Cassava Health Benefits
Cassava is a type tropical root vegetable which can be used together with potatoes and other root vegetables for cooking purposes. Another usage of it is to ground it into cassava flour which is a type of starch for kitchens. Usually, dry cassava flour can be purchased from the local grocery store. Fresh cassava roots are not easily to be seen because it will go bad very quickly without special storage. In addition to the edible roots, the leaves of this vegetable can be used as food as well.
Although it can be used as a type of food for many people, the nutritional value of cassava roots is relatively low compared with other green vegetables. In fact, the leaves of this plant contains more protein and nutrients than its roots. Raw cassava roots have a high level of toxicity because it contains cyanide. Therefore you need to do a careful cleaning and handling before putting them on the dinner table. Unlike most leafy plants which need a comfortable environment, cassava plants can survive very well in poor soil.
There are two types of cassava, sweet ones and bitter ones. Bitter cassavas contain a high amount of cyanide content and they must be crushed and cleaned thoroughly until all cyanide are totally removed at the first place. Once the toxin has been removed, you can then grind cassava root into flour or use them to make all kinds of dishes. On the other hands, sweet cassavas contain a low level of cyanide and you can simply eat them as other traditional root vegetables.
Dry cassava powder can be used to as a seasoning part for making dishes such as soup and stew. This kind of starchy vegetable can also be used as a thickener which can make dishes look more thick and stimulate people’s appetite. People who consume lots of cassavas are easily to get nutritional deficiencies, and the toxins on the roots can also increase the risk of diseases of the nervous system. In addition to being a food for human, cassava roots are also used as animal health food in many countries.
Image provided By Loco085 msg (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
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