Yucca root is a starchy, tuberous root grown in tropical and subtropical areas. This sweet potato look-alike is a staple food in many developing countries worldwide. Yucca is extremely drought tolerant and capable of growing in average soil, so it’s a great crop to grow in dry climates. Yucca root, or Cassava, sometimes gets confused with a plant that’s native to the United States desert, also Yucca, but pronounced differently.
You may have seen this dark brown long tuber at your grocery aisle but didn’t know what it was. Once you learn these fifteen benefits of yucca root most people ignore, you may want to add yucca root to your regular diet.
Is yucca root poisonous?
Yes! Yucca root is poisonous if eaten raw. This tuber contains chemicals that trigger the release of poisonous hydrogen cyanide. Thousands of people experience cyanide poisoning from Cassava, another name for yucca root. Be sure to cook the root pieces thoroughly. Soaking and then cooking Cassava makes the compounds harmless. Even in areas where Cassava is eaten regularly, sometimes people don’t cook it thoroughly, leading to serious health problems such as:
- Risk of goiter
- Paralyzed legs in kids
- Low iodine levels
- Walking problems
- Feeling like something is on your feet
- Feeling intoxicated
What’s the safest way to prepare Yucca?
According to the CDC, the safest way to prepare yucca root is to soak the tubers in water for four to six days before cooking them. Then, follow these directions to prepare it safely:
- First, peel the yucca root.
- Cut it up into small pieces.
- Soak these pieces in water for four to six days.
- Boil until thoroughly cooked.
- Discard any cooking water.
- Always follow the packaging instructions to fry, bake, or roast yucca root.
15 Benefits of Yucca Root Most People Ignore
Add this tuber to your diet for these healthful boosts.
1 – High in vitamin C
Yucca root is high in vitamin C. Vitamin C fights oxidative stress that affects your immune system. This potent vitamin also helps.
- Heal injuries
- It helps form your blood vessels
- Builds cartilage and muscle
- Forms collagen in your bones
If you’re having difficulty getting enough vitamin C, add some yucca root to your weekly menu. It will boost your vitamin C levels and give you an excellent alternative food to try.
2 – Anti-Aging
Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant compound that fights free radicals which damage your body. Yucca root contains a fair amount of resveratrol. Cassava regenerates your skin cells and reverses damage caused by the sun. It’s in some organic cosmetics.
Adding it to your diet once gives you an anti-aging boost and makes your skin look great.
3 – Low Glycemic Index
Your glycemic index measures how much a particular food raises blood sugar levels. Food with a high glycemic index causes blood sugar levels to rise quickly, leading to diabetes symptoms like weight loss and fatigue. For example, although yucca root is starch, it has a low glycemic index. Boiled potatoes’ glycemic index is 78, but this root has a low 46 glycemic level. As a result, Cassava makes it a better alternative and avoids causing blood sugar surges.
4 – Protects your heart
Yucca root is high in fiber which is particularly healthy for heart health. In addition, it’s high in beta-carotene, a natural pigment that gives this root veggie its dark brown color. Beta-carotene protects your heart from damage due to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress attacks your body’s cells. This stress on your body’s cells may lead to heart disease. Yucca root added to your regular diet may help prevent these adverse effects on your heart.
5 – Yucca root provides immune support
Another great benefit of yucca root is immune system support. Eating Cassava can help your immune system fight harmful bacteria and viruses that invade your body. In addition, eating fresh fruits and veggies, including this root, increases your phenol levels. Phenols are antioxidants that help get rid of free-radical oxidative stress. Foods besides yucca root that are high in phenols include these sources:
- Dark-skinned grapes
6 – Anti-inflammatory
Arthritis, an inflammatory condition, causes painful swelling and stiffness in our joints. Native Americans used this root for rheumatic and arthritic pain for hundreds of years. They dry the root and then ground it into a powder. The powder is boiled and drank to relieve arthritic pain. Yucca root contains manganese, a natural remedy for painful arthritis. Adding yucca root to your menu could reduce your risk of rheumatoid arthritis if you’re an older woman. Also, the antioxidants in yucca root reduce joint swelling from arthritis.
