Malanga is a root vegetable that is popular in South America. It looks similar to a potato, except its skin is a bit hairy. The flesh varies in color and can be pink, yellow or white. You can dry malanga to make a flour that can be used instead of wheat flour, or you can peel and cook the malanga like you would a potato. Both malanga and potato contain a number of essential nutrientsA 1/3-cup serving of cooked malanga contains 70 calories, along with 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. The same serving size of boiled potato will provide you with 45 calories and 1 gram each of fiber and protein. Although the malanga contains more calories than the potato, it also contains more fiber, which is helpful for limiting your risk of digestive issues, heart disease and diabetes.The overall vitamin content of malanga and potato are very similar, although they don’t contain exactly the same vitamins. Both malanga and potato will provide you with small amounts of vitamin C and thiamine, with the potato having a higher vitamin C content. The malanga also provides you with folate and riboflavin, and the potato contains niacin and vitamin B-6. You need vitamin C for growing and repairing tissues in your body and for removing free radicals that could otherwise damage your cells. B vitamins are essential for turning the foods you eat into energy and keeping your skin and hair healthy. The malanga is more mineral-rich than the potato. The malanga and potato both contain potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, but the malanga contains more of these nutrients and also contains small amounts of calcium and iron. Potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium are all important for heart, nerve and muscle function. Potassium also limits your risk for high blood pressure. Phosphorus helps create energy from foods, and magnesium is important for your immune system. Calcium and magnesium make your bones and teeth strong, and iron is necessary for cell growth and transporting oxygen around your body. Both of these starchy vegetables are nutritious as long as they are not cooked with a lot of fat. The higher fiber content of the malanga makes it a bit lower on the glycemic index than the potato, so it will not increase your blood sugar levels as quickly. Malanga shouldn’t be eaten raw, but it is very hypoallergenic, so most people can consume it cooked without any problems.
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