Yacon Root

Yacon traditional use is very simple, effective and straightforward. Due to the harsh winds of the Andes the farmers would use the stalks of the yacon that grew to heights of six feet as a natural barrier to contain the winds. During the long labor days they would pull out the roots, clean them and consume them directly as a source of refreshment, since the root is extremely rich in moisture, electrolytes, salts and starch to alleviate the long working days under the sun.

Yacon Root

Improved Digestive Health

Yacon root contains compounds that function as prebiotics in the body, improving digestive health and treating certain types of colitis. These prebiotic properties influence the development of microflora in the digestive tract, leading to improved gastrointestinal fermentation. The increased bowel movements regularity associated with yacon root could be attributed to this prebiotic effect.

Yacon Root

Yacon Root

Yacon Root: Health Benefits & Side Effects

Yacon root comes from the Smallanthus sonchifolius plant native to South America. Used as a food and natural sweetener, yacon root’s potential health benefits have led to its use as a dietary supplement as well. Yacon root has beneficial effects for overweight people and for those with high cholesterol or those struggling with digestive conditions. Its adverse side effects are practically nonexistent.

Surprising Benefits of Yacon Root

Yacon root makes a great, healthy addition to a fruit salad when combined with pineapple and mango. Some people even make yacon root into a jam, making it a convenient way to enjoy its health benefits daily. Yacon root can also be enjoyed as a desert and baked into a pie, or extracted and made into syrup.

HOW TO ENJOY YACON ROOT

Many prefer the crunchy, juicy sweetness of yacon root raw. For the uninitiated, the first step to enjoying yacon root is to peel back the layers of skin.

Yacon Root

The first layer is a darker brown and the inner skin is white, which once peeled, will reveal an appetizing pulp. It should be noted that once you peel a yacon fruit, it should be eaten immediately, as it has a tendency to brown fairly rapidly. Adding citric acid to the pulp can prevent discoloration.

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If you want to add yacon root to your meals or to prepare a healthy snack, there are a number of ways you can enjoy this edible root.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

This root is largely comprised of water and an indigestible form of glucose called fructooligosaccharides. To put it simply, potato-like root prevents sugar from rapidly entering the blood stream and is low in calories.

Yacon Root

Like potatoes, yacon root isn’t exactly loaded with vitamins, however, it’s acts an auxiliary food, increasing the body’s potential for absorbing vitamins and minerals. Despite it’s non-existent vitamin count, yacon root is rich in certain minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorous.

BENEFITS OF YACON ROOT

Yacon root has begun to attract attention due to its reported health benefits. While more rigorous scientific research and human studies is needed to support these claims, animal and preliminary studies are promising. Listed here are some of the claims associated with yacon root.

1) REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR

Those who suffer from Type II diabetes, pay attention: yacon root may be a help addition to your diet and diabetes management. As we’ve discussed, yacon root works as an auxiliary food and helps to keep glucose levels in check.

2) LOWERS LDL CHOLESTEROL

Yacon root may also help to regulate cholesterol levels. Preliminary studies have found that yacon root overall helped to the accumulation of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, as it is more commonly referred to.

3) REGULATES BLOOD PRESSURE

In general, it appears from preliminary studies, that adding yacon root to your diet may be good for those concerned about their blood pressure levels and overall heart health.

Yacon Root

The rich potassium levels contained within yacon root improves the health and condition of the blood vessels by ensuring they are flexible and relaxed, allowing the easy flow of blood. This greatly reduces the stain placed upon the heart.

When there is easy blood flow to and from the heart and ensuring the proper oxygenation of the organs. Improving blood flow decreases the chances of developing atherosclerosis and prevents the onset of stroke and heart attacks.

4) IMPROVES DIGESTION

These days, dozens of different types of probiotics line grocery store shelves, helping to ensure healthy digestion. But are you aware of prebiotics and their role in helping the proliferation and micro flora in our gut?

Yacon root is considered a prebiotic, which means it helps feed the micro flora in our gut, boosting the efficacy of probiotics bacteria. When things are running smoothly in the gut, our body is more effective at absorbing nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from food.

Another benefit to prebiotics and probiotics is that it helps to prevent gastrointestinal distress, such as bloating and constipation. With that said, yacon root may be a more gentle and natural alternative to constipation drugs on the market, when it comes to mild constipation.

The Yacón is ovate and cylindrical in shape with tapered ends. It is covered in a rough semi thick skin that has a red-brown color. The flesh is creamy beige-orange, juicy, crisp and sweet like a fruit offering a flavor reminiscent of apple, watermelon, pear and celery. Some varieties of Yacón tubers may have purple, pink, red, orange or yellow skin and flesh and will vary in flavor.

Seasons/Availability

Yacón are available in the late fall and winter months.

Current Facts

The Yacón or Polymnia sonchifolia, also known as Peruvian ground apple, yacon, jacón, arboloco, yacuma, aricoma, earth apple and ancona, is a tuber that is related to the sunflower and a distant cousin of dahlias and Jerusalem artichokes. It is an herbaceous perennial plant and a member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family.

Nutritional Value

Yacón are an ideal food for people who suffer from diabetes and those who want to lose weight. They are known to be rich in dietary fiber and low in calories. Yacón tubers and leaves have high levels of fructo-oligosaccharide which is a type of sugar that cannot be recognized by the digestive system making them low in calories as a result. Fructo-oligosaccharide can aid in digestion and feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut which can play an important role in lowering the risk of diabetes. The bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids that have powerful anti-obesity effects when digested. Yacón contain a type of polyphenol called chlorogenic acid which has a strong antioxidant effect that is more than that of even red wine. Yacón tubers are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium which can help people who suffer from high-blood pressure.

Conclusion

Yacon is an important plant with loads of therapeutic and physiologic effects. Numerous researches are carried out to analyze the usefulness of this plant and to further use these outcomes in the field of medicine and everyday life. Some things are proven and others are still in process but there is a promising future of this plant in human life.

Yacon Root