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Philippine Yacon

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Yacón
Common names
jíquima: Ecuador
yacón, llacón: Peru, Bolivia
llakuma (Quechua): Peru, Bolivia
aricoma (Aymara): Bolivia

Definition: A distant relative of the sunflower, yacón grow in climates that are warmer and more humid than those in which other tubers usually grow and in small farm orchards in intermontane valleys.

Varieties. This root has little variability. It mainly has white or yellowish transparent flesh.

Nutritional value. 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.

Uses. Yacón can be eaten raw, just like a fruit. Once the roots have been dried in the sun, they become sweeter. In Cusco, Peru, during the Inti Raymi festivities in June, yacón is traditionally sold under the name of "cocashka."


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