Species: Smallanthus sonchifolius
Common Names: Llacón, llakuma, Aricoma, aricona, Llacjon, puhe, taraca, jacón, jícama, jíquima, jiquimilla, llacoma, racón.
The Peruvian Yacón (Llacon) grows at altitudes under 9,300 feet high, in climates that are warmer and more humid than those in which other tubers usually grow. Yacón usually grows in small farm orchards in mountains valleys. The area of the crop has not expanded much in recent decades. In some Andean valleys, yacón is sold at market fairs
The Peruvian Yacon has a crunchy texture like a water chestnut and is,refreshingly sweet and juicy. Left in the sun, its sweetness intensifies, and it can be eaten as a fruit, consumed in drinks, syrups, cakes or pickles or instir-fries.Though packed with sugar, its principal appeal to the health conscious lies in the fact that the sugar in question is mainly oligofructose, which cannot be absorbed by the body.That means yacon is naturally low-calorie -- a jar of yacon syrup contains half the calories as a same-sized jar of honey -- and its sugar does not raise blood glucose levels. In addition, oligofructose promotes beneficial bacteria in the colon. Certain modern health products, such as so-called bio-yogurts, have oligofructose added to achieve the same effect, but yacon already has that quality naturally. "It's a diet food and a diabetic food.
The yacon’s oligofructose properties were discovered. by ancient peruvians but the modern medicine found out that if the leaves are used in tea, it has the effect of avoiding the peaks that you have when eating sugary or starchy food, when your blood sugar level goes up violently, one of the biggest problems of a diabetics person. who have high blood sugar levels and whose bodies do not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that would normally be released to process food.
It appears that the tea lessens the (sugary) peaks.
Research has proven that is beneficial for those with hypertension. By thinning the blood Yacon can lower blood pressure by 5 to 10 percent. It can also lower cholesterol and discourage clot formation. Unfortunately, Yacon has a reputation for being a Diabetes but it is also excellent to reduce the hypertension problems..
Dr. H Brams said yacon roots themselves had not been proven to have the same palliative effect as the Yacon leaves. Even so, yacon is now popularly associated in Peru with diabetes, though other benefits such as its laxative quality and ability to help prevent colon cancer and osteoporosis are less well known.
Several carbohydrates: fructose, glucose, sucrose, low polymerization degree (DP) oligosaccharides (DP 3 to 10 fructans), and traces of starch and inulin (Asami et al. 1989; Ohyama et al. 1990). Oligofructans with a lower DP (average 4.3) may account for up to 67% of the dry matter content at harvest (Asami et al. 1991). Oligosaccharides purified from yacon have been identified as beta-(2 1)-fructooligosaccharides with terminal sucrose (inulin type oligofructans; Goto et al. 1995).
The root contains 86-90% water and only traces of protein and lipids. It is high in oligofructose (also called fructo-oligosaccharide), a dietary sugar, which the human body does not metabolize, hence its potential use for diabetics and in body weight control. Moreover, increased intake of oligofructose has been associated with improved gut health because of the stimulation of (beneficial) bifidus bacteria in the colon.