What Are the Health Benefits of Malanga?

Chad Zuber
A slice malanga root on a cutting board. (Image: shakzu/iStock/Getty Images)

If you happen to be near a Hispanic market and are looking for a new food to add to your repertoire, you might want to consider giving malanga a try. A tropical root vegetable from South America, malanga is good baked, mashed or roasted. Including this root vegetable in your diet can help you meet your daily fiber and potassium needs. Plus, it's considered one of the least allergenic foods, according to the University of Florida, making it a good choice for anyone with severe food allergies.

Steady Your Blood Pressure

Eating foods rich in potassium helps control blood pressure by lowering the effects of sodium, according to the American Heart Association, and it is recommended that you get 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day from food. With 320 milligrams in a 1/3-cup serving, malanga can help you meet your daily potassium needs and aid in blood pressure control. A high potassium diet is not healthy for everyone, however. The elderly and people with kidney disease should talk to their doctors first about potassium before upping their intake.

Good for Your Gut

Malanga is also a good source of fiber. A 1/3-cup serving of cooked malanga contains 3 grams. Most Americans don't get enough fiber in their diet, averaging about 15 grams a day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Women need 25 grams of fiber a day and men 38 grams. Adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet like malanga not only helps improve constipation but may also make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of heart disease.

For Those With Allergies

Food allergies are a growing concern in the United States, according to Food Allergy Research and Education, affecting as many as 15 million people. Wheat is one of the top eight food allergens, and not being able to eat wheat or wheat products can significantly limit your food choices. Milled into flour, hypoallergenic malanga can be used as a substitute for wheat flour when making foods such as pancakes, bread, cookies, doughnuts or muffins.

Energy-Boosting Carbs

Most of the calories in malanga come from its carb content, with 16 grams in a 1/3-cup serving. Carbs are you body's preferred source of energy, and necessary for fueling your hard-working muscles and organ systems. As a complex carb, malanga digests more slowly than a simple carb such as soda. This helps maintain blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling energized longer.

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