​Nutrition - interesting ingredients  Maca, lucuma and cacao powders

Friday 04 May 2018

Hi everyone. I thought that we would go a bit foody this week as it is that time of the year. I wanted to share with you the experience that I had on 2nd December, I went to Wokingham on a cookery day focussing on healthy treats for Christmas particularly for those who may have food sensitivities or want some tasty alternatives to the traditional Christmas fare. It was a great day and I was introduced to some new very healthy ingredients that I thought you might like to hear about. As you may have detected I am a keen cook and always after new ideas and inspiration.

Maca Powder.

It comes from a Peruvian root vegetable that is widely used for its medicinal purposes. It claims to give an energy boost, increase immune function and has disease fighting properties. I think that its most potential comes in the fact that it is an adaptogen for the adrenal glands, That is, it supports the adrenal glands with stress and low energy by supporting their function and helps to elevate mood.  I think that this would be a huge benefit.

It is rich in protein so an easy way to include some protein in the diet particularly if the digestive system is compromised in any way or appetite is poor.  It is also rich in B vitamins, which is probably why it increases energy as B vitamins in general help to turn carbohydrate foods into energy. Another good feature is that it contains compounds that support the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which helps to protect the bones from poor bone density and my experience tells me that this is generally a real problem particularly for those with hormone driven cancers.

It is naturally sweet and can be added to drinks, cakes and desserts.


Here is a simple smoothie recipe that you may like to try. It is taken from a book by Christine Bailey called The Raw food Diet.


1 banana sliced.

60g almonds soaked in water (this is not essential but helps them to blend more easily)

500mls of water or coconut water (see last week’s blog for the benefits of coconut water)

2 tsps maca powder

8 pitted dates. (the softer the better)

1 tbsp unsweetened dried coconut flakes.

2 tsps raw cocoa powder.

1 tsp lecithin granules or ground flax seeds.

This is how you do it; Put the banana in a covered container and freeze for 4 hours or over night.

Then simple place all the foods in a blender and blend until smooth. It is then ready to drink.

Lucuma powder.
This is made from a subtropical fruit from the Pouteria Lucumu tree which is native of Peru and Chile. It is known as the’ Gold of the Incas’, so called because of its health benefits. It provides 14 trace minerals including good amounts of potassium (which helps to create an alkaline environment in the body (Blog on Acid Vs Alkaline) sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. 100mgs provides 4 grms of protein and a whopping 92mgs of calcium. As it also contains phosphorus so the calcium should be well utilised.

It is reported to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for centuries by the South Americans as a superfood.

Iucuma provides a natural sweetness for desserts giving a caramel, maple type of flavour. It does this without upsetting the natural balance of blood sugar and is suitable for diabetics.

It can be used in drinks, desserts, stirred into yogurts so is very versatile.


Here is another simple recipe that uses Lucuma powder that you might like to try.This is a recipe that you could prepare and then store the nuts in a tin. It would make a great treat over Christmas and so good for you!!!!


Cinnamon nuts

2 tbsp lucumu powder

2 tbsp of agave syrup or xylitol

1 tbsp of olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon powder.

1 tsp vanilla extract.

125g of mixed unsalted nuts like cashews, hazelnuts, almonds.

This is what you do; You need to soak the nuts in some water for about 1 hour then drain. (I have used them without soaking)

Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix to form a paste.

Put in the drained nuts (if you soaked them) and make sure that they are well coated.

Place on a baking tray and put in an oven on its coolest setting and leave for about 4 hours or until dry.  Just do not forget that they are there.


Cacao powder

Finally the last ingredient that I want to tell you about is not completely new to me but worth a mention. It is cacao powder which comes from the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree. It is used to make cocoa, chocolate and cocoa butter. When it is its raw unprocessed state it is very nutritious. It promotes the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. These are chemical messengers relaying messages thousands of times a second. This helps to promote a positive outlook by raising serotonin levels, serotonin is known as the happy neurotransmitter.

The seed is also a good source of antioxidants and magnesium. As we know antioxidants are vital in our diet  and magnesium is needed by every cell to support energy production. It is also a useful source of iron and dietary fibre. You can buy the powder or nibs.

Nutritious energy balls
Another simple recipe that you could try. It is super healthy and the balls can be kept in the fridge and used as a snack to boost energy and nutrition.


125g of pecan or macadamia nuts ground.

60g of dried cranberries or goji berries,

8 dates soaked in a little water for 10 min.

1 tbsp lucumu powder,

4 tbsp cacao powder,

2 tbsp of honey or agave syrup.

1 tbsp ground flax seeds.

Either sesame seeds or desiccated coconut to roll in.


This is what you do; Simply put all the ingredients except the nuts in a blender and blend to form a sticky dough. Put in a bowl with the ground nuts and mix to form a paste. Form this into balls and roll in seeds or coconut or even some cacao powder and chill.

How easy is that?


You might be saying well yes but where do I buy these ingredients. Well they can all be found in Holland and Barrett or on line. I got mine from my local health food shop. They are really worth looking out for and trying to include because anything that is a treat but good for us will not sabotage our good intentions, not make us feel sluggish and tired but will be beneficial to our energy and immune system. I hope that you try some of these and enjoy the results.

Blog originally written by Caroline Dec 2012

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