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Yucca Root Health Benefits

by
author image Jessica Lewis
Jessica Lewis has published professionally since 2005 and is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Her work is regularly found in the "National Post" and "Oxygen Magazine." She holds degrees from the University of Guelph and McMaster University. A marathon runner and yoga enthusiast, she is also interested in alternative medicine.
Yucca Root Health Benefits
Yucca root is sometimes sliced and deep-fried to make yucca fries. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Yucca root, also sometimes spelled "yuca," is known by the names manioc and cassava. Native to South America, this starchy tuber is eaten throughout Latin America, South Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. Used to make tapioca flour, yucca has a texture a little chewier than the potato and a milder taste. Rich in a range of nutrients, yucca can be used as a substitute in almost all of your favorite potato dishes.

Vitamin C in Yucca

A 1-cup serving of raw yucca has a little over 42 milligrams of vitamin C per serving. This provides 56.5 percent of the daily intake for women, almost 50 percent of the DI for pregnant women, 35 percent of the DI for breast-feeding women and 47 percent of the DI for adult men. A natural antioxidant, vitamin C protects your body from free radicals, which are made by your body when it digests food. Free radicals can speed up the aging process, increasing your chances of experiencing cell death and damage that can cause heart disease and cancer. In addition, vitamin C is used to make collagen, which is essential for skin, ligaments, tendon and blood vessel production.

High in Dietary Fiber

According to MedlinePlus and the Colorado State University, most adults do not eat enough dietary fiber. Dietary fiber reduces the number of calories you consume by making you feel fuller faster. It also helps your body expel waste as it aids in passing it through your system -- insufficient amounts of dietary fiber can lead to constipation. With 3.7 grams of dietary fiber per 1-cup serving, yucca root has between 9.7 percent and 17.6 percent of your recommended intake for dietary fiber.

Lots of Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte that conducts electricity through your body. It also regulates your heart’s electrical activity. On top of this, potassium is needed to maintain healthy body development, as it helps make muscle and proteins and aids in the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose. A 1-cup serving of yucca root contains 558 milligrams of potassium. This is almost 12 percent of the recommended dietary intake of potassium for adult men and women and almost 11 percent of the RDI for pregnant and lactating women.

Rich in Folate

Folate is also known as vitamin B-9, and as a B vitamin, it supports your immune system, improves brain function, aids in the breakdown of carbohydrates and helps your body tolerate stress better. It is also helpful in keeping your hair, skin, eyes and liver healthy. Folate is especially important for those going through periods of rapid growth, such as during adolescence or pregnancy. In addition, it helps with the making of DNA and, along with vitamin B-12, helps produce red blood cells. A 1-cup serving of yucca has 56 micrograms of folate. This is 14 percent of the dietary recommendation for adult men and women, a little over 11 percent of the recommendation for breast-feeding women and a little over 9 percent of the recommendation for pregnant women.

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