YACON ROOT – POWDER Smallanthus sonchifilius
Yacon, which may more commonly be known as the Peruvian ground apple, is a plant native to South America and grown for its crunchy tuberous roots. This perennial plant can easily be identified by its small, yellow, daisy-like flowers surrounded by dark green leaves. It may grow to over 2 meters in height and happens to belong to the same family as sunflowers. It also happens to be pest-free and drought resistant, and so can be easily grown almost anywhere all year round as long as there is no frost. Yacon roots are sweet-tasting and crisp; they are described as a sort of winter delicacy in spite of being a vegetable.
The yacon plant produces two types of underground tubers. The first type consists of rhizomes that are red in colour and grow close to the surface. They are sometimes eaten but are mostly used for planting more yacon. The other type consists of brown colored tubers which are larger in size and the ones you want to eat. From these very same tubers, yacon root extract can be drawn and turned into thick syrup known as yacon syrup, which has important physiologic effects on the human body.
The yacon plant has been traditionally grown by farmers on the eastern slopes of the Andes. The plant is well-adjusted to the ever-changing weather of the Andes, growing as easily in sub-tropical climate as the cooler temperatures in central Andes. Extremely dry and cold weather can cause the aerial yacon leaves to die but the rhizomes remain beneath the soil and sprout as soon as the temperature and moisture content becomes more favorable. Even though frost can deter its growth, not much else seems to affect it. Not only does it seem to be pretty drought-resistant, it can also grow easily on poor soil that tends to give other plants a harder time. Due to its ability to adapt to different climates and weathers, the yacon plant can be grown to produce a commercial yield almost everywhere.
ANCIENT MEDICINE FOR MODERN TIMES
Yacon refers to the plant Smallanthus sonchifolius (of the family Asteraceae) which is also synonymous with polymnia edulis and polymnia sonchifolius. It is native to South America, and is cultivated in countries such as Colombia and Ecuador for both nutritive and medicinal uses. It is sometimes paired alongside Maca due to their similar places of origin and both being tuber vegetables used as dietary supplements.
YACON ROOT HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
Some of the most popular yacon health benefits include the control of blood sugar levels, control of cholesterol level, boosting immune system and helping in weight loss. The yacon root is full of health benefits some might be undiscovered but let’s take a look at a few ones.
- Potential Weight Loss Aid: Yacon is a potential weight loss agent therefore known as “Diet potato”. It is a low calorie root and it is made up of fructooligosacharide which helps one to feel full longer.
- Control Of Type II Diabetes: Yacon contain inulin, which is a type of fructose found in the yacon tuber. Some researchers have claimed that it’s useful in insulin independent diabetes, such as type II diabetes for regulating blood sugar levels. Research is still being continued and researchers are striving to document any importance of this plant in diabetes, which could be revolutionizing in the field of medicine as a therapeutic agent.
- Used As Natural Sweetener: They can be used in the preparation of sugar free sweeteners for diabetic patients and those who are motivated to lose weight. You can also add yacon sweetener in coffee and tea.
- Cancer Prevention: It is a potent anticancer agent for it inhibits the proliferation of mutant cells by initiating apoptosis (programmed cell death). It is found effective against skin, colon and blood cancer.
- Prevention Of Fatty Liver: Yacon is an important regulator of body fat and prevent excessive cholesterol accumulation, thus protecting liver function by assisting it in cholesterol metabolism. It helps in metabolic processes of body.
- Reduced Triglycerides: Yacon contain fructooligosaccharide that lowers bad cholesterol (triglycerides and low density lipoprotein). Low level of triglyceride is associated with reduce risk of heart attacks and stroke.
- Prebiotic Effects: It is associated with correction of digestion by increasing intestinal flora and preventing colitis.
- Cure For Constipation: It is a used to increase intestinal motility thus reducing constipation.
- Antioxidant Activity: Chemical analysis of yacon has shown antioxidant activity which prevents the body from inflammatory and chronic diseases. This is one of the chief yacon root benefits. These antioxidants were extracted by methanol from the yacon plant. Caffeic acid, Ferulic acid and Chlorogenic are the anti oxidants found in the leaves of yacon.
- Anti Fungal: Yacon leaves have reported important anti fungal effects. The yacon leaf may be used in the treatment of fungal diseases like athlete’s foot.
- Tribal And Herbal Medicine: In South America, yacon plants are used as tribal medicines for kidney and bladder problems and also for cystitis, nephritis and externally for myalgia.
Scientific studies on the Yacon root
- According to a study carried out in 2013 by Delgado et al, ingestion of fructooligosaccharide and inulin improves the growth of bifido bacteria in the colon- part of the normal flora in our intestines that help us with digestion. Not only that but eating yacon benefits us by an enhancement of mineral absorption and overall improvement of gastrointestinal metabolism, along with playing a role in the regulation of serum cholesterol. It doesn’t even stop here! Eating yacon root benefits us by infusing our blood with prebiotics that nurture the immune system, improving the body’s ability to resist infections and allergic reactions.
- Another study done by H Satoh et al, on rats confirmed beliefs about the benefits of yacon diabetes being in consideration. Not only is yacon a great substitute for sugar for the use of diabetic people, as it contains inulin and can be used as a yacon sweetener, but also the results of this study showed that yacon feeding reduced blood glucose due to its beneficial effects on hepatic insulin sensitivity in diabetic people.
- A yacon study done on mice with induced diabetes showed that yacon increased sperm count and reduced glycemia.
- In 2009, a study by Genta S et al, showed that daily consumption of yacon syrup by obese pre-menopausal women lead to a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index. A decrease in fasting serum insulin and an increase in satiety sensation were also seen.
- A study published in 2015 investigated the effects of yacon based products on how it can affect constipation. The yacon based product showed it could actually ease constipation symptoms.
Use yacon root powder to add sweetness to baked goods, smoothies and sprinkled on foods. You also avoid any adulteration with added fructose by used bulk root powder. A tea is made from the fresh leaves in South America, and fresh slices of yacon root are also eaten raw.
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.
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.
Suggested Use: Mix 1 tablespoon with yogurt, add to your favourite smoothie or infuse into a tea.
SOLD IN 250g PORTIONS
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