Yautia – Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects

Yautia (Botanical name – Xanthosoma sagittifolium) is a nutrient-rich root that goes by many different names, including tannia, malanga, new cocoyam, cocoyam, and Japanese potatoes.

Cultivation of this root is thought to be originated in the northern part of South America and spread through Mesoamerica and Antilles. In the present day, it is grown in Central America, the Caribbean, and certain parts of Asia and Africa.

The part of the Xanthosoma sagittifolium plant which is eaten is known as a tuber and has a similar size as a potato. It has a white and slight purple flesh, with a taste that resembles a nutty flavor.

This root can be eaten just like a potato – boiled, baked, steamed, and fried (but it is best to avoid fried foods). Also, the young shoots and leaves are valued as a boiled vegetable.

Nutrition Facts

It is an excellent source of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, protein, dietary fiber, copper, manganese, selenium, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc. In addition, a full cup of new cocoyam has about 48 grams of healthy carbs, which is vital for people who are working out, like – cyclists or runners, or anyone who has a physically demanding job.

In addition, according to the University of Florida, it is thought to be one of the least allergenic foods, making it an excellent choice for people with severe food allergies.

Health Benefits

Reduces Stress Levels

Vitamin B6, also referred as pyridoxine, is one of the vitamins included in the B-complex vitamin family. This vitamin helps the human body to produce the neurotransmitters norepinephrine (which helps the body cope with stress) and serotonin (which regulates mood).

Pyridoxine is also helpful in maintaining the level of hormones in the human body, that helps to control many different activities and metabolic occurrences in the body. Also, it is required for proper brain function and development for people of all ages.

Over time, a deficiency in this vitamin can cause the following symptoms:

  • worsening symptoms of anemia;
  • worsening symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome);
  • low energy levels;
  • muscle pains;
  • confusion;
  • changes in mood, like – anxiety, irritability, and depression.

100 of this tuber contains 0,2mg of vitamin B6 which is about 12 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Lowers Blood Pressure

This root contains a good amount of potassium, an essential mineral that is involved in heart contraction and water regulation, plus, it helps lower blood pressure. Potassium can also prevent serious conditions, like – stroke, heart attack, and kidney disorders.

100 of this tuber contains 598mg of potassium which is about 17 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Connective Tissues

Copper is a trace mineral found in all body tissues and is required for survival. For instance, copper plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and nerve cells and producing red blood cells.

The body also uses this essential trace mineral in the manufacture of numerous enzymes, some of which act as antioxidants. In addition, it plays an essential role in maintaining the health of the myelin sheath (a fatty white substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells) as well as it is important for keeping hair from thinning and turning. A person who has a copper deficiency can experience the following symptoms:

  • birth defects;
  • anemia;
  • thyroid disorders;
  • low skin pigmentation;
  • low resistance to infections;
  • elevated LDL and total cholesterol levels;
  • uneven heartbeats;
  • low white blood cell count;
  • dilated veins;
  • osteoporosis;
  • brittle bones;
  • low body temperature.

100 of this tuber contains 0,3 mg of copper which is about 13 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Boosts Immunity

It contains high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which can benefit overall health. Vitamin C also stimulates the activity and production of white blood cells, that fight infection, as well as it protects us from free radical damage and cell mutations.

100 of this tuber contains 5,2 mg of vitamin C which is about 9 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Energy Production

Vitamin B1, also referred to as thiamine, is a vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B complex. It is a coenzyme used by the human body to maintain proper heart and nerve function and to metabolize food for energy.

The early symptoms of thiamine deficiency include:

  • calf muscle tenderness;
  • constipation;
  • indigestion;
  • weight loss;
  • loss of appetite;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • loss of memory;
  • irritability;
  • lethargy.

100 of this tuber contains 0,1 mg of thiamin which is about 6 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Constipation Relief

Being rich in fiber, this tuber can reduce constipation to a great extent or even cure it completely since fiber can help stimulate peristaltic motion in the bowels and keep you regular.

Moreover, having a regular diet rich in fiber reduces the number of calories you intake by making you feel fuller faster, plus, fiber is not digested by the body. Also, fiber causes a slow increase in blood glucose (sugar), making it excellent for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

100 of this tuber contains 1,5g of dietary fiber which is about 6 percent of the recommended daily intake.

How To Cook Malanga

This tuber should only be eaten cooked – steamed, roasted, baked, fried, and even mashed. It can be used as a potato substitute.

Side Effects Of Yautia

It is rich in oxalates (a naturally occurring molecule) that makes it very toxic when it is raw. Hence, when consuming the leaves and roots, it is essential to cook or steep them overnight.

There are no other clinically proven side effects of consuming this tuber.

Yautia vs Malanga – Differences

Malanga is just another name for yautia.

Yautia vs Yucca – Differences

Yucca root, also known as cassava, is a perennial shrub plant that is native to Central America. Yucca root is also referred as guardian of the desert, Spanish bayonet, soapweed, needle palm, and lord’s candle.

The yucca root is hugely versatile and is commonly used to replace potatoes in many different cultural dishes throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

Image credit – Shutterstock

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