With a crunchy like texture and a sweet taste, the very popular Yacon plant has been consumed for centuries in Peru, as a refreshing fruit and as a medicine. The Yacon root is known for its juicy tubers and high amounts of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). That is why, in medicine Yacon is suggested as a very good treatment for diabetics (due to the low caloric content) and to control body weight for obese patients.
Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a member of the sunflower family. It has small yellow flowers and it develops rather large tubers.
The plant contains 86%-90% water and it is packed with sugar. Tubers can have different colors ranging from yellow to orange, red, and pink or purple, each with different flavors, but all are crunchy and rich in water. When crushed, one gets a nice juice.
The name Yacon comes from the Quechuan word llagon, which means a”watery root”.
For Diabetics and Weight Loss
Yacon is packed with sugar! However, the sugar in question is mainly oligo-fructose (known as fructo-oligo-saccharide – FOS), a special type of sugar (classified as prebiotics) which cannot be absorbed by our body. That means that our body is not able to digest the sugar found in Yacon (it passes through the system without leaving behind absorbable sugar compounds).
Therefore, even naturally sweet Yacon has low-calories and its sugar does not raise our blood glucose levels.
If taken raw, the tubers are good as a diuretic for kidney and bladder problems.
Yacon main uses
- For Diabetes
- It can lower cholesterol and discourage clot formation
- Reduces the hypertension problems
- Promotes beneficial bacteria in the colon (stimulates beneficial bifidus bacteria in the colon)
- For kidney and bladder problems
- As a liver tonic
Yacon Syrup and Tea
Both the tubers and the leaves are very healthy because they contain a form of sugar our body is not able to break down, making it low in calories.
Two products can be made from Yacon: Yacon syrup and Yacon tea and both products are extremely popular because of their low sugar properties.
Yacon Syrup is a natural sweetener made from the tubers and it is a great sources of fructo-oligo-saccharides (glucose-free). Continuously introducing a food rich with oligo-fructose to our body, it will help us improve our digestive system by promoting beneficial bacteria in the colon. That is why this syrup rich in OFS, can help you regulate your weight and it is an excellent food for your colon: it feeds the friendly bacteria in the colon that boosts the immune system and helps digestion, and it hinders the toxic bacteria.
Yacon leaves contain protocatechuic, chlorogenic, caffeic and ferulic acids, which gives the tea antioxidant properties. This tea is an ideal remedy for treating diabetes and for treating diseases caused by free radicals (such as arteriosclerosis).
However, Yacon is really delicious and healthiest if eaten fresh in a combination with other fruits.
A healthy Yacon Tip
Peel and chop some Yacon, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice over it (add some citrus to prevent the discoloration that results once tubers are exposed to air) and add its crunchy texture to your fruit salad.
Good to know: If the Yacon roots have been dried in the sun, they become even sweeter!
Yacon is also known as: Aymara and Quechua Aricoma and aricuma, Llaqon, llacum, llacuma or yacumpi, jicama, chicama, shicama, jiquima or arboloco In other European languages: poire de terre (French) and yacon strawberry (English).