Whole Cassava root and a peeled piece

Cassava Roots

Native to Brazil, the roots of cassava are long, tapered, rough and brown in colour. They are 5 to 10 cm thick and 15 to 30 cm long. The inside material is known as flesh which is firm, homogenous and of chalk white or yellowish tint. Cassava roots are well known for their starch content and contain small amounts of phosphorous, vitamin C and calcium but are low in protein.

Read on to know more!

Product Description

Native to Brazil, the roots of cassava are long, tapered, rough and brown in colour. They are 5 to 10 cm thick and 15 to 30 cm long. The inside material is known as flesh which is firm, homogenous and of chalk white or yellowish tint. Cassava roots are well known for their starch content and contain small amounts of phosphorous, vitamin C and calcium but are low in protein.

Apart from Brazil, Cassava roots are widely grown in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer (21%) as it is one of the most drought-tolerant crops and can be grown on marginal soils with reasonable yields. Cassava roots are harvested by hands by pulling the lower part of the plant and roots out of the ground.

In India, cassava roots are widely cultivated and eaten as a staple food in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. In Assam, it is a vital source of carbs especially for natives of the hilly areas.

There are two types of cassava roots:

  • Sweet cassava roots
  • Bitter cassava roots

Both of them contain hydrocyanic acid, which causes cyanide poisoning. Cooking the root thoroughly removes the poison. They are never eaten raw, as it contains enough acid to fatally poison the body.

The native people developed a method of removing poisonous acid from the bitter cassava to make the bread and flour. It was a complicated process of peeling, washing, grating, and pressing. The pressing removes the poisonous liquid. When the pulp was separated from the juice, it was dried in the sun. After drying they were used as flour and bread which were wrapped in the banana leaves and stored. The poisonous liquid was also used to spike their hunting spears and arrows.

 

When considering to food calories produced per unit of land and time, cassava roots have proven to be very productive. They can produce250 kcal/hectare/day on an average. They give the 3rd highest yield of carbs per cultivated area after sugarcane and sugar beets.

Cassava roots are used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages, medicines, cuisines, biofuel, animal feed, etc. They are very versatile when it comes to eating. They can be baked, boiled, steamed, fried, grilled or mashed.

The fibre content of cassava roots is quite beneficial for the human health. It is useful in preventing heart problems, diabetes, cancers, etc. It is good for the skin too!

Selection: Choose firm roots with no soft spots with complete ends.

Storage: Store cassava roots in a cool and dark place for up to seven days or if peeled, refrigerate it by covering it with water for four days.

Cassava root, raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 160 Kcal 8%
Carbohydrates 38.06 g 29%
Protein 1.36 g 2.5%
Total Fat 0.28 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g 4%
Vitamins
Folates 27 µg 7%
Niacin 0.854 mg 5%
Pyridoxine 0.088 mg 7%
Riboflavin 0.048 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.087 mg 7%
Vitamin A 13 IU <1%
Vitamin C 20.6 mg 34%
Vitamin E 0.19 mg 1%
Vitamin K 1.9 µg 1.5%
Electrolytes
Sodium 14 mg 1%
Potassium 271 mg 6%
Minerals
Calcium 16 mg 1.6%
Iron 0.27 mg 3%
Magnesium 21 mg 5%
Manganese 0.383 mg 1.5%
Phosphorus 27 µg 4%
Zinc 0.34 mg 3%

 

Source: https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cassava.html

  • The high fibre content in cassava roots helps you to stay full for longer and prevents binge eating, thus helping you to lose weight.
  • Fibres are not soluble in water which helps in absorption of toxins which enters your intestines, thus improving digestive health.
  • 100 grams of cassava roots contain 38 gm of carbs and about 160 kcal which makes it an excellent source of energy.
  • Protein in cassava roots helps the body to protect and repair tissues.
  • Cassava roots lower bad cholesterol levels with the help of fibres present in them, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases.
  • The fibre in cassava helps in slowing down the rate of sugar absorption which is a good news for people who are suffering from diabetes.
  • Cassava roots contain antioxidants which prevent free radicals to enter the body and promote cancer.
  • Cassava also helps in hydrating your skin and makes it smooth and soft. Prepare a mask by taking cassava plant roots and mixing it with some honey or olive oil. You can also combine it with a fruit.

 

Sources:

https://drhealthbenefits.com/food-bevarages/staple-food/benefits-of-cassava

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-cassava-on-your-skin-hair-and-health/#gref

  • Cassava roots contain hydrocyanic acid, which causes cyanide poisoning if not cooked properly. Thus they can fatally poison the body.
  • It is not recommended to add them to the regular diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding as it can harm the baby by affecting the thyroid functioning.

 

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1473-cassava.aspx?activeingredientid=1473&activeingredientname=cassava

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cassava#section7

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