selection of fruits – including lucuma, of course.

Powdered lucuma has become popular in health stores | © Michelle Lee Photography / Shutterstock

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