How to safely eat cassava and its many health benefits

How to safely eat cassava and its many health benefits 

If you've ever had tapioca pudding,  you've probably eaten the delicious root vegetable known as cassava. Popular in South America and the Caribbean for centuries, cassava is receiving increasing attention in the healthy food world for its nutritional value and many uses. Although this root has many health benefits, such as improving gut health and being a source of potassium and fiber, it can be dangerous if not cooked properly.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of cassava and how to cook it. and one should avoid it altogether, according to two nutritionists.
 What is cassava?

Also known as yuca, mandioca or msnioc, cassava is a shrub native to South America that is harvested for its starchy roots that are used as a source of carbohydrates in food. It looks like a sweet potato or yam with a skin and has a light, neutral, starchy taste. Today, cassava grows in tropical and subtropical areas, including Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean, West Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Note:Although cassava is edible when cooked, it contains the harmful chemical cyanide when fresh or improperly cooked. Never consume cassava raw.

Nutritional benefits of cassava
There are many health benefits of cassava root that are beneficially to gut health and increase overall energy.

 Good source of potassium and fiber

Cassava contains “potassium and dietary fiber which is important for digestive health, providing health benefits. » The skin is easy to digest and can help with constipation and inflammation of the intestines. It is also suggested that cassava fiber can help prevent sugar cravings.


 Rich in Carbohydrates
If you need a carb boost, consider cassava over other options like pasta or bread. This can be beneficial for people who exercise a lot.  Cassava does not count as carbohydrate and work well for food.

Have vitamins

Cassava is an excellent source of vitamin C and many B vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. Like other tuber vegetables, cassava is rich in resistant starch that helps promote good bacteria in the gut and maintain blood sugar levels.

How to cook with Cassava  

Cassava can be used in many of the same ways as a potato - which means that culinary uses are endless. Recently, cassava products, such as arrowroot flour and tapioca starch, have gained popularity as good gluten-free flours for baking because of their delicious taste. Cassava flour is a great gluten-free option for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or those who want to eliminate grains.

Besides flour, you can find other delicious cassava products in the market, such as spaghetti, tortillas or chips. Improper preparation or consumption of cassava can be fatal, so learning how to prepare and cook the root is very important. When properly cooked, cassava is a great source of energy, and it is good to eat it whole. 

Here's how to prepare cassava safely:

Step 1: Soak and peel

It's important to peel, and cook to remove toxins. Soak the cassava in water for several hours and up to two days before preparing the cassava for consumption. When you are ready, wash and cut the cassava until all the skin is removed.

Step 2: Boil 

Next, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the cassava until fork tender or 20 to 30 minutes. Don't reuse boiled water. who adds that boiling cassava helps retain the root's nutritional properties, while over-processing the vegetable (such as when making tapioca) can deplete some of its nutrients.

Step 3: Choose the cooking method

Cassava can be consumed in several ways. You can bake it, boil it, roast it, grill it, steam it or fry it. Whichever method you choose, make sure that it is cooked thoroughly and that no part is left out.


Who should avoid cassava?

Consumption of raw cassava can lead to health risks for the presence of Cyanogenic Glycossides, which can release the cynide when consumed which is toxic to human.

Cyanide'spoison may result in many symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort/pain, and difficult to breathe. The largest Cyanide's ingestion may lead to seizures, loss of consciousness and even death. The degree of symptoms can vary depending on the amount of cyanide ingested and the individual's reaction to the poison.

 Some people should ingest cassava in moderation or even avoid them altogether. 

Infant and small children
Because of their small size and growing digestive system, babies and children should not eat cassava root in any form. It is not the main source of food they eat every day. 

Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women
Pregnant and/or lactating women pass whatever they eat on to the fetus, so it is considered unsafe to eat cassavas during pregnancy.

People with kidney problems

Cassava is high in potassium, which can be a problem for people with kidney problems or people who eat a low-potassium diet, because high potassium can cause more problems with the kidneys.

Those with diabetics

 Diabetics should watch their carbohydrate intake because cassava is high in carbohydrates, which can affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you should consult your doctor and eat cassava in moderation.

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