YUCCA NUTRITION FACTS: CALORIES, CARBS, AND HEALTH BENEFITS. By Malia Frey

 To fully understand yucca nutrition, it’s important to distinguish between different types of yucca and their common uses. Yucca root, also called “yuca,” is the root of the cassava plant. This vegetable is often boiled or fried like a potato and consumed as a snack or a side dish.

However, there are over forty other variations of yucca. Yucca is a common name for a genus of shrubs that grows in warm climates and has sharp, spear-shaped leaves. These yucca plants—including banana yucca, Mojave yucca, and beaked yucca—are often used medicinally and usually not consumed as a food.

Nutrition

One cassava root is about 400 grams. A single serving of cassava is about 1 cup or slightly over 200 grams. One cup of yucca provides about 330 calories.

But yucca is usually not consumed raw. You are more likely to see cassava or yucca chips or fries.

A single serving of yucca chips (28 grams) provides approximately 130 to 150 calories and 5 to 8 grams of fat. The calories in yuca fries will vary depending on how they are prepared and the serving size.

For example, if you eat about 10 yucca fries (also called yuca fries or cassava fries) you may consume anywhere from 200–275 calories and 13–18 grams of fat.

Carbs in Yucca

Yucca is a starchy vegetable that will significantly boost your carb intake. There are about 78 grams of carbohydrate in 1 cup of raw cassava (yuca), according to USDA data. Just under 4 grams of that is fibre and about 3.5 grams is sugar. The rest of the carbohydrate in yucca is starch.

The estimated glycaemic load of yucca is 41, which makes yucca a high glycaemic food.

Fats in Yucca

There is very little fat (less than 1 gram) in a single serving of raw yucca. One cup has less than a single gram of fat and one whole root has just over 1 gram of fat. However, if you consume fried yucca, the food is likely to have quite a bit of fat because it is cooked in oil.

Yucca fries and yucca chips may have up to 8 grams of fat or more, depending on how they are prepared.

Protein in Yucca

Yucca provides a small amount of protein in the raw form. One cup contains just under 3 grams of protein. Fried yucca is not likely to provide any additional protein.

Micronutrients in Yucca

Yucca root provides both vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins in yucca include vitamin A (28.6 IU), vitamin C (42 mg), folate (56 mg), choline (49 mg), vitamin K (4 mcg), and small amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and betaine.

Minerals in yucca include calcium (33 mg), magnesium (43 mg), phosphorus (56 mg), potassium (558 mg), sodium (29 mg), manganese (0.8 mg), and small amounts of zinc and selenium.

Health Benefits

Yucca and yucca extract consumed by mouth has been used to lower blood pressure and manage high cholesterol.

Natural product guides that write about the use of yucca for medicinal purposes note that using yucca (or yucca extract) must be combined with a healthy diet and exercise program in order to benefit from any effect. So it is unclear if it is the yucca consumption or the lifestyle changes that provide a benefit.

Yucca is sometimes on the skin to reduce inflammation, bleeding, sprains, broken limbs, joint pain, baldness, and dandruff. There is some evidence to support the anti-inflammatory benefits and anti-arthritic effects of yucca. However, in published research, scientists state that more research is needed to verify these benefits in humans.

There is some evidence that using yucca topically may help alleviate skin sores, specifically herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. But more research on humans is needed.

Common Questions: How do you say “yucca”?

The proper pronunciation of the word depends on the type of yucca that you are referring to. When you are talking about the plant with long, spear-like leaves, it is pronounced “yuck-ka.” However, if you are referring to yuca or the cassava root vegetable, it is pronounced “yoo-ka.”

How and where can I buy yucca?

Some—but not all—grocery stores sell yucca in the produce section of the market. You’ll find yucca near other root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, or yams. Look for a reddish-brown, club-shaped vegetable that is firm and solid and has few blemishes. Keep in mind that the bark-like skin is removed before cooking, so dirt or mild blemishes are not a problem.

What does yucca taste like?

Yucca has a starchy taste and texture similar to that of a potato, but it is slightly sweeter and nuttier than a potato.

 

Recipes and Preparation Tips

The most common way to prepare yucca is to fry it. However, this adds fat and calories to the food, so the National Institutes of Health and other nutrition organizations provide recipes to bake yuca fries instead. A single serving of baked yuca fries provides under 100 calories and about 1 gram of fat.

