Yacon is a plant that is known for its nutritious and healthy roots which have medicinal value. The leaves of this immensely beneficial plant are also used as herbal tea. Yacon grows natively in the Andean regions of South America, in warm and moist climates.
Yacon bears big yellow flowers and has crunchy and juicy roots often referred to as tubers. The yacon tubers have a unique flavor that is somewhat similar to celery and apples. It is known for its high fiber and low calorie content. Other yacon benefits include promotion of digestion by nurturing the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, improvement of blood sugar levels, facilitation of antioxidant activities, and helping in natural weight loss.
Yacon needs time to acclimatize to the weather. Hence, the first year will bring no harvest or very little harvest. However, after that the harvests will be abundant, about 3 times the yield of potatoes. Yacon is almost pest and disease-free. It also improves the fertility of the soil. The plant belongs to the sunflower family and can grow to nearly ten feet tall. The biggest yacon roots can weigh up to 3 pounds.
Yacon syrup is made from the roots or tubers of the yacon plant. It was initially used by the Incas as a natural substitute for sugar. Yacon syrup is recommended for diabetics or those at increased risk to developing it. Yacon root gets its sweetness from FOS or fructooligosacharides. It may be noted that nearly fifty percent of yacon tubers consist of FOS.
Yacon syrup tastes like caramel, molasses, and honey. It has a stronger and richer flavor than conventional sugar and hence should be sparingly used in yacon syrup recipes.
Yacon syrup is generally available in specialty markets and health food stores. In the United States, an 8 oz. jar costs about $15. Yacon syrup may be costlier than honey or regular sugar. However, as it is a lot sweeter, less yacon syrup is required.
Yacon syrup does not cause any harmful effects or risks as posed by artificial sweeteners. Some of the known yacon benefits are listed below:
Yacon syrup does not have any glucose. Also, FOS occurring in yacon roots cannot be easily metabolized by the body. Hence, it can act as an ideal source of sweetener for diabetics. Yacon syrup can be consumed by diabetic patients without worrying about a spike in their blood glucose levels. Many Brazilians consume yacon to fight the ill-effects of diabetes.
Different studies on yacon benefits have indicated that moderate use of yacon syrup is very useful for the body. Yacon has bacteria which are similar to those occurring in yogurt. Thus, it helps in efficient management of the digestive system.
Yacon syrup has very low calorie content. Hence, people who want to lose weight can consume yacon without worrying about excess calories.
White sugar is often bleached and filtered with the help of animal bones. Vegans can avail of yacon benefits and consume yacon syrup as a natural sweetening option for ethical reasons.
T K Copeland is a lifetime explorer of "how can I learn and grow today?" His interest of yacon syrup and its health benefits came from his mission to heal people and the world through his company Optimum Planet.