Desserts can put you in a good mood and satisfy your cravings. Unfortunately, regularly indulging in these treats can increase your risk of obesity, tooth decay, and blood sugar spike. Thankfully, enjoying sweets is possible without having to give up sugar.
Instead of nibbling on unhealthy snacks, why not try a healthier alternative called pacay fruit? This less well-known exotic treat is like a natural candy bar, thanks to its sweet cottony pulp!
What Is a Pacay Fruit?
Pacay fruit, also known as ice cream bean fruit, is a type of legume with a white, cotton-like pulp that tastes like vanilla ice cream. Other varieties have a hint of cinnamon. Moreover, the texture is similar to cotton candy. For this reason, this delicacy is considered a candy bar that grows on a tree.
The pulp contains black seeds that are inedible when raw. When cooked as a vegetable, they develop a mild nutty flavor.
This South and Central American native leguminous plant is found in different countries, especially Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. It easily adapts to tropical climates and dry and degraded soils.
Pacay Fruit Nutrition Facts
Pacay fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals that contribute to optimal health.
A 100 grams of this fruit will nurture your body with these nutrients:
- Calories: 118
- Protein: 10.7 g
- Fat: 0.7 g
- Total carbohydrate: 24.0 g
- Fiber: 1.6 g
Additionally, the pulp has:
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 1.0 g
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Total carbohydrate: 15.5 g
- Fiber: 1.2 g
Pacay Fruit Health Benefits
This tropical fruit contains antioxidants, protein, fiber, and vitamins. It offers these health benefits:
1. Eases Headaches
Headache is the seventh most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office. Its impact could be so serious that it could send one to the emergency room. When it becomes repetitive and severe, it can cause a low job performance level and overall reduced quality of life.1
Making positive lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to prevent headaches and migraine. These include improving eating habits and making healthier diet choices.2
Add ice cream bean fruit to your diet if you suffer from headaches. It contains healing properties and antioxidants for headache and migraine prevention.
2. Treats Rheumatism
Rheumatism is a disease caused by pain and inflammation of the joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. Besides joint pain, it can cause stiffness and even deformity.
To prevent rheumatism, start eating pacay fruit. Its seeds and bark have anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen bones, provide pain relief, and avoid developing the disease.
3. Helps With Weight Loss
Whether you are trying to maintain a healthy weight or simply wanting to satisfy your cravings, you can benefit from eating pacay fruit. It tastes like vanilla ice cream. Best of all, it is low in calories, fat, and cholesterol. When added strategically to your diet, it can help curb cravings and aid weight loss.
You May Also Like: Best Fat Burning Drinks To Drink Before Bed
4. Treats Dysentery
Dysentery is severe diarrhea that involves stomach cramps, vomiting, and loose stools that may contain blood. To get relief from this condition, try pacay fruit and start eating it regularly. Extract and cook its bark and seeds since they are highly nutritious and can be an excellent health remedy.
5. Develops Muscles
When building and maintaining muscle, you need protein. You should get at least 1g of protein per 454g of your body weight.
Eating a whole protein source with every meal is the best way to achieve this. Since pacay fruit is packed with protein, it can help form mass muscle, especially with continuous exercise.
Read More: 10 Fruits High In Protein
6. Strengthens Bones
A healthy diet is key to bone growth and development. In particular, the amount of calcium in your diet matters in reducing the risk of fractures, early bone loss, and diminished bone density.3
To meet daily dietary requirements, consider trying pacay fruit. This legume is an excellent source of calcium, iron, and phosphorus, which are minerals that strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis.
7. Improves Digestion
Ice cream bean fruit aids in digestion. It has trypsin and chymotrypsin, which are digestive enzymes that convert proteins into amino acids. That said, eating pacay fruit can prevent chronic gas problems and improve digestion.
8. Boosts Eye Health
Pacay fruit contains a good amount of vitamin A, so it’s good for the eyes. While regularly eating it can’t magically give you clear or night vision, it supports eye health by helping your eyes adjust in dim conditions. This is especially helpful for preventing night blindness or cataract.
9. Helps Manage Depression and Anxiety Symptoms
Poor diet, depression, and anxiety are connected. To manage depression and anxiety symptoms, prioritize eating vegetables, whole grain, low-fat dairy, fish, and fruits.4
When it comes to carbs, choose wisely. Opt for foods like ice cream bean fruit since it has “smart” or complex carbs.
These carbs are linked to serotonin, the mood-boosting brain chemical. They also help reduce stress and produce a calming effect, which can help treat depression and anxiety in the long run.
Read More: Best Acupressure Points For Anxiety
10. Maintains Heart Health
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death worldwide. In particular, heart attacks and strokes are usually caused by an unhealthy diet.5
To start taking better care of your health, change your lifestyle for the better. One way to do this is to eat a heart-healthy diet, including legumes like pacay fruit.
How to Eat Pacay Fruit
To eat pacay fruit, tear the pod open. Pluck out the pulp with your fingers and spit out the seeds.
The pods are mainly enjoyed as a sweet snack, while the pulp can be used as a flavoring in juices, smoothies, cocktails, desserts, and salad dressings. On the other hand, the seeds can be roasted, ground into powder, or boiled in salted water.
If you want to pair pacay fruit with other spices, try these:
Pacay fruits are not only nourishing. They also have a refreshingly sweet flavor with a hint of vanilla. With their taste and nutritional value, they make for a great sweet snack or ingredient in different drinks and desserts. That said, start eating healthier now by adding them to your diet!