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North American Herb and Spice: Yac-O-Power

The Yacón is a perennial plant found in the Andes, known for its crisp, sweet-tasting tuberous root. The texture and flavor have been described as a cross between a fresh apple and watermelon, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the apple of the earth. The Peruvian Yacón grows at altitudes of 9,300 feet in a climate that is warmer and more humid than that in which other tubers usually grow. Yacón grows organically on small farm orchards in mountain valleys away from chemicals and pesticides, since it has a natural protective mechanism against parasites.

There are a host of minerals and antioxidants contained within the Yacón root. For instance, the root contains a large amount of potassium (1-2% by dry weight), as well as significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. Also, the beneficial properties include the high antioxidant value of the root and the powerful inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides or FOS, which are classified as prebiotic since they promote the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Yacón syrup has very little influence on the curve of glucose tolerance and is dramatically less glycemic than honey, agave, or maple syrup.

While satisfyingly sweet and flavorful, Yacón remains low in calories. This is due to the fact that the sugar contains high levels of oligofructose (inulin), a form of sugar that is not metabolized readily by the human body. For this reason, Yacón shows much promise as a food for diabetics and as a base for a low-calorie sweetener. The fructose in the Yacón root consists of 35% free and 25% bonded fructose. Thus, carbohydrates can be supplied without elevating blood sugar levels. Yacón root is considered the world's richest natural source of FOS. Most other roots and tubers store carbohydrates as starch, a polymer chain of glucose, but Yacón stores carbohydrates as FOS, a polymer chain composed mainly of fructose. This FOS can be considered a subgroup of inulin, because it has a similar molecular structure but with shorter fructose chains.

Yac-o-Power is yet another ecologically conscious product from North American Herb & Spice. The purchase of Yac-o-Power helps support a sustainable agricultural industry in the Amazon Rainforest regions of Peru. This will help to provide an alternative to deforestation, thus addressing the growing issue of global warming.

How to use: Use as a natural sweetener in beverages, baked goods, or to drizzle on fruit desserts.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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