UMA Global Foods

Tubers: Nature’s answer to affordable energy


Blog > Tubers: Nature’s answer to affordable energy

Tubers: Nature’s answer to affordable energy

When we think of tubers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, cassava, Taro etc. their similarity to grains hardly strikes us, yet tubers and grains are the main source of inexpensive energy in the plant kingdom.
Some brown tubers contain decent amounts of Vitamin C and the white & yellow varieties have beta carotene. Sweet Potatoes are nutritionally dense – rich in Vitamin A, (100% DV) Vit C and B6, but in calories and carbs they are similar to potatoes. But they are all good sources of dietary fiber. The wisdom lies in not combining tubers with starch-heavy foods like cereals (rice, wheat, corn etc.), but to enjoy them separately. While corn and potatoes, potato burgers and even aloo parathas are delicious, those double carbs and calories will add up quickly. Moderation may be the key word.
Not surprisingly, steaming has proven to release significantly better nutrients than frying.

Sweet Potato: don’t be fooled by the name, this is high nutrition
Sweet potato is a root vegetable but it’s young leaves and shoots are also edible. Rich in fibers and a range of vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and B Vitamins and Vitamin C. These orange tubers are loaded with beta carotene, so important for immunity and vision. Simply pop one or two in the oven at 180 C for 45 minutes and you have a healthy delicious treat! 
Beets contain a unique mix of antioxidants

Technically more a root vegetable than tuber, Beets originated from the Mediterannean where they were first cultivated for their leaves than the fleshy roots, Beets are packed with minerals and vitamins and most notably belatain. A powerful antioxidant, belatain also supports the body’s inflammatory and detoxification system. Prepare with minimal cooking to retain the belatain goodness; studies recommend steaming under 15mins or roasting under an hour.

Turnips: tubers that are related to healthy crucifers like broccoli
Turnips are packed with all the goodness of crucifers like broccoli or cabbage. 1 cup cooked turnip provides 12% daily value fiber, 30% Vit C, 7% potassium. That one cup helps keep the gut healthy and regular, helps lower pressure by releasing sodium from the body, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Best part is, turnips are versatile, and can be cooked in so many ways – boiled, sauteed, roasted, baked.

Taro Root: also known as Colocasia or ‘Arbi’ in Hindi
Under a tough brown outer skin is the creamy, starchy taro root with a delicate flavor. Popular in South Asia and Africa, it’s traditionally pounded into ‘meal’ or roasted or sauteed with spices. It’s a good source of fiber and complex carbs like amylose and amylopectin. Taro is also rich in potassium, iron, Vit E and antioxidants & made up of healthy resistant starch, so good for gut health.


Chinese Yam: called Shan Yao or ‘cinnamon vine’, is used in TCM
The Chinese Yam, despite it’s name, is not really a yam. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) prescribes it’s consumption for it’s amazing nutrients. It contains the compound, allantoin, that is believed to reduce the healing time of damaged tissue, by accelerating the growth of healthy tissue. Chinese Yam is also known to have anti-oxidative properties that improve kidney & liver functions, and prevent plaque build-up in arteries.