Yucca, also known as manioc or cassava, is a major crop in warm climatic conditions of the tropics and subtropics. Commercial cultivation of this plant is done to harvest its tuberous roots. The root of this plant is brown in color, medium length, enlarged in the middle and tapered on both ends. The edible part is the fleshy, white, or yellowish portion, which is surrounded by an external rind.
As far as nutrition is concerned, it is one of the richest sources of carbohydrates. In fact, this starchy root is listed as the third valuable crop for the global population. According to nutrition facts data, the nutrition of this root is similar to potato, in terms of carbohydrate content. 1 cup of cooked yucca root is equivalent to 80 calories. In addition to carbohydrates, it is an excellent source of calcium, niacin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, B, and C.
Benefits and Side Effects
Free of fats and cholesterol, this fleshy tuber is healthy for heart patients, and those who are diagnosed with high cholesterol. The health benefits of this root are numerous, and it is often used as a home remedy for several ailments. This root is effective for alleviating arthritis pain, colitis, bursitis, skin discomfort, and other inflammatory problems. It is the presence of saponins in high percentage, that makes this root a valuable anti-inflammatory agent.
Excess consumption of this fleshy rhizome can lead to mild discomfort. Ingesting high amounts of this root can cause diarrhea, bowel problems, allergies, malabsorption of vitamins, and hemolysis. Also, this bitter root should be prepared properly, to avoid the risk of a medical complication called as konzo. Studies have revealed that these roots contain traces of cyanide, and improper preparation retains this cyanogenic toxin.
How to Use Yucca Root?
The fresh root of this plant is available throughout the year. Also, there are various products formulated from this fleshy root, like flour, chips, noodles, powder, tea, supplements, and tablets. This root is cooked more or less in the same manner as the potatoes. One can also enjoy it by baking, roasting, deep-frying, or simply boiling. Nevertheless, the flesh of this root is a bit tougher than that of potato tubers. The following are some healthy ways of using it, which you can try at home.
- Get blemish-free tubers, and oven-bake them in the same way as the potatoes. Also, fresh peeled tubers soaked in water can be refrigerated to store for several months.
- People fond of tapioca, will surely love the taste of this tuberous root. One can substitute it in all food recipes that have potatoes in them. In this way, you can increase the vitamin and mineral intake, along with carbs.
- Another product that can be used is the powder, which is obtained from the dried roots. Similar to protein powder, it can be added in smoothies, juices, yogurt, etc.
- The tea prepared from the roots, is purported as a simple way to cleanse and detoxify the body. To get relief from inflammatory conditions, its supplement in correct dose is suggested.
- Many soaps, skin creams, and shampoos are also available in the market, which are prepared from these roots. The soaps are effective against skin irritation, while shampoos are good for dandruff and scalp problems.
Remember that the calorie count differs based on the preparation method and serving quantity. Hence, if you are consuming it for health purpose, reduce the use of oils, butter, food additives, and spicy seasonings. These plants are easy to grow and harvest, hence one can grow it in the yard instead of purchasing it from the grocery store.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.