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Tubers have got the wrong reputation

  • Mind & Body
  • 19 Jul 2017

Tubers refer to a group of plants that has starchy roots like yacon, potatoes, yams, cassava etc. Tubers are a rich source of macro and micronutrients that aids in weight loss as well. In this blog, you will find more reasons to love tubers.

1. Tubers are a rich source of complex carbohydrates: Simple carbs tend to increase the blood sugar level rapidly. Contrary to the belief, carbohydrates like potatoes, casava etc does not aid in weight gain. They contain glucose, a macronutrient. We need 600 calories of glucose per day to keep ourselves healthy. These are complex carbs, which is found in tubers, that helps to remain full for a longer period of time. Infact complex carbs balance the glucose levels in blood and there by prevents cravings and overeating.

2. Tubers are low in toxins: Most of the grains and legumes contain toxic compounds called rhizomes and corms. These toxic products may cause sickness, if the food is not cooked in the right way. Tuber contains these toxins in a very low quantity. Even after cooking, the level of toxins is found to be low in tubers than in grains and legumes.

3. Tubers are a rich source of essential nutrients: Tubers and root crops are rich sources of essential vitamins, minerals, soluble fibers and beneficial enzymes. Sweet potato is a source of beta carotene and Vitamin C, which works as antioxidants by protecting the body from free radicals.

Vitamin A found in tubers prevents the risk of cancer and damage from free radicals. Tubers are also rich in Vitamin B6 that decreases blood pressure and stabilize the blood sugar level.

4. Tubers are loaded with minerals: Tubers are a source of copper, manganese, potassium and fiber that helps to keep the digestive and excretory system healthy. Due to the presence of fiber in it, tubers promote better digestion, minimize fat absorption and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It helps to prevent liver and muscle disease, replenish electrolytes and fluids in the cells and normalize heart functions.

5. Tubers minimize tissue damage: The nutrients in tuber helps to repair damaged tissues. Vitamin A in root crops improves vision and reduces eye problems. Vitamin C in tubers helps to repair damaged cells and increase cell turnover.

Yams, potatoes and cassava etc also neutralizes tissue damage caused by smoking and also have an antidiabetic property that prevents insulin resistance.

Tubers have an immense potential as functional foods and on nutritional basis. It helps to reduce the risk and complications associated with various diseases and promote wellness. Starchy roots and tubers play a very important role in the human diet. There are number of roots and tubers which have extensive biodiversity, although within the same geographical location. So you can experiment and add a variety to your diet. The nutritional benefits include antioxidative, hypoglycemic (reduces blood sugar level), hypocholesterolemic (reduces cholesterol), antimicrobial and immunomodulatory (improves immunity) activities. The bioactive constituents responsible for such benefits include phenolic compounds, saponins, bioactive proteins, glycoalkaloids and phytic acids.

Many starchy tuber crops, except the common potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava, are still not fully explored regarding the nutritional and health benefits. In few of the Asian countries, some edible tubers are used to prepare some traditional medicines. One should be careful while processing the tubers as it may affect the bioactivities of the constituent compounds.

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