What is yuca and why is it good for your gut?
Yuca, also known as cassava root or Brazilian Arrowroot, is found mainly in South America as well as parts of Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. This is a starchy root vegetable that looks similar to a tough-skinned potato. It is commonly eaten in Africa and South America, and is even culturally relevant to Puerto Rican and Latin American cultures. It can be found easily in most grocery stores, though you may have an easier time finding them in international markets in their whole form. In recent years, the use of cassava flour has become quite popular in gluten free, grain free, nut free, and seed free recipes.
This root contains a significant amount of beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin-A), potassium, and resistant starch. It also contains antioxidants that can be beneficial for treating inflammatory illnesses such as IBS, IBD, or SIBO. Boiled yuca also contains iron, vitamin C and B vitamins.
According to the research, the resistant starch in yuca is beneficial for feeding healthy, commensal microbes and improving bowel movements. This rocking root can aid in stabilizing your microbiome and digestive system as a whole, as the resistant starch (or soluble fiber) can feed the “good bacteria” and allow them to proliferate in the colon. These “good bacteria” can then outcompete the bad bacteria and maintain homeostasis.
Yuca's polyphenols are also responsible for decreasing inflammation pathways and supporting clotting pathways as well! They are also anti-inflammatory, as these compounds (which are present in many different plants) can inhibit platelet aggregation– an essential part of the inflammatory pathway. This can be extremely helpful for those suffering with inflammatory gut conditions, or other diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.
Ways to eat it
Yuca must be cooked before it is eaten as raw cassava is poisonous!
Cooking yuca can be a fantastic base for many other recipes.
Cut off the ends of the root, remove the skin, cut into chunks, and boil for 15-20 minutes!
Add it to your oatmeal or sauté!
Bake with yuca flour or add it to sauces or gravies as a thickener.
Yuca flour is used to make tapioca balls, also known as boba, however the nutritional value in this recipe is diminished.
Recipe: Cassava Tortilla
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
2 cups cassava flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water, filtered
Mix all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Make sure the dry ingredients have been mixed well.
Slowly add water and mix with clean hands until a pizza dough consistency is achieved. Add more water or more cassava flour if the dough looks too dry or too wet.
Grab ping pong ball sizes of dough to be rolled out into a circular shape. (A tortilla press is also a great device to use!)
Heat a pan and place the flat tortilla on the hot plate.
Once the edges of the tortilla start to rise, flip it over using a wooden spatula or your hand (be careful!).
Repeat for all of the tortillas, then enjoy!
Heal with each meal!