Blog Post: Yacon

So you may have seen yacon products while out shopping, whether in tablet form, or a powder, or even a syrup, it may not be entirely clear as to what is does. Most publicity at the moment on yacon focuses on its properties that can aid weight loss. As appealing as that may be, I want to look into the healthy benefits of the yacon plants!

What is it?

Yacon is a plant native to South America, high up in the Andes mountains, and it is the root of the plant that we are interested in .The root resembles an off colour sweet potato, despite yacon being a member of the daisy family! Perhaps I have not seen enough daisy roots to know what they really look like. For many years yacon was only known within its native range, and was used as a way of adding sweetness to dishes during special occasions. In the last decade however, yacon products have started to make their way to the rest of the world.

yacon

Supplement.

So if you enjoy a nice stroll around your local health food shop, you may have stumbled across yacon tablets or powder. These will usually be found among other weight loss supplements, possibly giving away what the yacon supplement is for. Now like with every other weight loss supplement out there, it will not make you lose weight by just taking it alone. Personally, weight loss should come from a good healthy lifestyle, so I never encourage taking these supplements if your main goal is to lose 3 stone over night.

Yacon has some great health benefits that justify taking it as a health supplement. According to studies, yacon can have a positive effect on your blood sugar. Eating the yacon root has shown to reduce the quantity of glucose produced by the liver, reducing the chances of developing type II diabetes. Yacon has also been shown the increase insulin sensitivity, which also promotes healthier blood sugar levels.

If you are suffering from high cholesterol, and need a bit of a helping hand, yacon is also important for reducing cholesterol levels. The fructooligosaccharides that make up yacon can help to prevent the accumulation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Baking.

Now going back to your stroll around your local health food shop, you may see yacon as a syrup with other sugar alternatives. This sugar alternative is one of the greatest I have some across! Unfortunately it is quite pricey, so experimenting with it can be a bit daunting! Yacon syrup can be used just like any other liquid sweetener, whether it’s used to sweeten healthy muffins, or to drizzle over a stack of fluffy pancakes. Its taste is similar to that of molasses or date syrup, lovely and dark. It’s overall sugar content is the lowest I have ever seen among liquid sweeteners. With honey and maple syrup lingering around 60g of sugar per 100g of syrup, yacon syrup contains roughly 28g of sugar per 100g of syrup. Yacon root is mostly composed of water and fructooligosaccharides. Fructooligosaccharides cannot be digested by the body, resulting in the prevention of excess sugar being absorbed into the bloodstream.

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