Raw cassava contains natural forms of cyanide, so it should always be cooked correctly.
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The yucca is a tuber, an edible root of the yucca bush. This starchy root has a shape similar to sweet potatoes and a nutty flavor. Yucca is also known as cassava, casava and guacamota. It is a versatile food that provides nutrients and energy.
Cassava has been cultivated in South America for a long time. The people who lived along the banks of the Amazon River in South America consumed yucca hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus arrived on the continent. The FAO points out that cassava has been a staple food for millions of farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Cassava is cooked in a similar way to starchy vegetables, such as potatoes; otherwise, the flour to make bread and other suitable preparations for people with gluten intolerance. From cassava, tapioca is also obtained.
5 health benefits of cassava
1. Provides nutrients
Cassava provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and small amounts of protein. It’s a good one source of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.
According to data from Food Data Central, 1 cup of raw cassava provides:
- calories: 330
- protein: 2.8 grams (g)
- carbohydrates: 78.4 g
- fiber: 3.7 g
- calcium: 33.0 milligrams (mg)
- magnesium: 43.0 mg
- potassium: 558.0 mg
- vitamin C: 42.4 mg
- thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin
2. Provides energy
Cassava is a source of resistant starch. It is a complex carbohydrate that turns into energy used for support body functions and physical activity.
3. Supports digestive health
Cassava starch can improve gut health by helping nourish beneficial gut bacteria. Medical News Today explains that resistant starches remain relatively unchanged as they pass through the digestive tract.
If you microbiota in the intestine is balanced, your immune system it also benefits.
4. Can help control blood glucose
Healthline shares that several studies show the resistant starch can improve insulin sensitivity and it is also very effective for reduce blood sugar levels after meals.
This means that eating moderate amounts of cassava root can help prevent blood spikes after eating.
5. Provides antioxidants
In addition to vitamin C, WebMD notes that cassava contains other antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, which fight free radicals, which can damage cells and potentially cause cancer.
Cyanide in cassava
The raw cassava contains chemicals known as cyanogenic glycosides, which can turn to cyanide if not prepared carefully.
People should avoid eating it raw and it is vital to prepare it correctly to obtain nutritional benefits and consume it safely.
There are sweet variety cassava and bitter variety. The largest amount of poisonous substances is found in bitter yucca. Neither the sweet nor the bitter variety should be eaten raw.
It is recommended peel the root, make furrows with a fork, cut it in small pieces to improve even cooking and boil or bake it until tender and very well cooked; cassava can also be roast and fry.
The tapioca pearls and the cassava chips prefabricated they are also safe to consume. While cassava contains several nutrients, some processing methods significantly reduce its nutritional value by destroying vitamins and minerals.
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