Author: Ms. May Wong HK BioTek Ltd. Health Consultant
If you like shopping in organic shops, you may find food from South America has become very popular in recent years. Quinoa (originated in the Andean region of South America) is a popular healthy and organic grain lately. It is also a good product for people who are allergic to gluten or aiming at having a healthier eating habit. Another product which is also come from the Andean region of South America called Maca common in Europe, America and China nowadays. Maca can improve our stamina and prevent ones from become fatigue easily. The legend in the Incas, their army replenish their energy with Maca and established unprecedented Incas Empire. Recently we discovered another new and delicious South American food.
Yacon – you may find this name is unfamiliar. It comes from South America and grows at about 1000 meters above the Andes and is known as ‘the fruit of God’ in South America. It is a traditional Indian roots vegetable. Its products, yacon syrup or dried yacon slice, can usually find in health and organic store. Dried yacon slice tastes delicious, sweet and similar to apple slice. It is also rich in nutrients. Yacon contains inulin, which is not easy to our system to digest. Therefore, its calories is very low yet tastes very sweet.
Studies done by Japanese researchers found that this plant has pharmacological effects and can control cholesterol and diabetes effectively. If using yacon leaves to brew tea, it can help lowing the blood sugar and have therapeutic effects towards digestive health. In Hong Kong, you may find fresh yacon from wet markets. People loves using yacon to boil traditional Chinese soup that sadly lower the nutritional value of yacon.
Yacon has various human benefits including:
1. Prevent Constipation
Yacon is high in Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which is able to promote the growth of ‘good’ bacteria whilst inhibiting the bad bacteria. It can also stimulate the bowel regularity.
2. Diabetes –Stabilize blood glucose value
Yacon is high in FOS which makes it tastes sweet. FOS is an ideal natural herbal sweetener. Using yacon leaves to brew tea can have the effect of lowering the blood glucose.
3. Slimming & Antioxidation
Yacon is rich in nutrients and low calories. Related research revealed that yacon roots and leaves are a good source of antioxidants. Consuming yacon makes you feel full and stimulates bowel movement. In other words, it helps people reduce weight while having daily appropriate diet.
Eating a right amount of yacon can be beneficial to our health, however, it should not be eaten as staple food. Some organic shops are selling dried yacon slices and specifically stated that it is gluten-free and vegan. Hence, if you are allergic to wheat, yacon is another new healthy snacks choice for you!