The list of health benefits from consuming Yacon is long:
- Aid digestion
- Promote vitamin absorption
- Help you feel fuller
- It’s a rich source of antioxidants.
- It’s is a healthier sweetener alternative – especially for diabetics
- It may strengthen the immune system
- It may reduce cholesterol levels
What is Yacon?
Yacon is a plant grown in the Andean region, which looks similar to a sweet potato.
The Yacon is sweet but naturally low in calories. It was used by the Incas and may have been consumed in the region for thousands of years.
People say that it helps digestion and weight loss. The leaves are used to make a tea that is thought to lower blood glucose for diabetics. It is believed to have amazing medicinal qualities and to improve overall well-being.
Yacon is high in a type of sugar called fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which is healthier and lower in calories than many other sugars. Fructooligosaccharides found in Yacon may be very good for digestive health, as they are a prebiotic that promotes healthy bacteria in the gut.
A healthy digestive system means that vitamins are absorbed more efficiently, aiding in weight loss and possibly improving immunity and overall health.
It is also high in an indigestible sugar called inulin, which gives a sweet taste with reduced calories.
Yacon syrup is made when the roots of the Yacon plant are juiced and then filtered. It is a natural process similar to the way in which maple syrup is made.
The syrup makes an excellent sweetener for people trying to cut down on sugar, particularly for people with diabetes, as studies suggest it has a smaller effect on blood glucose levels than sugar.
The Yacon plant itself is a juicy root that can be eaten for its health benefits. It can be peeled and consumed raw – it tastes a bit like a pear or an apple. Alternatively, it can be roasted or baked like a root vegetable. To get the most out of Yacon, have it in its concentrated syrup form and do not heat it, as this can break down the beneficial sugars and enzymes.
Yacon is traditionally grown in the Andean region, but it is increasingly being produced more widely, particularly in the United States. You can grow your own Yacon plant at home to try some delicious, healthful recipes while adding Yacon syrup to your diet to get the true benefits of this plant.
How Yacon Can Help You Lose Weight and Ditch Sugar
Studies have shown that Yacon aids weight loss. If you change your diet and increase your exercise, Yacon syrup could seriously boost your metabolism resulting in far greater weight loss. When the fructooligosaccharides in Yacon syrup are digested, short-chain fatty acids are produced that can have powerful effects on metabolism and stress resistance. It may also reduce appetite by suppressing ghrelin.
To use Yacon to help you lose weight, consume Yacon syrup. Start with 1 teaspoon a day, an hour before you eat a meal. Then increase your consumption until you are adding around 4 teaspoons of Yacon syrup a day to your diet.
Yacon syrup can also boost the health of your digestive system by supporting healthy bacteria in the gut. This means that you will be absorbing the nutrients from your food more effectively and could improve your overall digestion. As the fructooligosaccharides in Yacon are higher in fiber than many sugars, you could also feel fuller quicker after taking Yacon syrup before meals.
Studies have also suggested that Yacon syrup produces a laxative effect, which can help your digestive system to function better. Be careful not to consume too much Yacon syrup for this reason, though!
Other Benefits of Yacon Syrup
Yacon syrup could also have a favorable effect on reducing unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to studies. While initial findings of studies on the benefits of Yacon syrup are very promising, more research is needed to reinforce these results.
If you are reducing the amount of sugar in your diet (and you should be, as a high sugar diet is associated with obesity, inflammation and other health problems), Yacon syrup is a wonderful sweetener with fewer calories, a low glycemic index, and a gentler impact on blood glucose levels. To get the health benefits of the fructooligosaccharides in Yacon, don’t use Yacon syrup for baking or cooking, as the heat can break down the healthy components.
Yacon syrup does still contain sugars such as fructose and glucose, but the majority of the syrup is made up of fructooligosaccharides and inulin, which are not digested. Therefore, the overall impact of the sugar is less, and the calorie load of Yacon syrup is lower than most sweeteners.