You can also boil yucca and season with salt or use it in the same ways that you might use a potato.

Allergies and Interactions

Yucca is likely safe when consumed in amounts typically found in food. Certain types of yucca (Mojave yucca and Joshua tree) are recognized as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the USDA.

According to medical sources, yucca is likely to be safe for consumption but may cause diarrhoea if consumed in excess. Also, it is not known if yucca is safe for those with severe liver or kidney disease, children, and pregnant or nursing women.

YUCCA NUTRITION FACTS: CALORIES, CARBS, AND HEALTH BENEFITS By Malia Frey

HOW A STROKE CAN CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY

By Heidi Moawad, MD 

A stroke can produce major life-altering changes, such as vision and diminished physical strength and coordination. In addition to the obvious physical handicaps of a stroke, a stroke can also produce significant personality changes. If you are a stroke survivor, your post-stroke behavioural changes can hit you and your loved ones by surprise if you suddenly do not act like “yourself” anymore.

Once you learn how to identify the most common personality changes after a stroke, you can begin to gain a sense of reassurance, knowing that there is an explanation for why you or your loved one might be acting a little different. Recognizing personality changes can be a huge step in modifying unwanted behavior as you purposefully work towards getting back some of the personality traits that make you feel more like “you.”

Depression

After a stroke, it is very common to experience a sense of unhappiness and sadness. In fact, as many as 60 percent of stroke survivors report prolonged depression, which is depression that is more severe and long lasting than routine sadness.

Post-stroke depression results from a combination of biological and situational factors. First of all, the obvious effects of a stroke, such as weakness, vision loss, and coordination problems may cause a sense of sadness if you feel disempowered by your handicap. Additionally, after a stroke, you might worry about your health or experience anxiety about your own mortality. The resulting feelings of helplessness or hopelessness can contribute to post-stroke depression.

And the stroke-induced damage to the brain can produce changes in the way the brain functions, resulting in altered biological activity that leads to depression.

Despite all of these elements that contribute to the development of post-stroke depression, post-stroke depression is usually treatable with a combination approach that includes medication and counseling.

Many people, however, are reluctant to seek treatment for depression. Some stroke survivors hesitate to take on the label of depression out of concern that it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Others do not trust the medical system to deal with emotional issues, and others view depression as a sign of weakness.

However, if you or your loved one has lingering feelings of sadness or hopelessness, you can get effective help for this problem. The recognition that your depression is not your fault and is not a sign of weakness is an empowering step towards getting the right medical treatment.

Loneliness 

After a stroke, isolation can occur if you are no longer able to do the same things you used to do. If you have to leave your job after a stroke, or if you are no longer a part of your regular social life, this can lead to a sense of loneliness.

Some stroke survivors have severe disabilities that make it difficult to drive, leave the house or even get out of bed. Extreme disability may necessitate moving into a new living environment, in part to obtain more assistance with daily living, and in part to reduce isolation and loneliness. Each stroke survivor can overcome the post-stroke sense of loneliness in his or her own unique way.

Loss of Cognitive Skills

The loss of cognitive skills after a stroke can happen after a stroke in almost any region of the brain, but most often in the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe or the temporal lobes.

Changes in cognitive skills include trouble with problem-solving, reading difficulties, and trouble with simple mathematical calculations. Some stroke survivors become forgetful, forgetting names, or losing things or forgetting to take care of important tasks. Cognitive deficits can also cause confusion or may make it difficult to understand concepts that a stroke survivor would have previously been able to understand.

The loss of cognitive skills can be very distressing for stroke survivors, and many stroke survivors may be in denial, making excuses for frequent mistakes, or even lying about errors to avoid embarrassment.

Building up cognitive skills is a challenge, but just as physical disability can improve with physical therapy, cognitive disabilities can improve with dedicated cognitive therapy.

Emotional Instability

Many stroke survivors find themselves becoming very emotional or inappropriately crying or laughing. Some stroke survivors experience a condition called pseudobulbar affect, which is characterized by mood changes and uncontrollable emotional expressions.

Lack of Motivation

A stroke can lead to a lack of motivation, which is called apathy. Apathy occurs after most types of brain injury. There are several reasons for post-stroke apathy.

