Yacon –have you ever heard of this before? Have you ever seen one? Well, actually, yacon is a humungous perennial plant, which mainly grows and is cultivated for its tuberous roots. It is not just a great vegetable addition to dishes, it also contains so many essential nutrients. All of which make up the amazing health benefits of yacon. These include its own ability to make the immune system stronger, boost the digestion, prevent various types of cancer, improve the liver health, lower the blood pressure levels, lower cholesterol levels, and regulate the blood pressure levels, among others. Give this article a read and get to learn more about this amazing vegetable.
Yacon: What is this?
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Yacon, as what we have said earlier, is a huge perennial plant, which is mainly cultivated and grown for its tuberous roots. Scientifically, they call it the Smallanthus sonchifolius. It mainly grows in South America, specifically in the Northern and Central Andes, which mainly fall in Argentina and Colombia.
Furthermore, yacon has been a conventionally grown vegetable for over thousands of years now. Moreover, it has a wide range of uses. The yacon syrup and powder form are usually used as a healthy substitute for sugar as a sweetener in some foods. Not only that, but the yacon root may also be eaten in raw form, just like the jicama and potato. The mainstream of the yacon tubes’ density that may grow up to about 1 kilogram is actually fructooligasaccharides. This is a type of indigestible fructose. Moreover, this distinct quality of yacon is actually a part that makes the vegetable so valuable.
Moreover, yacon was not widely popular outside the native range until the recent years, yet is also in cultivation in the countries of New Zealand and Australia. Its popularity has now spread to South Korea, China, Japan, and even in various healthy food markets in the United States.
The harvesting time of yacon is after its rhizomes on top of the plant fall back and die. This means that when the tube under the ground is already ready to eat. One of the greatest things about the yacon is that it may easily grow in the home gardens. Moreover, it just requires small expertise or farming experiences. Yacon’s juicy meat is a bit sweeter due to its composition of fructose.
Moreover, the leaves of the yacon plant also have organic compounds, which makes it more valuable to the diet.
Nutritional Content of Yacon
As what I’ve said earlier, the yacon tubers are mainly composed of water and fructooligasaccharides. This just means that the majority of the carbohydrate sugars are not possible to be digested by the body. This may result in very low-calorie levels and a prevention of extra sugar that comes in the bloodstream. Moreover, yacon also helps the body in increasing the mineral and vitamins absorption of all the other foods. Therefore, while there are now so many minerals and vitamins in the yacon itself, it is so important that you consume it. That having said, yacon is still rich in phosphorus, calcium, and potassium.
Health Benefits of Yacon
Here are some of the most surprising health benefits of yacon:
- Aids in liver The liver is one of the best sources of glucose in the body. This makes sense that the regulation of sugar through the consumption of yacon might affect liver health in one way or another. Studies actually show that adequate amount of yacon may help in preventing the fat accumulation in the liver, as well as maintain the proper liver function and health.
- Helps in preventing cancer. Research shows that the compounds present in the yacon may have some inhibitory effects on the growth of cancer cells. However, this research is still preliminary, there’s no disadvantage to this possible benefit of adding yacon to the diet. This is one of the best health benefits of yacon.
- Helps in improving digestive though the body cannot absorb the fructooligosaccharides, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the healthy bacteria in the gut doesn’t find it delicious. Yacon also contain prebiotic materials, which stimulate the health and growth of bodies’ microflora.
- Helps in controlling cholesterol Apart from being beneficial for diabetes, yacon is also important for those who need a control over their own cholesterol levels. Research actually shows that the consumption of yacon may result in the lowering of the lipid levels and prevent bad cholesterol accumulation.
- Helps in preventing diabetes. The yacon has anti-hyperglycemic effects. Furthermore, the fructooligosaccharides in it is means that it cant absorb simple sugars, causing it to lower the amount of the production of glucose in the liver and cause a particular shift and lower the fasting glucose levels.
Cautions of Yacon
Even though it’s rare, there are some reports that say, yacon may cause allergic reactions. Moreover, the leaves must not just be beneficial for tea, as they are slightly toxic to the kidneys when you eat it directly. Other than these, you can enjoy yacon and all of its amazing benefits!