A popular indoor and outdoor plant choice because of its decorative appearance, many of us tend to ignore the health benefits that this plant carries. The plant is full of nutrition With highly nutritious flowers and fruit, yucca root is equally wholesome and healthful. Here is a complete guide on this amazing gluten-free root vegetable. Let’s get started:
What is Yucca root and where does it come from?
By appearance, the yucca root looks like a cross between a potato and a sweet potato with its long tuber in dark brown color. It is native to South America and Africa where it has been cultivated for centuries. Known as Cassava, the most popular use is folk medicine and culinary add-ons.
Cassava or yucca root is able to survive harsh weather conditions (both winter and dry months). Just like potatoes and yams, yucca root is able to store the nutrients and regrow.
A staple food in countries like India, Indonesia, and West Africa, cassava has an earthy and nutty taste with hints of bitter and sweet taste.
The use of Yucca root as paleo baking flour has added a great deal to the fame of it. Many may not know this but yucca root is the third largest carbohydrate source in the world and also one of the most important ones.
Nutritional profile of Yucca roots
Experts call it a nutritional powerhouse as it naturally comes packed with loads of minerals, vitamins, and health benefiting nutrients. Here is what a cup of yucca roots contains:
|Total calories||330 kcals|
|Vitamin C||42 mg|
|Vitamin A||11,364 IU|
Health Benefits of Yucca Roots
Let’s not wait for any further and get started on the incredible health benefits of yucca roots. Here, have a look:
1. Rich in antioxidants
Yucca roots are naturally packed with lots of antioxidants like vitamin C and manganese. These antioxidants combat free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the cause of certain diseases like diabetes, heart ailments as well as cancer. A single serving of yucca roots gives you 70% of DV of vitamin C and 40% DV of manganese.
2. Rich in potassium
A cup of yucca roots can provide up to 600mg of potassium, now that’s something big really! Potassium is one of the potent minerals for the body as it helps in regulating heartbeat, muscle contractions, and maintaining kidney function. It is required for the efficient functioning of cells, maintenance of lean muscle mass, and maintenance of energy levels. Moreover, maintaining a balanced sodium to potassium ratio is crucial for overall health. Athletes and people involved in intense physical activities need to keep their potassium intake in check in order to ward off weakness, muscle cramping, irritability, and even constipation. This is why yucca root is a renowned pre and post-workout meal among fitness enthusiasts.
3. Brain booster
Yucca roots are often called as a brain booster as it is rich in a nutrient known as “choline” which helps in managing nerve and brain function. Choline boosts the function of the hippocampus in the human body. Hippocampus is responsible for keeping the circadian rhythm of the body in check and boosting memory for which an adequate quantity of choline is important. Half a cup of yucca has as much as 24mg of choline which is more than you find in an equal serving of other counterparts of cassava. It has been found that yucca also helps in increasing strength levels for physical activities.
4. Healthy and glowing skin
There is no such thing as skin that glows from within and that can happen only when you are taking an adequate diet. Yucca roots are rich in Vitamin C that plays a huge role in providing healthy-looking skin as it produces collagen which keeps the skin younger and free of wrinkles. The antioxidants maintain the health of the skin cells and also slow down the aging of the skin. Also, yucca roots are rich in Vitamin A which has another role besides improving eyesight and that is providing you healthy-looking skin.
5. Faster wound healing
Since yucca roots are rich in vitamin C it fastens up the healing of wounds as it helps in the production of collagen which maintains the integrity of the skin. Due to this property, yucca roots have been used in ancient medicine for healing wounds.
6. Aid in production of milk
Lactating mothers who face problems with the production of milk are often recommended starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice, sweet potato, etc. as they tend to overcome the problem. There haven’t been studies on the role of cassava in the production of milk but it has been a common practice in some parts of Africa. The nutritional profile of yucca supports the notion that intake of this miraculous tuber root can definitely increase the production of milk.
7. Improve digestion
Yucca root can improve your digestive system greatly. Cassava is an excellent source of resistant starch which plays the same role in the body as soluble fiber. This resistant starch keeps the right balance of gut bacteria which ensures the efficient working of your digestive system. Moreover, just like fiber, the starch keeps you fuller for longer periods of time that leads to lesser caloric intake and ultimately weight loss.
Side effects of Yucca roots
Yucca roots have no serious side effects as such especially when consumed in cooked form. But when consumed raw or uncooked, it may cause cyanide poisoning which can be threatening to health/ the signs of cyanide poisoning are:
- Breathing difficulty
- Loss of consciousness
- Cardiac arrest
Yucca roots are an excellent food choice to include in the diet especially for athletes. Prefer to use it in cooked form as various delicious recipes are available. Our favorite is yucca chips!