Do You Know Yacon?

September 6, 2021 | Jerry Black | |

Grown in the Andes for generations by the Inca and their descendants, Yacon is related to sunflowers with large succulent tuber roots that have a juicy, watermelon flavor. From this we produce an exceptionally sweet syrup which can be used like honey or maple syrup.

Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a distant relative of the sunflower, with edible tubers. The syrup from this sweet root is raising eyebrows in the medical community and natural product world. It contains sweet fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which pass through the digestive track unmetabolized, providing few calories.† The sugars, however, are metabolized by the bifidobacteria in the large intestine and contribute to improved digestion and absorption of vitamins, such as B-complex.† Yacon also serves as a prebiotic-food for “friendly” bacteria. Other benefits of FOS supplementation include increased production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids, increased absorption of calcium and magnesium, and improved elimination.† It is considered hypoglycemic and holds promise as a sweetener for those who choose not to consume sugar.*

† Selected Studies

  1. Andean yacon root (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp. Endl) fructooligosaccharides as a potential novel source of prebiotics. Pedreschi R, Campos D, Noratto G, Chirinos R, Cisneros-Zevallos L. Department of Horticultural Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Aug. 27;51(18):5278-84 PMID:12926870 [PubMed] indexed for Medline]
  2. Smallanthus sonchifolius and Lepidiym meyenii-prospective Andean crops for prevention of chronic diseases. Valentova K. Ulrichova J. Institute of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Palachy University, Hnevotinska 3, Olomouc, 775 15, Czech Republic. Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2003 Dec;147 (2):119-30 PMID:15037892[PubMed-in process!]

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