The decline in cognitive abilities (problem solving and thinking skills) after a stroke can make many tasks seem too challenging and unsolvable. Additionally, the development of post-stroke depression, having less responsibility to deal with after the stroke, and sometimes the feeling that “nobody will notice” what you do, can all lead to apathy.

Lastly, apathy may also occur due to changes in the structure and function of the brain secondary to the stroke itself.

Aggression 

Some stroke survivors become unexpectedly hostile and angry, behaving in ways that are mean or physically aggressive. Aggression, like the other behavioural and personality-related stroke changes, is often a result of both the emotional feelings about the stroke and the stroke-induced brain injury.

Aggression is particularly noticeable in stroke survivors who have a stroke pattern that produces vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs when many small strokes happen over time, leading to a buildup of injuries throughout the brain, and resulting in a distinctive type of dementia. Vascular dementia is characterized by a decline in memory and thinking skills, confusion, trouble finding things, trouble with directions, and changes in behavior.

Denial of a Stroke: Anosognosia 

Anosognosia describes a stroke survivor’s inability to recognize that he or she has had a stroke. Anosognosia is manifest by an interesting overconfidence and unawareness that there is anything wrong after a stroke. In fact, a person who has anosognosia may express surprise and bewilderment at the fact that there is any medical care being administered at all.

Stroke survivors who have anosognosia present a challenging problem for loved ones and caregivers, who try to offer assistance and care, often with no cooperation. Sometimes stroke survivors who have anosognosia treat those who are trying to help them with dismissal or rejection.

Lack of Empathy

The lack of empathy after a stroke is caused by brain damage that affects regions of the right side of the brain. A lack of empathy is a behavioural change that is usually upsetting for friends and loved ones, but is typically unnoticed by the stroke survivor.

It is not easy to predict whether a lack of empathy will improve after a stroke, as some stroke survivors can show improvement, while others do not.

Loss of Sense of Humour 

A sense of humour requires insight and the quick thinking. Humour is often based on the recognition that dissimilar ideas do not belong together and that they are funny and amusing when placed together.

Many types of stroke can diminish a stroke survivor’s sense of humour. A stroke survivor who was previously funny might not be able to construct jokes and a stroke survivor who would have been able to recognize and laugh at jokes might not be able to do so anymore.

A loss of sense of humour can be difficult to recover from because this stroke effect is caused by a loss of cognitive skills. However, understanding that the lack of humour is the result of a stroke, and not a personal rejection, can help in preventing hurt feelings and misunderstandings when a stroke survivor does not respond to light-hearted joking as expected.

Loss of Social Inhibitions

Some stroke survivors may behave in ways that are considered socially inappropriate after a stroke of the right or the left frontal lobe. Behaviours such as taking food from a stranger’s plate, insulting people out loud or even undressing or urinating in public, may pose challenges for the caretakers and family members who are primarily responsible for the safety and care of a stroke survivor.

Generally, a stroke survivor who displays socially unacceptable behavior does not have the insight to understand that the actions are not acceptable, and is unlikely to apologize or try to correct the behavior.

The language or insults of a stroke survivor who has suffered from a frontal lobe stroke are not necessarily consistent with a person’s ‘normal’ pre-stroke personality or beliefs. And it is very important to be aware that mean statements are not reflective of what a stroke survivor ‘really feels, deep down inside,’ but are more likely to be phrases that he or she heard in a completely unrelated setting, such as in a book or on a television show.

The loss of social inhibition can be somewhat better controlled when the stroke survivor is comfortable, in a familiar environment, and under as little stress as possible.

Jealousy 

A rare type of stroke causes a syndrome called Othello Syndrome, which is characterized by irrational and illogical jealousy, particularly in the context of romantic relationships. This syndrome can affect stroke survivors as a result of brain injury affecting areas of the right cerebral cortex.

A Word from Verywell

A stroke can cause major personality changes that can make you feel as if you have lost yourself or that you’ve lost the loved one you used to know so well. Personality changes after a stroke can be emotionally draining for everyone involved.

However, if a stroke survivor and loved ones understand that the source of the behavior comes from stroke-induced brain damage, it can reassure everyone in knowing that the unpleasant behavior is not premeditated or intended to be personally insulting. High functioning stroke survivors who learn about the typical post-stroke behavioural changes can gain enough insight to be able to make some changes, which can result in more satisfying interpersonal relationships.

HOW A STROKE CAN CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY

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