You can use Yacon syrup to sweeten many foods. Drizzle it over pancakes or waffles, ice cream, and fruit. It can replace a teaspoon of sugar in your tea. It can even replace icing on cakes and muffins for healthier bakes. Splash a teaspoon into your oats or your morning green smoothie to gain the health benefits of Yacon.
Here are some great recipe ideas that incorporate Yacon.
Yacon No-Bake Oat Bars
- ½ cup of mixed nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts)
- 1 tablespoon of mixed seeds (such as poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of chopped dates or dried figs
- 3 tablespoons of Yacon syrup
- 1 tablespoon of nut butter (such as peanut or almond)
- ½ cup of oats
- Dry fry the nuts and seeds in a pan for 1-2 minutes, checking that they don’t burn.
- In a bowl, mix the nuts, seeds, mixed spice if using and dried fruit.
- Add the Yacon syrup and nut butter and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in the oats until you have a crumbly mixture. If it is too dry, add a teaspoon more of Yacon syrup or nut butter. If it is too sticky, add a teaspoon of oats.
- Spoon the mixture into a small baking tin and press down with the back of a spoon.
- Chill in the fridge overnight.
Fluffy Spelt Pancakes with Yacon Syrup
- 1 cup of plain spelt or wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup of Yacon syrup
- Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl.
- Add the egg and the milk. Whisk.
- Add a tablespoon of the liquid mixture to a non-stick pan without oil. Leave to cook for 1 minute and then flip the pancake over.
- When you have cooked all of your pancakes, drizzle with Yacon syrup.
Yacon Syrup Superfood Smoothie
- 1 cup of spinach, stems removed
- 1 cup of kale, stems removed
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup of apple juice
- 1 tablespoon of Yacon syrup
Combine all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add water to adjust the consistency.
Yacon Superfood Salad
- 1 medium Yacon
- 1 cup of raw spinach
- ½ cup broccoli
- ½ ripe avocado, sliced
- Pinch of fresh coriander leaves
- Pinch of fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup of grilled chicken breast
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of Yacon syrup
- Chop the Yacon into small cubes and mix with the spinach, broccoli, and avocado.
- Serve onto plates and top with chicken breast.
- Tear coriander and mint leaves over to decorate.
- In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and Yacon syrup to create the dressing. Pour over salad evenly.
Yacon Fruit Salad
- 1 medium Yacon
- 1 medium pineapple
- 1 medium mango
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chop the Yacon, pineapple, and mango into similar sized slivers.
- Combine the Yacon, pineapple, and mango. Dress with the lemon juice to taste.
Grow your Own Yacon
It’s easy and fun to grow your own Yacon in the garden. They are perennials, which means they will grow on for several years after you plant them if you take care of them.
Many garden centers will sell Yacon plants, or you can take a cutting from an existing plant. The plant is part of the sunflower family – has little yellow flowers in autumn and tuberous roots, which are edible.
Yacons are related to parsnips and other root vegetables. And it will grow well alongside these plants if you already grow them. They like rich soil, so provide them with plenty of compost. Yacon plants will thrive where they can receive a bit of warmth and rain. You can harvest the tubers in autumn but leave the little roots closer to the surface of the earth as they keep the plants going for next year.
When stored in a cool, dry place, Yacon can keep for several months and will grow sweeter. You can eat the leaves of the yacon raw, like lettuce.
You and Yacon
Remember: to reap the health benefits of Yacon, have a teaspoon of syrup before meals, and don’t expose it to too much heat.
Add exercise and eat a healthy diet to see the real weight loss effects of this ancient medicinal plant. You should begin growing Yacon and cooking with this unusual sweet plant to cut down your sugar intake and contribute to overall well-being.
Excessive consumption of Yacon syrup can result in bloating, diarrhea, and painful gas. Please remember to consult your physician before undertaking any weight loss plan, and if you experience any side effects, see your doctor immediately.