Yacon root, also known as Peruvian ground apple, is native to South America, and has been used as a food source and for medicinal purposes for over a thousand years. These days, yacon’s benefits actually have some science behind them — studies that illustrate how this relatively unknown superfood can be a powerful ally in digestion and weight loss.
A 2009 study in Clinical Nutrition took a look at how daily consumption of syrup made from yacon root affected weight loss and blood sugar, and according to researchers, “daily intake of yacon syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index.” They also found that the syrup helped participants feel full for longer periods of time, and created a very regular digestion cycle.
Yacon has a high amount of fructooligosaccharides, naturally occurring compounds that inhibit the body from absorbing any simple sugars. These fructooligosaccharides may be the reason behind yacon’s ability to lower blood sugar, since they actually lower the amount of glucose produced in the liver.
Another study published in 2012 in Food and Chemical Toxicology found consumption of yacon root made a “significant reduction” in tumors associated with colon cancer.
When a food is suddenly labeled as a possible weight loss aid or cancer fighter, companies will do everything they can to make money off it it. So while yacon may truly help you shed an extra few pounds, steer clear of any product touting it as a “miracle.” Instead, try adding a serving of raw, organic yacon powder to your daily smoothies and get the benefits of the whole food instead of a processed version in a supplement form.
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