NUTRITION CORNER: Yakon, a highly nutritious functional food

Yacon, known scientifically as Smallanthus sonchifolius, is a rootcrop that has gained attention for its promising human health benefits, because of its inherent fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) content. FOS is a non-digestible form of carbohydrates that helps lower blood sugar levels and improves the health of the intestines. Beneficial bacteria in the colon are stimulated and their promotion may help inhibit the actions of some carcinogenic compounds.

Thus, yacon is believed to have health-promoting potentials in regulating blood sugar levels especially among diabetics and for healthy gastrointestinal system.

Yacon is a highly nutritious functional food. Thus, its exploration as potential use in the Filipino diet through development of healthy recipes may play a role in micronutrient deficiency alleviation.

Because of the recognized nutritional and health benefits of yacon, 20 acceptable recipes using this food and malunggay are featured in a colorful recipe handbook published by the FNRI in 2009. The recipes are nutritious, simple, easy to follow and affordable. They are categorized as soup, entrée/vegetable dish, viand, salad, pasta, snack or dessert and beverage.

This handbook can be a valuable tool to nutritionists, nutrition students, health workers, homemakers, and other nutrition advocates involved in planning and serving of meals. #