Yuca Nutrition: Benefits, Risks, Cooking Ideas, and More



Yuca root is a nutritious vegetable that offers several health benefits and is a great choice for a gluten-free diet.

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A hearty root vegetable, yuca root (also known as cassava) comes from Brazil but is grown in the tropical regions of the world. There are two types of yuca roots: bitter and sweet, although the bitter type is more commonly used, according to the USDA.

The starch from the yuca root is used to make tapioca, and the yuca root itself is used in many different forms. It can be eaten whole and is also made into flour and snacks such as cassava chips.

According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center, it can be easy to confuse yuca with yucca, which is actually a perennial shrub or tree with sword-shaped leaves and white flowers.

Yuca contains several nutrients that are beneficial for general health, and yuca products (like manioctortillas) can also be a substitute for gluten-containing foods if you are on a gluten-free or grain-free diet.


Yuca root must never be eaten raw as it contains a poisonous acid that is destroyed when cooked.

Nutritional values ​​of the yuca root

One cup of yuca root is equivalent to a single serving. One cup of cooked yuca or cassava (prepared without oil) contains:

  • Calories: 213
  • Total fat: 0.4 g
  • cholesterol: 0 mg
  • sodium: 326 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 50.5 g
    • Fiber: 2.4 g
    • sugar: 2.3 g
    • Added sugar: 0 g
  • protein: 1.8 g
  • Total fat: One cup of cooked yuca has 0.4 grams of total fat, including 0.06 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.09 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0.1 grams of saturated fat, and 0 grams of trans fats.
  • carbohydrates: One cup of cooked yuca contains 50.5 grams of carbohydrates, which contains 2.4 grams of fiber and 2.3 grams of naturally occurring sugar.
  • protein: One cup of cooked yuca contains 1.8 grams of protein.

Vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients

  • vitamin C: 20% of your daily value (DV)
  • copper: 14% DV
  • Thiamine (B1): 8% DV
  • potassium: 7% DV
  • magnesium: 6% DV
  • Niacin (B3): 6% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 6% DV
  • Folate (B9): 6% DV
  • Riboflavin (B2): 4% DV
  • zinc: 4% DV
  • phosphorus: 3% DV

Per 1/4 cup

Cassava flour

All-purpose flour

Whole wheat flour

Chickpea flour






Total fat

0 g

0.3 g

0.5 g

1.5 g


31 g

23.8 g

22 g

13.3 g


2 g

0.8 g

4 g

2.5 g


0 g

3.2 g

4 g

5.1 g

The health benefits of the yuca root

Yuca helps strengthen gut, heart, and skin health and can also be a good substitute for gluten or grain foods if you are on a diet that excludes them. Like other vegetables, yuca can be a nutritious part of a healthy and varied diet.

1. Yuca is great for gut health

Yuca contains resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and ferments in the colon and acts as a prebiotic to feed healthy bacteria in the intestines, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“Resistant starch really is cassava fame because it basically serves as food to support gut bacteria,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD. “And gut health is not only related to regularity and digestion, but also immunity, mood, and even cravings.”

Because resistant starch isn’t digested in the small intestine, it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It also causes less gas than other fiber because it is slow to ferment and can help you feel full, treat and prevent constipation, and lower cholesterol.

When resistant starch is fermented in the large intestine, it leads to the production of short chain fatty acids – one of which is butyrate, which plays an important role in gut health, including reducing inflammation and helping the intestinal barrier function (which is involved in immunity). ), per review in February 2020 inCurrent opinion in biotechnology.

If you’re on a grain-free or gluten-free diet for medical reasons, yuca can be a nutritious addition to your meals – and there are several packaged options like cassava chips or cassava tortillas. “It’s a really good option to add more variety to your diet,” says Blatner.

“However, when you’re trying to get the vitamin C, potassium, and resistant starch in cassava, aim for a whole-food version like yuca fries as opposed to processed foods.”

Depending on the degree of processing, several nutrients can be removed or destroyed when peeling, heating or drying food, according to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Although nutrients are sometimes added to processed foods, it is impossible to restore the nutritional composition of the original food. This is why whole foods are generally considered healthier than processed foods.

It’s also important to remember that some gluten-free foods may be higher in fat, sugar, or calories than the gluten-containing foods they replace. When it comes to processed foods, always read the ingredients list to make sure your cassava snack doesn’t have any unwanted ingredients (like too much salt or added sugar).

3. Yuca supports heart health

Like other vegetables, yuca can be part of a diet that protects your heart. Each serving contains 2.4 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber.

The recommended daily amount of fiber is 25 to 38 grams, according to Harvard Medical School, but most Americans only consume about 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day on average. People who consume high amounts of fiber can significantly lower their risk of heart disease and death from it, possibly due to the effects of fiber on reducing total and LDL “bad” cholesterol, according to a review of 31 meta-analyzes im December 2017 in theJournal of Chiropractic.

Fiber can also benefit heart health by reducing blood pressure and inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, it helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

A serving of Yuca also provides 7 percent DV potassium. When you eat more potassium, you lose more sodium in your urine and reduce tension in your blood pressure walls, according to the American Heart Association. As a result, it can help you control high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, yuca is a high vitamin C food with 20 percent of your DV. Although the evidence is mixed, prospective cohort studies suggest that vitamin C intake is linked to lower risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

Not only does vitamin C potentially protect your heart, but it also protects your cells in general from damage: “Vitamin C is one of the best antioxidants that keeps your cells healthy,” says Blatner. “It’s also a precursor to collagen and is good for skin health and it’s an immune booster.”

Some people allergic to latex may also experience cross-reactivity with cassava, according to a case report dated May 2007 in theJournal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology.

Cross-reactivity occurs when proteins in one substance are similar to those in another and cause a similar reaction. This can make certain allergies difficult to diagnose, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Talk to an allergist if you suspect you may have an allergy. Allergies can cause severe reactions, and in the event of anaphylaxis (a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction), you may need to carry adrenaline with you.

There are currently no known drug interactions related to Yuca. Discuss all drug and food interactions with your doctor.

It is important to peel and cook yuca before eating. Raw cassava contains a toxic acid that the USDA says must be removed by peeling and boiling the roots.

“Cassava always has to be cooked,” says Blatner. “It’s like a potato you wouldn’t think of eating raw.”

Yuca root preparation and helpful tips

Aside from fully boiling yuca before consuming it to remove harmful toxins, it’s important to store it properly. You can use yuca root in place of other root vegetables, and it’s an especially good substitute for potatoes.

Store the yuca root properly.If you have fresh, unpeeled yuca on hand, store it in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a week. Peeled yuca can be stored in water in the refrigerator for a month if you replace the water every two days, according to the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Yuca can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for several months.

Swap it for other root vegetables.If you want to include more yuca in your diet, use it in recipes that usually call for potatoes. “However, you usually enjoy potatoes the way you would enjoy cassava,” says Blatner. “It can be pureed like with mashed potatoes or cut into cubes for breakfast.”

Alternatives to yuca root

You can try several other types of root vegetables in place of the yuca root. Eat a varied diet with lots of root vegetables such as:

  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beets

You can even fry several together as part of the meal prep.



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