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Yacon syrup has become quite popular for helping in losing weight, but it has other health benefits too. Read this article to know more.
What Is Yacon Syrup?
Yacon syrup is a natural sweetening agent extracted from the tuberous roots of the yacon plant, Smallanthus sonchifolius. The yacon plant is considered to be a plant with medicinal properties.
Yacon syrup tastes and looks similar to molasses or caramelized sugar. It is made by extracting the juice from the roots, which is filtered and evaporated in the manufacturing process. The final end product is the sweet-tasting syrup that is dark in colour and has a thick consistency.
Yacon syrup contains about 40-50 per cent of fructooligosaccharides, a type of fructan  . It also contains digestible sugars which include glucose, sucrose and fructose that give the syrup its sweet taste. It also contains a fibre called inulin  .
Nutritional Value Of Yacon Syrup
100 ml of yacon syrup contain 136 kcal (energy). The said quantity of yacon syrup also contains
- 74.58 g carbohydrate
- 47.46 g sugar
- 1.22 mg iron
- 85 mg sodium
Health Benefits Of Yacon Syrup
1. Aids in weight loss
The fructans in yacon syrup lower ghrelin, the hunger hormone which helps reduce appetite  which, in turn, aids in weight loss. Many studies have shown that women who took yacon syrup lost 15 kg on an average. And obese premenopausal women who consumed yacon syrup daily lost significant body weight, waist circumference and body mass index  .
2. Acts as a sugar substitute for diabetes
Yacon syrup is a low glycemic index food with low calories and has a high concentration of indigestible inulin. This makes it a great natural sweetener for diabetic people. Yacon syrup lowers blood glucose levels in the body because fructooligosaccharides aren't broken down in the digestive system and pass out of the body without increasing the sugar in the bloodstream  .
3. Improves gut bacteria
Consumption of yacon syrup can improve the growth of healthy bacteria (bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) in the gut due to the presence of fructans, a prebiotic. When these fructans pass through the large intestine they feed the healthy bacteria in the gut which help in proper functioning of the digestive system, improves immunity and metabolism  .
4. Prevents cancer
One of the benefits of yacon syrup is that it helps in fighting cancer. The potent anti-cancer benefits of yacon syrup were published in the journal Fitoterapia which showed that the phenolic compounds and bioactive natural products in it could stop the growth and progression of cancer cells  . Another study showed that yacon had anti-cancer benefits against colon, blood, brain and skin cancers  .
5. Increases bone density
Yacon syrup contains fructooligosaccharides which increase calcium absorption in pre and postmenopausal women who are losing critical bone mass, which elevates the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. As per the British Journal of Nutrition, yacon root improves bones mass and overall bone health  . According to another research study, yacon increases the concentration of minerals like magnesium and calcium in bones, thereby improving the overall bone health  .
6. Reduces constipation and diarrhoea
Yacon syrup can help reduce constipation, thanks to the fructooligosaccharides, a good source of fibre that adds bulk to your stool and prevent or reduce constipation  . Diarrhoea can also be prevented or reduced with the consumption of syrup. However, people with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome should avoid having yacon syrup.
7. Raises male testosterone
Yacon syrup is known to have spermatogenic activity which is useful for the treatment of men suffering from infertility according to a study . It increases the sperm count and sperm testosterone levels so, men who are suffering from infertility issues should consume yacon syrup to help boost their testosterone levels.
Side Effects Of Yacon Syrup
The yacon syrup can cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain and bloating if more than 2 teaspoons a day is consumed. A typical serving of yacon syrup is 1 teaspoon.
Yacon syrup can be added to baked goods, desserts, sauces, dressings, smoothies and tea to name a few. The syrup usually pairs well with fruits, spices like cinnamon, nuts like walnuts, and whole grains.
Yacon Syrup Recipes
Yacon syrup gluten-free ginger cookies
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup unrefined coconut oil
- ¼ cup yacon syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Combine all the dry ingredients like almond flour, baking soda, salt and ginger in one bowl.
- Combine all the wet ingredients like yacon syrup, and coconut oil in another bowl.
- Mix the ingredients separately and then pour it all together in one bowl and mix.
- Place a tablespoon of the mixture onto a baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes and serve.
Yacon syrup chocolate sauce
- 5 tablespoons yacon syrup
- 1.5 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unprocessed cacao powder
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- Mix all the ingredients together till it becomes thick.
-  Caetano, B. F., de Moura, N. A., Almeida, A. P., Dias, M. C., Sivieri, K., & Barbisan, L. F. (2016). Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) as a Food Supplement: Health-Promoting Benefits of Fructooligosaccharides.Nutrients,8(7), 436.
-  Goto, K., Fukai, K., Hikida, J., Nanjo, F., & Hara, Y. (1995).Isolation and Structural Analysis of Oligosaccharides from Yacon (Polymnia sonchifolia). Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 59(12), 2346–2347.
-  Whelan, K., Efthymiou, L., Judd, P. A., Preedy, V. R., & Taylor, M. A. (2006). Appetite during consumption of enteral formula as a sole source of nutrition: the effect of supplementing pea-fibre and fructo-oligosaccharides.British journal of nutrition,96(2), 350-356.
-  Genta, S., Cabrera, W., Habib, N., Pons, J., Carillo, I. M., Grau, A., & Sánchez, S. (2009). Yacon syrup: beneficial effects on obesity and insulin resistance in humans.Clinical Nutrition,28(2), 182-187.
-  Aybar, M. J., Sánchez Riera, A. N., Grau, A., & Sánchez, S. S. (2001).Hypoglycemic effect of the water extract of Smallantus sonchifolius (yacon) leaves in normal and diabetic rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 74(2), 125–132.
-  Cryan, J. F., & O’Mahony, S. M. (2011).The microbiome-gut-brain axis: from bowel to behavior. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 23(3), 187–192.
-  Siriwan, D., Naruse, T., & Tamura, H. (2011). Effect of epoxides and α-methylene-γ-lactone skeleton of sesquiterpenes from yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) leaves on caspase-dependent apoptosis and NF-κB inhibition in human cercival cancer cells.Fitoterapia,82(7), 1093-1101.
-  Borges Coutinho Gallo, M., Coêlho Cavalcanti, B., Washington Araújo Barros, F., Odorico de Moraes, M., Veras Costa‐Lotufo, L., Pessoa, C., ... & Tallarico Pupo, M. (2010). Chemical constituents of Papulaspora immersa, an endophyte from Smallanthus sonchifolius (Asteraceae), and their cytotoxic activity.Chemistry & biodiversity,7(12), 2941-2950.
-  Lobo, A. R., Colli, C., Alvares, E. P., & Filisetti, T. M. (2007). Effects of fructans-containing yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp & Endl.) flour on caecum mucosal morphometry, calcium and magnesium balance, and bone calcium retention in growing rats.British Journal of Nutrition,97(4), 776-785.
-  Rodrigues, F. C., Castro, A. S. B., Rodrigues, V. C., Fernandes, S. A., Fontes, E. A. F., de Oliveira, T. T., ... & de Luces Fortes Ferreira, C. L. (2012). Yacon flour and Bifidobacterium longum modulate bone health in rats.Journal of medicinal food,15(7), 664-670.
-  Geyer, M., Manrique, I., Degen, L., & Beglinger, C. (2008). Effect of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) on colonic transit time in healthy volunteers.Digestion,78(1), 30-33.
-  Park, J. S., & Han, K. (2013). The spermatogenic effect of yacon extract and its constituents and their inhibition effect of testosterone metabolism.Biomolecules & therapeutics,21(2), 153-160.
-  http://yacon.org/yacon-blog/