Cassava is a woody shrub that belongs to the spurge family Euphobiaceae. With the scientific name Manihot esculenta, it originates from South America. Its root is a great source of carbohydrates, making it the third largest source of the macronutrient, following maize and rice. As a food it has several other health benefits.
Cassava is a great source of energy. According to Nutrition and You, cassava contains carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. As per the publication, the shrub contains calories nearly two times than that of potatoes. It is added that 100-gram cassava root contains 160 calories and their value is extracted from sucrose, which is over 69 percent of total sugar content. It also has amylase, which accounts for 16 to 17 percent. In terms of protein and fats, cassava contains low amounts when compared to pulses and cereals.
Fiber and Digestion
Aside from the macronutrients carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, cassava also contains fiber. According to Live Strong, fiber consumption is associated to a number of health benefits, which includes reduced blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels, blood sugar regulation, and decreased risk of obesity. It is added that a cup of cassava, which is approximately half of a root, elevates fiber intake by 3.7 grams. Fiber also acts as sweep in the gastrointestinal tract, helping the body get rid of harmful substances like free radicals, which are linked to the development of cancer. In addition, fiber facilitates proper peristalsis, digestive action, and metabolism, which prevents a person from becoming overweight or obese. This way, eating cassava prevents the risk of cardiovascular disease development.
Cassava does not have gluten. According to Healthy Eating, gluten is an allergenic protein, which makes cassava a great alternative for barley, oats, wheat, and rye. As per the publication, cassava is great for people who are diagnosed with celiac disease and other people who are allergic to gluten-containing food sources. Gluten is used in baking as it helps bread and cakes to expand in the process. But when baking using cassava, guar and xanthan gum can be used as substitute. In addition to absence of gluten, cassava bread does not have added preservatives, as it is preserved through sun drying. Hence, cassava can be the best choice for people who are prefer eating naturally preserved food.\
Cassava fights cancer. According to Very Well, cassava contains the compound linamarin, which has cancer-fighting properties. As per the publication, a 2002 study from the Journal of Gene Medicine revealed that linamarin helped destroy tumors in rat subjects. A limitation in the results, however, is lacking cancer-fighting evidences that come from other researches.
Cassava can be turned into various dishes and one of them is Cassava Cake. According to All Recipes, the ingredients include two cups of grated yucca, two eggs (beaten), 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, and 14-ounce can of coconut milk.
To prepare, the oven is preheat to 175 degrees Celsius. Then, the yucca, eggs, and milk are mixed together in a bowl until they become thoroughly combined. After that, they are poured into a baking dish. Next, the ingredients are baked in the preheated oven for one hour. Once done, the oven’s broiler is switched on and baked under the broiler until the top of the cake is browned. Finally, the dish is placed in the refrigerator for it to cool completely.
Overall, cassava is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Its inclusion to the diet provides adequate amounts of carbohydrates and promotes the health and well-being of a person or a family.