Cliche as it is, we’re going to say it: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We’ve been down this road before when I wrote about the Ugli fruit, talking about the lumpy-looking hybridized food and its health benefits.
Many of our recipes include another not so pretty food, the avocado. And Jennifer even took a semi-humorous look at weird looking fruits and veggies when she wrote about how shopping for healthy foods can be a lot like dating, drawing parallels between the two (that unusual-looking something that makes you hesitate at first may turn out to be the best thing ever!).
Well, we’re at it again.
This time, a long, slightly twisted root vegetable with a starchy, nutty flavor caught my eye. It’s Yucca root, also known as Cassava, and it’s the third most important calorie source in the tropics, after rice and corn (1).
Yucca root looks a bit like a brown walking stick, but it fits in shopping baskets, so it’s more like a walking stick a small child would use while perusing the aisles of Toys R Us (not realistic, I know), rather than one for grown adults hiking the Appalachian Trail. It curves in some spots and is straight in others, and in most cases, their height and thickness varies. Either way, it stands out from symmetrical apples and perfect plums, and has health benefits worth exploring.
The health benefits of yucca root
First of all, it’s a pale food. Now before you shun it, consider what Keith wrote in his post about white vegetables. He says, ” . . . pale vegetables are rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium, and often they are much more affordable than there colorful cousins.” He urges us not to overlook pale foods just because they’re not part of that rainbow colored goodness that all healthy people enjoy. Cauliflower, fennel, parsnips (and now we’ll add yucca root to the list) . . . tasty and healthy!
As for yucca root, it’s a good source of potassium, containing 558 milligrams of it in one cup (2). Potassium is important to keep electrolyte levels balanced in our body, which plays a huge role in proper heart function.
It’s also loaded with vitamin C, with one cup providing more than half the DI (daily intake) for women and 47 percent DI for men (2). Vitamin C is important when it comes to fighting free radicals, which means consumption of it can boost cell, skin, and heart health and more. It’s vital component to staying as disease-free as possible.
Intrigued? Try it! I even found a recipe on how to make roasted yucca fries that uses virgin olive oil (always choose organic) and encourages sprinkling anything from fresh herbs to a cinnamon/cayenne combo on top. Sounds delish!
How to Cook Yucca Root Fries
Sources for this article include