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: Asteraceae

: Smallanthus

: Sonchifolius

: Yacon

: Roots

: Amazon of Peru

Yacon is an Andean root that grows at altitudes less than 9,300 feet high, its tuber grows underground and has white or yellowish transparent flesh. The color of the fleshy root can be cream, yellow or orange and in some cases can include streaks of purple.

It is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows between 1.5m to 2.5m height. The plant produces large storage roots (also known as Yacon roots) normally eaten raw off the ground like a fruit due to its pleasant and slightly sweet taste. The roots are traditionally used by rural people as refreshment during field work, or occasionally for skin rejuvenation and to relieve intestinal, hepatic and renal disorders.

The root is composed mostly of water and fructo-oligosaccharides (commonly known as FOS).
For those who are not familiar, FOS is a type of sugar that has a lower caloric value than other sugar types (approximately 25 to 35% of the calories of normal carbohydrates). The consumption of FOS is also known to promote better health of the intestinal tract because of the stimulation of beneficial bifidobacterium in the colon.

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