What is Cassava?
Cassava, otherwise known as yuca, manioc, mandioca, casabe or tapioca, is a long, starchy-root or tuber, rich in vitamins and nutrients.
It originates from tropical and subtropical areas such as Latino America, Africa and Asia, and it is one of the most popular plants in the world. The roots and the leaves of the cassava plant are the nutritional parts of the cassava.
Cassava is brown and fibrous on the outside and white on the inside. The taste is described to resemble a potato.
It can be eaten in many forms such as cassava chips, cassava pasta, cassava pretzels and many more, so you’ll never get bored of it.
Why is Cassava so Popular?
Besides its decadent taste and versatility, cassava offers many health benefits.
Here are 14 reasons why you should include cassava in your daily diet!
1. Cassava is Gluten-Free, Grain-free and Nut-free!
If you suffer from Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), have nut allergies, follow an Autoimmune-Protocol Diet (AIP), the Paleo diet or the Whole30 diet, cassava is here to save the day. Cassava can give you all the pleasure of eating your favourite carbohydrate foods without any of the symptoms or worries of ruining your diet.
2. Cassava Promotes a Healthy Gut
Cassava is not your typical carbohydrate. It contains resistant starch which is not absorbed by the small intestine, allowing it to reach the colon and create an environment where healthy bacteria can flourish.
3. Cassava is Diabetic friendly
Fast-digesting carbohydrates are a diabetic’s nightmare due to its tendency to quickly breakdown into sugar, causing poor glycemic control and weight gain. Unlike other carbs, cassava is a slow-digesting carbohydrate which can help you control your blood sugar and prevent weight gain. It is also high in magnesium which can aid in reducing insulin resistance.
4. Cassava can Help You keep a Healthy Heart & a Healthy Body
Cassava is low in fat compared to maize, sorghum and most cereals. Too much fat consumption can lead to clogged arteries and heart problems. Excessive fat intake can also promote obesity, which can lead to other diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, cassava is low in sodium which can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Cassava is also high in potassium, magnesium and copper, which also aid in the maintenance of a healthy blood pressure level, reduce water retention and overall risk of heart disease.
5. Cassava will Give You lots of Energy
Cassava is an energy-dense food. Cassava products, such as cassava flours, are an excellent alternative for those that want to feel energized while avoiding other starches. It is rich in carbohydrates and it also contains high levels of Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and Vitamin B3 (niacin) which helps your body burn up your food for energy.
6. Cassava Can Alleviate Constipation
Cassava is rich in fibre; it has more fibre than most legumes and leafy legumes. Dietary fibre can help regulate the gut and prevent constipation.
7. Cassava can Help You Build Muscles
Cassava is high in the amino acid Leucine. Leucine is arguably the most important branch chain amino acid (BCAA) as it promotes muscle building. Sufficient levels of Leucine are needed for the body to be able to build muscles. Besides leucine, it also contains other amino acids such as arginine, glutamic acid, lysine and aspartic acid which are also involved in building muscle, and other body and brain functions.
8. Cassava can Help Keep Your Bones Healthy
Cassava has more calcium than other staple crops, and just as much calcium as broccoli. Calcium is an essential part of your diet as it promotes bone health, and helps your muscles and nerves to work properly. Additionally, compared to many legumes, cassava contains high levels of manganese. Manganese also helps keep our bones healthy and has antioxidant properties.
9. Cassava can Help Keep Your Skin and Body Healthy
Cassava is rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Cassava contains just as much or more vitamin C than most legumes, leafy legumes, cereals, eggs, milk and cheese. It is also a better source of vitamin C than most starches.
Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen and heal wounds. Collagen helps to maintain healthy skin, reduce wrinkles and dryness. Additionally, cassava also contains high levels of Vitamin B3 (niacin), which promotes healthy skin. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help you fight diseases and keep your immune system strong.
10. Cassava Helps Your Body to Make Healthy Cells
Cassava is rich in zinc. Our bodies need zinc to make healthy cells, for growth and to maintain a healthy immune system. It may even participate in reducing inflammation.
11. Cassava can Aid with Weight Loss
Cassava products, such as cassava flour, are lower in calories than other gluten-free and nut-based products. Cassava is also high in fibre which will allow you to stay fuller longer. Consuming a lower calorie product will keep you on track towards your weight loss goals.
12. Eating Cassava Helps Support Farmers
Cassava is mainly grown by farmers in third world countries. These farmers rely on exporting cassava to generate a liveable income.
13. Cassava flour is Better for Baking
In contrast to other nut flours and coconut flours, cassava flour has a very neutral taste. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about adding other ingredients to hide the flavour of the flour. You’ll get all the benefits without any changes in taste.
14. Cassava is Versatile
Last but now least, cassava can be eaten in many different ways including bagels, chips, tacos, tortillas, wraps, pasta, and all sorts of desserts and snacks! However, cassava can not be eaten raw and must be processed to make it safe to eat.
Siete Dippable Round Grain-Free Tortilla Chips are perfect for nachos or chips and salsa.
Bob’s Red Mill Cassava Flour is perfect to bake treats and impress your guests.
Jovial Organic Grain-Free Cassava Elbows are a key ingredient for the perfect mac and cheese.
Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars can cure your sweet tooth.
Siete Grain Free Taco Shells will have you making every night, taco night.