What is Lulo Fruit?
Native to the countries of the Andes, the bright orange colored lulo fruit is full of flavor and healthy surprises. This member of the nightshade family goes by several different names and is known as naranjilla in Ecuador and Panama but as lulo in Colombia. Other common names for the fruit are Quito orange, cocona, obando and nuqui while its botanical name is Solanum quitoense Lam.
If you have never eaten lulo fruit, you are probably wondering what it tastes like. Although it resembles an orange from the outside, it is more similar to a tomato when opened up. The flavor is unique and not easy to describe and is variously compared to pineapple, lime, kiwi and rhubarb.
The demand for this unique, exotic fruit is growing but like other members of the nightshade family like tomato and eggplant, it tends to bruise very easily when ripe. For that reason as well as its delicate nature, the fruit is not especially suited to large scale cultivation and export and crops remain fairly small scale.
Lulo is a herbaceous perennial plant which grows to around 2.5 meters or 8 feet in height. It has thick stems which are spineless when cultivated but remain spiny on wild plants. The plant prefers shaded areas and is intolerant of sun exposure but it can grow in poor soils as long as drainage is good.
Lulo fruit is a round or ovate shape around 2 inches across with bright, orange skin. Inside are 4 segmented sections which are separated by membranes. These segments are filled with a delicious, green or yellow colored juicy pulp. This delicious fruit has a wonderful cirtus flavor similar to lemon or lime crossed with pineapple.
Like other citrus fruits, lulo fruit is packed with nutritious minerals and vitamins. Lulo is an excellent source of many of the B family of vitamins including B3, B6, B5 and B1 and it also contains vitamins A,C, E and K. Lulo fruit is also a good source of various essential minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
Because of its excellent nutritional profile, lulo fruit is not just a treat for the taste buds. It can also confer a wide variety of health benefits and makes an excellent choice as part of your healthy, nutritious diet.
1) Digestive Health Benefits
Lulo fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber called pepsin. I am sure you don’t need to be told how good fiber is for your health and your digestive health in particular but estimates suggest that a great many of us do not get enough fiber into our diets.
There is good reason for this advice. Dietary fiber and pepsin in particular, are extremely beneficial for digestive well-being. Fiber can help add more bulk to a person’s stools which improves the way waste is transported through your system.
Eating plenty of fiber can help treat many common digestive conditions including indigestion, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. There is also evidence that fiber can reduce the risk of more serious illnesses like stomach ulcers, colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
2) Heart Health
What can be more important than ensuring your heart is fit and strong and free of disease? The good news is that eating healthy natural produce like lulo fruit can help you achieve those goals.
The dietary fiber found in lulo fruit is known to help reduce cholesterol levels and high cholesterol is a known risk factor in heart attack and stroke and common diseases like atherosclerosis.
The potassium found in lulo fruit also acts as a vasodilator meaning that it helps widen the blood vessels taking much of the strain off the heart. This can ultimately reduce a person’s blood pressure and high blood pressure like high cholesterol is another major risk factor in heart disease.
3) Immune System Health
Are you fed up with getting niggling illnesses like the cold, flu or sore throats? If so, your immune system may be in need of a boost.
One of the best ways to ensure that your body is prepared to tackle sickness is to eat fresh, antioxidant rich produce and lulo fruit can provide you with many of the tools. Lulo fruit is very high in Vitamin C which is known to help stimulate the production of red blood cells that help ward off infections, disease and other harmful pathogens in the body.
4) Boost Blood Circulation
Lulo fruit contains a reasonable amount of iron which plays a significant role on many of your bodily functions. Iron is not the easiest mineral for the body to absorb and iron deficiency is far more common than it ought to be.
One of the main functions of iron is to improve the flow of oxygen through the body to the organs where it is most needed. Without enough iron, many of our organs will lack the oxygen they need to work at their best. Improving the circulation of blood through the body also has a positive impact on cell regeneration and repair and can even help strengthen the hair follicles on your head.
A deficiency in iron can also cause a variety of other unwanted symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, lack of energy as well as resulting in anemia.
5) Cancer Prevention
There is evidence that the fiber found in lulo fruit can reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colon cancer. It also contains plenty of natural antioxidants that help to neutralize the damage done by environmental free radicals.
Oxidative stress is one of the main causes at the heart of many serious diseases including cancer and getting enough antioxidants into the body is of paramount importance to your health.
6) Eye Health
Lulo fruit contains compounds called carotenoids which are responsible for giving the fruit its rich, orange colors. These natural antioxidants can have a wonderful effect on the health of a person’s eyes and can combat the damage that ends up causing macular degeneration and cataracts as we age.
I am sure that everybody has heard that carrots are good for your eyesight and that is true, but plenty of other fresh produce contains similar compounds and this includes the wonderful, lulo fruit.
7) Detox the Body
Detoxifying the body from time to time is very important in order to keep your hard working organs operating at full capacity. Lulo fruit and other nutrient rich foods are great way to help you rid the body of harmful toxins and relieve the strains and stresses placed on your already overworked liver and kidneys.
Lulo fruit mat have diuretic properties meaning that they can help increase the frequency and volume of urination. This helps cleanse the body of harmful waste products and take the stress away from your organs.
Lulo fruit is a great option for anybody undergoing a body detox regime.
8) Bone Health
Strong bones are very important for childhood growth and development but they continue to be essential throughout our lives. As we age, out bones become less dense making them more prone to damage.
How to Eat Lulo Fruit
There are plenty of ways to enjoy delicious lulo fruit and to get its amazing health benefits.
You can eat it raw by cutting the fruit into halves and scooping the pulp out with a spoon. It is also delicious when added to a plain, vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
In South America, it is commonly used to make jelly or jam and as an ingredient in a variety of desert dishes like pies and cheesecake.