Cây yacón,tên khoa học Smallanthussonchifolius, là một loài thực vật có hoa trong họ Cúc. Loài này được (Poepp.) H.Rob. miêu tảkhoa học đầu tiên năm 1978.
Yacón là loại cây lâu năm được trồng ở vùng Andes.Nó được biết đến với thân rể củ giòn, có vị ngọt đặc trưng của nó. Cấu trúc vàhương vị đã được mô tả như là một sự pha trộn dịch vị giữa một quả táo tươi vàdưa hấu. Nó đã được giới thiệu vào thị trường nông sản và các cửa hàng thực phẩmthiên nhiên ở Mỹ.
Cây tạo ra hai loạirễ: rễ sinh trưởng & rể tích trữ. Rễ sinh trưởng phát triển ngay dưới bề mặtđất và tạo ra các mầm sinh trưởng mới mà sẽ trở thành các bộ phận trên không củamùa sau. Phần rể tích trữ lớn và ăn được. Những rễ ăn được này có chứa insulin,tạo cho nó một hương vị ngọt ngào và làm cho Yacon được khuyến cáo cao cho bệnhnhân tiểu đường.
Cây Yacon có thểphát triển lên đến 2 mét chiều cao và ra hoa màu vàng,nhỏ,khó thấy ở cuối củamùa sinh trưởng của cây. Không giống như nhiều loại rau củ khác được thuần hóabởi người Inca (ulluco, OCA), Yacón không mãn cảm với quang kỳ, và có thể sảnxuất kinh doanh ở vùng nhiệt đới.
The yacón (Smallanthussonchifolius) is a species of perennial daisy traditionallygrown in the northern and central Andes from Colombia to northern Argentina for its crisp, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots. Theirtexture and flavour are very similar to jicama,mainly differing in that yacón has some slightly sweet, resinous, and floral(similar to violet)undertones to its flavour, probably due to the presence of inulin, which produces the sweet taste of the roots of elecampane, as well. Another name for yacón is Peruvian ground apple, possibly from the French name ofpotato, pomme de terre (ground apple). The tuber is composed mostly of water and fructooligosaccharide.
Commonly called jicama inEcuador, yacón is sometimes confused with that unrelated plant, which is a bean. The yacón, in contrast, is a close relative of the sunflower and Jerusalem artichoke. The plant produces aperennial rhizome to which are attached the edible, succulent storageroots, the principal economic product of the plant. The rhizome develops justunder the surface of the soil and continuously produces aerial shoots. Dryand/or cold seasons cause the aerial shoots to die back, but the plantresprouts from the rhizome under favourable conditions of temperature andmoisture. The edible storage tubers are large and typically weigh from a fewhundred grams to a kilogram or so. The tubers contain fructooligosaccharide, anindigestible polysaccharide made up of fructose.Fructooligosaccharides taste sweet, but pass through the human digestive tractunmetabolised, hence have very little caloric value. Moreover,fructooligosaccharides have a prebiotic effect,meaning they are used by beneficial bacteria that enhance colon health and aiddigestion.
Yacón plants cangrow to over 2 m in height and produce small, inconspicuous yellow flowers at the end of the growing season. Unlike many other rootvegetables domesticated by the indigenous peoples of the Andes (ulluco, oca, and mashua),yacón is not photoperiod sensitive, and can produce a commercial yield in thesubtropics, as well.
Traditionally,yacón roots are grown by farmers at midelevations on the eastern slopes of theAndes descending toward the Amazon. It is grown occasionally along fieldborders where the juicy tubers provide a welcome source of refreshment duringfield work. Until as recently as the early 2000s, yacón was hardly knownoutside of its limited native range, and was not available from urban markets;however, press reports of its use in Japan for its purported antihyperglycemicproperties made the crop more widely known in Lima and other Peruvian cities.Companies have also developed novel products such as yacón syrup and yacón tea. Both products are popular among diabeticsand dieters.
7 Impressive Benefits Of Yacon
Some of the health benefits of yacon include itsability to regulate blood sugarlevels, lower “bad” cholesterol, help with weight loss,lower blood pressure, improve the health of the liver, prevent certain types ofcancer,boost digestive health,and strengthen the immune system.
Table of Contents
What is Yacon?
Nutritional Value of Yacon
Health Benefits of Yacon
Regulates Blood Pressure
Controls Cholesterol Levels
What Is Yacon?
Yacon is a large perennial plant that is mainlygrown and cultivated for its tuberous roots. The scientific nameof yacon is Smallanthus sonchifolius and it primarily grows in South America,including the Central and Northern Andes, which primarily fall in Colombia andArgentina. It has been a traditionally grown vegetablefor thousands of years and has a wide variety of uses. Yacon syrup and powderare commonly used as healthy replacements for sugar as sweeteners in various foods.Furthermore, the root can be eaten raw, like a potatoor a jicama.The majority of the density of these vegetable tubes, which can grow up to 1kilogram in weight, are fructooligosaccharides, which is an indigestible formof fructose. This unique quality of yacon is part of what makes it so valuable.
This vegetable wasn’t widely known outside of itsnative range until recent decades but is also cultivated inAustralia and New Zealand, with its popularity spreading to Japan, China, SouthKorea, and even in the healthy foodmarkets of the United States.
Yaconroot comes from the Smallanthus sonchifolius plant native to South America.Used as a food and natural sweetener, yacon root’s potential health benefitshave led to its use as a dietary supplement as well. Yacon root has beneficialeffects for overweight people and for those with high cholesterol or thosestruggling with digestive conditions. Its adverse side effects are practicallynonexistent.
Potential Weight Loss
Thesyrup contained in yacon root is associated with weight loss in some people.According to a study published in April 2009 in “Clinical Nutrition,” obesewomen who consumed 0.14 to 0.29 gram of yacon syrup per kilogram of body weightper day over the course of 120 days saw a reduction in weight, body mass indexand waist circumference. This is partially attributable to yacon root’sinfluence on increasing defecation and satiety after eating.
Reduced Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Yacon root contains a type of sugarcalled fructooligosaccharide, which can lower levels of triglycerides andlow-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol. A study published in October2011 in “Chemico-Biological Interactions" found that diabetic ratssupplemented with yacon root daily showed lower levels of fasting plasmatriacylglycerol, a triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol. The study published inApril 2009 in “Clinical Nutrition” confirmed that LDL cholesterol levels werereduced in people after daily yacon consumption as well. Lower levels of lipidslike triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk ofheart disease.
Yaconroot contains compounds that function as prebiotics in the body, improvingdigestive health and treating certain types of colitis. These prebioticproperties influence the development of microflora in the digestive tract,leading to improved gastrointestinal fermentation. The increased bowelmovements regularity associated with yacon root could be attributed to thisprebiotic effect.
ANovember 2005 study in “Food and Chemical Toxicology,” found that ratsadministered with two different amounts of yacon root showed no toxicity or anyadverse side effects after four months of regular consumption. Supporting thisfind, the human study published in April 2009 in “Clinical Nutrition” reportedthat participants showed no ill effects after 120 days of supplementation. But,there has been at least one case of anaphylactic shock as a reaction to yaconroot ingestion in an individual with a strong allergy to the plant.