7 – Yucca root is a source of potassium
Like many tubers, yucca root contains potassium. This mineral helps you maintain lean muscle mass and elevate your energy levels. If you eat processed foods, your sodium levels may be too high. So it’s good to keep your potassium and lessens the effects of sodium, so it helps bring balance to your body. Getting enough potassium can help
- Fight symptoms of weakness
- Avoid muscles cramps
- Maintain blood pressure
- Lower your chance of stroke
- Heart disease
8 – Helps fight constipation
Yucca root has a soapy-like texture that’s fibrous, which encourages healthy bowel movements and keeps you regular. Combining yucca root with whole grains can also help, but be sure to consume small amounts and drink lots of water. It’s thought that some of the reason it works so well is that its anti-inflammatory properties create a healthy gut flora.
9 – Cassava owers cholesterol
Yucca’s dietary fiber and magnesium can also help lower LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, fiber supports heart health. LDL cholesterol causes plaque buildup in your arteries which can block blood flow into and from your heart. By helping maintain healthy cholesterol levels, eating it can help keep the body running smoothly.
10 – Healthy eyes
There are vitamins and minerals in yucca root that may benefit your eyes. These include:
- Folic acid: Along with vitamin C, folic acids keep your body making collagen.
- Collagen: Protein based. Helps maintain your skin and eye health. When collagen production slows down, you’re more suspectable of glaucoma and cataracts.
- Vitamin A: The eye vitamin helps support good vision.
- Including this root into your diet may help keep your eyes healthy and help you avoid eye-related diseases.
11 – Helps you lose weight
If you’re trying to lose some pounds, try adding yucca root to your menu. The fiber fills you up, so you feel full and don’t eat as much. Fiber also helps keep your appetite under control. Some suggest eating yucca root in the morning to start your day with fiber and keep you satisfied all day.
12 – Gives you healthy skin
Some of the ingredients in yucca root promote naturally healthy skin. Everything from commercial skin peels to exfoliants uses yucca root for skin care. You may have noticed that yucca root is often a key ingredient in your skin products. Skincare companies use it because this tuber contains high amounts of vitamin C, a collagen-building ingredient in skin products. As a result, it guards against skin damage and prevents skin hyperpigmentation.
13 – Yucca root heals wounds
Because one cup of yucca root contains about 42 mg. of vitamin C, it’s a super healer. This vitamin has antioxidant abilities that help your skin heal. Add yucca root mixed with various fruits and vegetables to support your body’s repairing of infections or wounds.
14 – Boosts iron levels
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, yucca root could help you boost your iron levels. Yucca is fortified with vitamin C. The combination increases your iron levels when you add it to iron-rich veggies such as spinach or kale to your yucca root. Iron deficiencies are common for individuals who don’t eat meat. The lack of iron is severe. Some of the complications include:
- Brain function problems
- Poor immune system
- Infant mortality
- Birth defects
15 – Helps manage diabetes
When you eat resistant starch like yucca root, it helps reduce your body’s insulin response. In addition, eating moderate amounts of yucca root helps you watch your blood sugar levels if you’re pre-diabetic. As a result, you can manage your insulin without worrying about spikes.
What foods can you make with yucca root?
You can make a variety of foods with Cassava. Just be sure to cook the tuber thoroughly to release the toxins. Some foods you may want to make include:
- French fries
- Cassava chips instead of potato chips
- Cassava bread
- Mashed Cassava as an alternative to mashed potatoes
- Cassava bread
- Tapioca-you can find this at stores is made with yucca root
- Gluten-free bread
- Cassava cake
Final Thoughts on the Healthy Benefits of Yucca Root
Cassava is similar in looks to a sweet potato. This staple food feeds thousands of people worldwide. Now may be the time if you haven’t tried it in the past. It contains antioxidants, fights oxidative stress, boosts your immune system, and protects your eyesight. You may have seen this dark brown long tuber in the grocery store but didn’t know what it was. Try adding yucca root to your regular menu to enjoy some of its fantastic health benefits.