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Yacon (Ground Apple) - Health Benefits

Written By Admin on Sunday, June 5, 2016 | 9:34:00 PM

The yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius, syn.: Polymnia edulis, P. sonchifolia) is really a perennial plant typically grown within the northern and central Andes from Colombia to northern Argentina because of its crisp, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots. Their texture as well as flavour are extremely comparable to jicama, mostly differing in that yacón has got a few somewhat sweet, resinous, as well as floral (much like violet) undertones to its flavour, most likely because of the existence of inulin, that creates the sweet taste of the roots of elecampane, too. Another term for yacón is Peruvian ground apple, possibly from the French name of potato, pomme de terre (ground apple). The tuber is made up mainly of water as well as fructooligosaccharide.

Frequently known as jicama in Ecuador, yacón is oftentimes mistaken for that not related plant. Rather, it is just a close relative of the sunflower as well as Jerusalem artichoke. The plant creates a perennial rhizome to which are attached the edible, delicious storage roots, the principal economic product of the plant. The rhizome develops just below the surface of the soil as well as constantly creates aerial shoots. Dry and/or cold seasons make the aerial shoots to die back, however the plant resprouts from the rhizome under favourable conditions of temperature and moisture. The edible storage tubers are large and frequently weigh from the few hundred grams to a kilogram or so.

The tubers consist of fructooligosaccharide, an indigestible polysaccharide comprised of fructose. Fructooligosaccharides taste sweet, yet pass through the human digestive system unmetabolised, therefore have little caloric value. Moreover, fructooligosaccharides have got a prebiotic effect, which means they are utilized by beneficial bacteria which improve colon health and aid digestion.

Yacón plants can easily grow to around 2 m in height and provide small, inconspicuous yellow flowers at the conclusion of the growing season. Unlike a number of other root vegetables domesticated by the indigenous peoples of the Andes (ulluco, oca, and mashua), yacón just isn’t photoperiod sensitive, and may create a industrial yield within the subtropics, too.

Traditionally, yacón roots are developed by farmers at midelevations on the eastern slopes of the Andes descending toward the Amazon. It really is developed occasionally along field borders where the juicy tubers supply a welcome source of refreshment during field work. Till as recently as the early 2000s, yacón was rarely recognized just outside of its restricted native range, and was unavailable from urban markets; however, press reports of its used in Japan because of its proposed antihyperglycemic qualities made the crop extensively known in Lima along with other Peruvian cities. Companies also have developed novel products like yacón syrup as well as yacón tea. Both products are well-liked by diabetics as well as dieters.

Varieties of Yacon

Yacon tubers (Smallanthus sonchifolius) could be red, orange, yellow, pink and purple but most of the more colourful ones are located only in South America, where yacon originates. The rest of us will certainly find only white varieties.

Health benefits of Yacon

Yacon, Polymnia sonchifolia, also referred to as Peruvian ground apple, is really a native of South America that’s a relative of the sunflower. It creates juicy, edible tubers, from where its title, converted as “watery root,” is derived. Individuals in the Andes have enjoyed yacon as a food source for over a thousand years. Yacon provides particular health advantages.

1. Blood Sugar Management

Syrup created from yacon root might help reduce your blood sugar, in accordance with a survey released in the April 2009 issue of “Clinical Nutrition.” Sugarlike molecules in yacon referred to as fructooligosaccharides, that are derived from a nondigestible carbohydrate known as inulin, offer about half the sweetness of sugar without increasing blood sugar levels. Within the study, obese volunteers with insulin resistance, that is the improper response of cells to the existence of insulin, were given two daily doses of yacon syrup containing 0.29 grams and 0.14 grams of fructooligosaccharides per kilogram of body weight. At the conclusion of the 120-day study, the participants had obtained considerably reduced fasting insulin levels. However, fasting blood sugar levels weren’t affected. The study also demonstrated that yacon syrup promoted weight loss as well as suppressed appetite.

2. Potential Weight Loss Aid

Yacon is actually a potential weight loss agent as a result referred to as “Diet potato”. It is just a low-calorie root and it’s also composed of fructooligosacharide which will help one to feel full for a longer period.

3. Used As Natural Sweetener

They may be utilized in the preparation of sugar free sweeteners for diabetic patients and people who are inspired to shed weight. You may also add yacon sweetener in tea and coffee.

4. Prevention Of Fatty Liver

Yacon is a crucial regulator of body fat and stop extreme cholesterol accumulation, therefore safeguarding liver function by aiding it in cholesterol metabolism. It will help in metabolic processes of body.

5. Reduced Triglycerides

Yacon include fructooligosaccharide which reduces bad cholesterol (triglycerides and low density lipoprotein). Low level of triglyceride is assigned to decrease chance of heart attacks as well as stroke.

6. Prebiotic Effects

It is related to correction of digestion simply by raising intestinal flora as well as avoiding colitis.7. Cure For Constipation

It is a utilized to boost intestinal motility therefore decreasing constipation.

