If you’ve ever tried raw acai you would know that the acai berry is not sweet. There are many different ways to sweeten acai to make it taste better. It all depends on your preferences. Traditional sweeteners include honey, guarana syrup, apple juice, agave nectar. A few years ago I came across another alternative which appears to be a very healthy way to sweeten your acai. I’ve tried Yacon syrup in my acai bowls and I liked the flavor it produced with the acai berry. Below is some information about Yacon.
Yacon is a root that grows in the Andes of Peru. Yacon was used by the Incas, and is still widely used today. Yacon root is an excellent alternative sweetener because it contains inulin, a complex sugar that breaks down slowly in the digestive tract and is loaded with minerals and vitamins. The flavor is similar to that of molasses or caramelized sugar. The root is popular among diabetic people and dieters because the sugar these products contain is not absorbed by humans.
This form of sugar, known as FOS (fructooligosaccharide), a special type of fructose, leaves the body undigested. The syrup is also a prebiotic which means that it feeds the friendly bacteria in the colon that boost the immune system and help digestion. The undigested portion of yacon serves as food for “friendly” bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species, in the colon. Clinical studies have shown that administering inulin can increase the number of these friendly bacteria in the colon while simultaneously reducing the population of harmful bacteria.
Other benefits noted with FOS supplementation include increased production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, increased absorption of calcium and magnesium, and improved elimination of toxic compounds. Preclinical studies indicated an increase in bone density after consumption of FOS. In addition, the beneficial effects of FOS on the presence of Bifidobacteria suggest an improved absorption of vitamins, such as the B complexes.
You can find Yacon syrup or powder in your health food store or Whole Foods Market. There are also many places to purchase online. Look for Raw Yacon Syrup.