What is Yacon Syrup?

Yacon syrup is a natural sweetener that comes from the storage roots of the Yacon plant.  Found at the Andes mountains of South America, it was first used by the ancient Incan Empire of the said continent.

how yacon roots look likeBecause of its nutritional value, it rose to popularity particularly in Peru where people ate it for that very purpose.  As it contains only a few calories and low sugar levels, Bolivians used its  roots to feed people suffering from diabetes as well as other digestive and renal conditions. Brazilians likewise made use of its dried leaves to make antidiabetic yacon tea.

What does yacon syrup contain? Basically, it holds 50% of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). This is often used as an alternative sweetener, with sweetness levels that come between  30 – 50% sugar in syrups that have been prepared commercially. This FOS entered the commercial scene when people started to use it in response to the market demand of calorie-reduced foods in the 1980’s.

What are Yacon Syrup Benefits?

So what good can this molasses-tasting syrup bring you? There’s certainly a lot that you can gain from it especially when it comes to your health and wellness.

1. Promoter of a Healthy Diet

If you would taste a fresh Yacon, you’d know that it tastes sweet with a crunchy texture just like that of an apple. Its flavor, on the other hand, tastes very much like a watermelon. The Yacon tubers, which come in an array of yellow to violet colors, can be eaten as a fruit, added to fruit salad or paired with lemon juice and honey. You also have the option to bake, roast or stir-fry it as a vegetable. High in insulin, the Yacon leaves are used to wrap other foods or brewed to make some herbal tea.

2. Management of Blood Sugar Levels

glucose levels managementYacon is made of sugarlike molecules, fructooligosaccharides, which came from non-digestible carbohydrate called insulin. Although this gives around half the sweetness of sugar, you are in no danger of increasing your blood sugar levels.

A study was once done on obese people with insulin resistance wherein they were given two doses of yacon syrup everyday. The first dose contained 0.29 grams while the second had 0.1 gram of FOS for every kilogram of body weight.

After 120 days, results showed that the participants had a significant decrease in fasting insulin levels but the fasting blood sugar was not affected at all. Likewise, the participants experienced a decrease in both appetite and weight.

3. Health of Your Liver

The active ingredient in milk thistle, which is yacon and silymarin combined, showed signs of improvement in both blood sugar and cholesterol levels among patients with metabolic syndrome. This disease is a mix of conditions that that increases a person’s chances of having heart disease and diabetes.

A study published in the March 2008 of “Food and Chemical Toxicology” was once done on participants who were made consume 2.4 grams of yacon and 0.8 grams of silymarin.

After 90 days, results showed that consumption of both ingredients showed an improvement on the cholesterol levels of participants and likewise helped to block fat from accumulating in the liver.

Scientists therefore concluded that yacon and silymarin are promoters of a healthy heart and liver.

4. Prevention of Cancer

In a tissue culture research about cervical cancer cells among humans, Yacon compounds proved to be good inhibitors of growth and reproduction of cancer cells; thereby, promoting early cell death. This study was published in the journal “Fitoterapia” during its October 2011 issue.

Another tissue culture study showed that the fungus that grows on the Yacon leaves and roots proved to have anticancer benefits against cancers of the skin, blood, nerves and colon. This second research was published in the December 2010 issue of the journal “Chemistry and Biodiversity.”

Indeed, the Yacon syrup offers many health benefits especially when it comes to weight loss and diabetes but do keep in mind that this plant is not a treatment of the said diseases. It serves to help improve health only but in no way can it cure a person who already has any of the said conditions.

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