Yuca Is The Carb You've Never Heard Of But Should Be Eating
Yuca isn’t something you come across as often as other starchy foods like potatoes and sweet potatoes.
But if you’ve ever been browsing the produce aisle and have come across something that looks like an elongated sweet potato with shiny, brown skin, chances are you’ve seen it.
Yuca is a starchy root vegetable that’s both gluten-free and highly versatile.
Yuca — also known as cassava or arrowroot — is a starchy root vegetable. It comes from the cassava plant, which is native to South America and the American Tropics. Because of its ivory color, it’s easy to confuse yuca with potato at first glance. But yuca has a distinctly different flavor from potatoes. It’s nutty and mildly sweet with a grainy texture. This root veggie is most commonly used in Latino cuisines.
Yuca is extremely versatile and ideal for paleo or Whole30 diets. Those looking to make gluten-free baked goods often turn to cassava flour. When used in savory dishes, yuca can be mashed, made into chips, french fries, or even empanadas. Or very simply, it can be peeled, boiled, and seasoned as a hearty side. The starch extracted from yuca is called tapioca, a gluten-free food that serves as a great thickening agent for sauces, puddings, stews, and more.
Keep in mind that yuca should never be eaten raw! Its skin contains toxic cyanogenic glycosides, so be sure to peel this root veggie before cooking it. Because of its thick skin, we recommend using a sharp knife instead of a peeler.
Yuca is ideal for active individuals because it provides healthy carbohydrates to fuel intense workouts.
Given the bad rap carbs have recently been given, many people are quick to dismiss yuca as being too starchy. But as long as you’re eating your starchy carbs at the right time, they’re highly beneficial — especially for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Yuca is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the world. In other words, yuca is an essential source of energy for us. High in potassium, calcium, fiber, and vitamins C and B6, this root veggie is a nutritional powerhouse. And because it’s naturally gluten-free, the starch made from yuca is easily digested by anyone with dietary sensitivities.
Yuca is a good source of manganese and vitamin C and has a low glycemic index.
Yuca is similar to potatoes, but it’s not any more or less beneficial. Each vegetable has its own unique benefits. Potatoes provide fiber, vitamins B and C, and potassium. While yuca has relatively no protein, it contains essential fatty acids and is a good source of manganese and vitamin C.
Both potatoes and yuca are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. When it comes to calories, yuca has twice the calories of potatoes, but it also has a lower glycemic index, meaning that it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Low glycemic foods also help lower and control triglyceride levels, which in turn helps with weight loss.