Why You Should Be Eating Cassava

If you have no idea what cassava is, then you’re probably not alone. It’s a tuberous plant that grows down in South America in tropical regions. When cooked improperly or eaten raw, it can release dangerous amounts of concentrated cyanogenic glycosides (or cyanide) into the body. This can result in damage to thyroid glands, impaired nerve function, organ failure, paralysis, and death. But guess what: we think you should be eating cassava anyway. Here’s why!

  1. First and foremost, you might know cassava by another name. It’s often called mandioca, Brazilian arrowroot, tapioca, aipim, balinghoy, kamoteng kahoy, yuca, mogo, and singkong.
  2. Cassava is a good source of fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. The root is low in protein, but more can be found in the leaves.
  3. If you manage to find cassava at your local market or grocery store, then most likely it’s been coated in a wax to preserve its quality and taste. Cassava spoils very quickly once harvested, and can go bad after only a few days.
  4. Cassava lovers most often eat the underground tubules, but the plant’s large green leaves can also be enjoyed when cooked properly.
  5. Most of the dangerous toxins in cassava are present in larger quantities in the thick outer skin. Peeling cassava will reduce or eliminate the chance of cyanide poisoning.
  6. When harvested at the right time, the cassava interior is white. If it’s black, then you’ve got a bad batch and it should be tossed.
  7. Cassava was once a crop spread over about 1,000 acres of Florida countryside in the 1980s. Since then, the area for which the crop is grown has diminished to only about 30 acres. Because cassava nutritional properties are becoming more well known, we might see a resurgence soon enough.
  8. Tapioca flour is derived from a ground-up cassava root. This is an ingredient in many gluten-free recipes because it acts as a great substitute for wheat-based flour products.
  9. Bill Gates of Microsoft fame and fortune and his wife, Melinda, are known investors for the enhancement of cassava nutritional properties in order to help developing nations whose residents are starving and malnourished.
  10. Cassava is a popular ingredient in gourmet meals around the world. Africans dry out cassava, and then fry it alongside onions, tomatoes, and eggs to create Gari Foto. Indians use it in Chilli Mogo and Pili Pili Mogo, two vegetable curry meals.

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