Yacon: Food-Medicine Loaded With Health Benefits
In an effort to find the best food-medicine, man has not stopped researching and studying the different foods provided by nature. More and more people turn to food-medicines because of their potentials. Food-medicines are foods that have high medicinal values. They are growing in popularity in recent years because man has turned to alternative medicines as a supplement or replacement to commercial, synthetic medicines. One such food-medicine that’s getting attention is an obscure root crop called yacon.
Scientific name: Smallanthus Sonchifolius
Yacon, as mentioned earlier, is a root crop. Its fruits are extracted from the earth. It is actually part of the sunflower family. Its flowers resemble that of the sunflower with yellow to orange color. It can be propagated through pollination or other means. You can find lots of it in the Andes where it extensively grows. In the Philippines, yacon-growing is a blooming industry in Region 2 and in the Cordilleras. Some parts of the country like Batangas are already cultivating yacon.
Yacon can be eaten raw. It is sweet and crunchy like an apple, a watermelon and a sinkamas or Mexican turnip. The leaves and tubers are its primary source of medicinal properties.
Why is yacon a food-medicine loaded with health benefits?
Yacon may be somewhat sweet but it has low sugar level which is not digested by the body. Among the carbohydrates it contains, its fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are the most prominent. It is where the inulin of the yacon came from. This inulin is the one that provides the sweet taste. This is a non-digestible substance which makes it ideal for diabetes sufferers. It can stabilize blood sugar by regulating the concentration of insulin in the body.
Yacon as a food-medicine is also high in fiber and thus fight digestive problems such as constipation. It is also believed to be a colon cancer food-medicine.
It is also rich in phytochemicals which are effective anti-oxidants that protect the cells from damage. This way, many types of cancer are prevented since cancer begins from the malfunction of the cells.
If it is used regularly as part of a person’s diet, it may help reduce the risk of generative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and others.
Other health benefits of yacon as food-medicine:
- It helps cure myoma, insomnia and migraine.
- It has prebiotics quality which help in increasing the good lactobacillus bacteria
- It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- It helps dissolve kidneys stones and regulates liver function.
- It aids in weight loss because of its less calories but high nutritional value.
- Hosts of other diseases can be prevented by this food-medicine.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Parts of Yacon Used for Consumption:
b. fruit or the tuber
There are on-going researches on how to utilize all parts of the yacon.
How is Yacon Prepared for Consumption?
Before eating the tuber, wash it thoroughly. It can be eaten right after peeling the skin of the tuber. You can also bake it. You can also roast it. The tuber can also be juiced and made into a pudding.
It can also be prepared in syrup or juice form. You can make pickle, wine and tea out of the yacon. You can think of other ways on how to utilize this food-medicine.
How to Make a Yacon Jam:
1. Peel the skin of the tuber.
2. Wash and cut into small pieces.
3. For every cup of tuber, add an equal amount of sugar.
4. Boil and stir constantly until it is very thick.