What is Yacon or Smallanthus sonchifolius? It’s a sweet tuberous root originally from Northern and Central Andes, primarily Colombia and Argentina. It is now also grown in Italy, Vietnam and New Zealand. Due to the presence of inulin, it has a sweet apple taste as well as texture. Being a tuber, it grows underground, and like potatoes can be orange, white, purple or pink in colour. The yacon root can be eaten raw or cooked, made into a syrup and be used as an alternative to sugar or sweeteners in foods. Read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Yacon!
1. Helps regulate blood sugar levels
Many people have started using yacon for its anti-hyperglycemic effect as an auxiliary food and to help keep glucose levels in check. Its fructooligosaccharides encourage your body to not absorb simple sugars. It actually lowers the amount of glucose production in your the liver and causes a shift to lower fasting glucose rates. This is very important and useful for people suffering from diabetes.
2. Helps regulate blood pressure
Adding yacon root to your diet is helpful if you’re concerned about your blood pressure. Its high levels of potassium help your blood vessels to relax and be more flexible therefore allowing for an easier flow of blood.
3. Helps control LDL cholesterol
Yacon helps regulate cholesterol by lowering lipid and bad cholesterol levels thanks to its fructooligosaccharides that prevent the accumulation of LDL.
4. Improves digestion
Yacon contains prebiotics (thanks again to the fructooligosaccharides that are “food” for the gut) that stimulate the growth and health of the microflora in your body.
5. Promotes liver health
Yacon root helps to regulate your glucose levels, if taken in combination with milk thistle it reduces and prevents the accumulation of fat in your liver so you can maintain a healthy, optimised functioning liver.
You can implement yacon into your diet as it’s widely and easily available. Powdered yacon can be added to lemon juice and honey for a refreshing drink. Itself, it can be roasted, baked or stir-fried as a vegetable or added to salads. The yacon leaves (which are high in inulin) can be used to wrap food (instead of grape leaves and cabbage). Its leaves can also be brewed to make a herbal tea. Fan of yacon, what do you like most about it? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. (Check out our other Top 5’s to help you easily Keep YOUR Fit ON!)