8. Antioxidant Activity

Chemical analysis of yacon has demonstrated antioxidant activity that helps prevent the body from inflammatory as well as long-term diseases. This really is one of the chief yacon root benefits. These antioxidants were extracted by methanol from the yacon plant. Caffeic acid, Ferulic acid and Chlorogenic are classified as the anti oxidants perfectly found on the leaves of yacon.

9. Anti Fungal

Yacon leaves have got documented important anti fungal effects. The yacon leaf can be utilized within the management of fungal diseases just like athlete’s foot.

10. Tribal And Herbal Medicine

In South America, yacon plants are utilized as tribal medications for kidney and bladder problems and also for cystitis, nephritis and externally for myalgia.

11. Cancer Prevention

Potential anticancer benefits of yacon were demonstrated in the tissue culture research of human cervical cancer cells published in the October 2011 issue of the journal “Fitoterapia.” Yacon compounds inhibited the development as well as reproduction of cancer cells and promoted early cell death. In the tissue culture research published in the December 2010 issue of the journal “Chemistry and Biodiversity,” a fungus which grows on the roots and leaves of yacon demonstrated anticancer benefits towards skin, colon, nerve as well as blood cancers.

12. Liver Health

A variety of yacon and silymarin, that is the active component in milk thistle, improved cholesterol as well as blood sugar levels in patients along with metabolic syndrome in the research published in the March 2008 issue of “Food and Chemical Toxicology.” Metabolic syndrome is really a mixture of problems that boosts risk for heart disease and diabetes. Within the study, participants consumed 2.4 grams of yacon and 0.8 grams of silymarin a day for 90 days. Results demonstrated the mixture supplement improved cholesterol levels as well as avoided fat accumulation within the liver, leading researchers to conclude that yacon and silymarin may possibly promote healthy heart and liver function.

13. Dietary Uses

Fresh yacon includes a slightly sweet taste along with a crunchy texture much like that of an apple, while its flavor is close to that of watermelon. South Americans consume the tubers, which could vary from yellow to purple, like a fruit, along with lemon juice as well as honey, or they add it to fruit salad. You may also stir-fry, roast or bake yacon like a vegetable. Make use of yacon leaves, also loaded with inulin, to wrap other foods since you might cabbage or grape leaves, or brew them to make an herbal tea. Yacon syrup as well as powdered yacon supplements can also be found.

Methods to consume Yacon

Yacon features a crispy consistency, somewhat similar to water chestnuts, along with a sweet flavour, therefore it is rather good just peeled, sliced as well as consumed like a snack. It is great in salads too, although its tendency to brown implies that you ought to add it in the last minute, once everything else is assembled capable to be dressed, or even sprinkle with some lemon juice to avoid it discolouring since it is peeled (and do peel it, the skin could be a little bitter).

Yacon also offers a wonderful tendency to soak up sauces as well as dressings, which will make it an incredible vehicle for other flavours. Test it grated along with carrots in the mustardy vinaigrette using a number of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or perhaps in the traditional South American fruit salad, salpicón. Mix peeled, chopped yacon along with chunks of pineapple, chopped papaya and mango and dress in newly squeezed orange juice and a spritz of lemon.You might also use yacon as an alternative to apples in the Waldorf salad. Simply peel and dice the yacon and toss it in lemon juice to prevent it from going brown, then combine it in the bowl along with chopped celery, several raisins and walnuts. Dress along with mayonnaise thinned with some sour cream and serve instantly on crisp lettuce leaves.

Yacon tends to make a succulent, refreshing munch within the garden – just dug and brushed free of soil, or even washed in case you have water to hand. Otherwise get the tubers in the kitchen and try them with a little lemon juice as well as honey sprinkled over.And do not waste a chance together with the leaves – they’ve created a tasty wrap, in exactly the same as vine leaves or cabbage leaves do, for just about any number of fillings.

Side effects of eating Yacon

In spite of its usefulness there can be a few negative effects. Some reported negative effects are:

Allergic Reactions – There has been one documented case of the allergic reaction to yacon extract,

Intestinal pain as well as loose stool – If you consume to much it may cause pain within the intestines. Some individuals also have reported having loose stool after enjoying yacon syrup.There has been research carried out on Yacon syrup utilizing a dose of 0.29 g and 0.14 g fructooligosaccharides per kg of body weight each day. The upper limit did cause undesirable gastrointestinal effects for many people, but the reduce level worked well. However, consuming yacon raw or cooked shouldn’t cause in problems because the concentration in ructooligosaccharides is less in volume.


Yacon is a vital plant along with lots of therapeutic as well as physiologic effects. Numerous studies are performed to analyze the usefulness of this plant and also to further use these outcomes in the field of medicine and everyday life. Several things have been proven and others are still in process but there is a promising future of this plant in human life.