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 it 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 this 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
Its 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.
The powdered form 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.
Overall, yacon is an incredibly beneficial food found in South America- yacon syrup, yacon juice and yacon root are all packed with health benefits. Not to mention yacon root extract- it contains probiotics which helps boost your overall digestive health, reduce inflammation in the body, and help improve immunity.
It’s one of the most powerful antioxidants available and can benefit your skin – improving elasticity and hydration for healthier looking skin. This root has even been touted as a natural weight loss aid too! While yacon isn’t sold in every health food market around the world, if you can find it – consuming yacon root or using yacon root syrup can be really beneficial for your overall health.
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