Yucca Root Benefits Protects Against Oxidative Stress Supports Immune Function Promotes Skin Health Relieves Arthritis Pain Has a Low Glycemic Index 1. Protects Against Oxidative Stress Yucca is high in antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that neutralize free radicals to prevent oxidative stress and damage to your cells. Research suggests that antioxidants play a central role in overall health and may be protective against many chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. (2) Yucca root also contains a concentrated dose of both vitamin C and manganese, two micronutrients that can also help minimize oxidative stress. A study published by the Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening National Cancer Center, for example, showed that supplementing with vitamin C for five years significantly reduced oxidative stress and free radical formation. (3) Another in vitro study out of Italy found that manganese was significantly more effective than several other nutrients at scavenging free radicals and preventing oxidative stress. (4) 2. Supports Immune Function There’s no doubt that maintaining a strong immune system is key to overall health. Your immune system is responsible for warding off foreign invaders and keeping harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi out of the body to protect against illness and infection. Loaded with beneficial antioxidants and vitamin C, adding yucca into your diet is a simple way to give your immune system a healthy boost. In fact, one study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism showed that getting enough vitamin C was able to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory infections like the common cold. It’s also been shown to improve outcomes for conditions like pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea infections. (5) Antioxidants, on the other hand, help fight free radicals and protect against oxidative stress to prevent damage to your immune cells. (6) 3. Promotes Skin Health Yucca root is a common ingredient found in many natural skin care routines. The peel can be used to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells while the roots can be mixed with honey or olive oil and applied as a skin mask to brighten the complexion. Even consuming yucca root in your favorite recipes can help keep your skin glowing. It’s packed with vitamin C, a nutrient involved in the synthesis of collagen that is believed to have anti-aging properties. Vitamin C can also protect against sun damage by scavenging harmful free radicals and has even been shown to suppress melanin production to aid in the prevention of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. (7) 4. Relieves Arthritis Symptoms Arthritis is a condition characterized by painful swelling and stiffness in the joints. Thanks to its rich content of both antioxidants and manganese, incorporating yucca root into your diet may be especially useful in providing relief from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Manganese is often recommended as a natural remedy for arthritis, and one study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology even showed that manganese supplementation was associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis in older women. (8) Similarly, the antioxidants in yucca root may also be especially beneficial in alleviating inflammation and reducing arthritis symptoms, with one study from India reporting that people with rheumatoid arthritis had significantly lower serum concentrations of antioxidants than those without arthritis. (9) 5. Has a Low Glycemic Index The glycemic index is a measure of how much a certain food can raise your blood sugar levels. Foods with a high glycemic index can shoot up blood sugar levels rapidly, which can lead to diabetes symptoms like fatigue and unintentional weight loss. Compared to many other starches, yucca has a fairly low glycemic index of just 46. Conversely, boiled potatoes have a glycemic index of 78, and white rice has a glycemic index of 73. (10) For this reason, yucca is often considered a “good carb” and may be a better alternative to many other carbohydrates when it comes to blood sugar control. Of course, keep in mind that yucca is still high in carbohydrates. If you have diabetes or are on a carb-controlled diet, it’s best to include this starchy vegetable only in moderation and pair it with plenty of healthy fats and proteins to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.