Cassava is a starchy and nutty-flavored root vegetable or rather tuber that is a staple ingredient of several diets all over the world. Cassava is rich in nutrients and is a major source of carbohydrates and calories. Being a nutrient-rich vegetable, Cassava also offers several health benefits. Let us talk about some of the health benefits of cassava or cassava flour.
A Brief Note on Cassava & Cassava Flour:
Cassava, often called as Yuca in the United States of America, is a nutty-flavored root vegetable that is native to South America(1). Cassava may even be referred to as Brazilian arrowroot or manioc. Cassava can be eaten whole or grounded into flour called cassava flour so as to prepare bread and crackers. It must, however, be noted that cassava must always be consumed in limited or moderate amounts and only after proper cooking of it.
There are two types of cassava plants; the bitter cassava and the sweet cassava(2). Bitter cassava contain high amount of cyanide, while the sweet cassava contains only very low levels of cyanide in it(3).
Nutritional Facts of Cassava or Cassava Flour:
Cassava or the cassava flour contains a decent amount of nutrients in it, but the nutrient amount is comparatively lower than other similar foods. One cup of raw cassava has 330 calories, only 1 g of total fat, 0% cholesterol, 29 g of sodium, dietary fiber makes up to 4 g in it, 78 g of carbohydrates found, 4 g of sugar and 3 g of protein in it.
Cassava is known to contain vitamins, such as the vitamins of vitamin B complex, vitamin C and vitamin K. Cassava or cassava flour is gluten-free and is good for patients with celiac disease. Apart from this, Cassava also contains minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and manganese.
Health Benefits of Cassava or Cassava Flour:
Cassava or cassava flour contain calories, fat, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals, such as iron, copper, magnesium along with several vitamins in it. All these make Cassava a great food for your health, mind and body, and even for your skin and hair health. So, let us take a look of some of the health benefits of cassava or cassava flour.
Weight Loss Benefits of Cassava:
One of the best health benefits of cassava or cassava flour is that it helps in losing weight. It is found that the high fiber content found in cassava or cassava flour helps you feel full for a long time and this in turn prevents you from binge eating(4). So, if you are on a weight loss mission, then Cassava is one food that must be added to your diet.
Cassava is Beneficial For Eyes(6):
Cassava is also beneficial for your eyes. Being loaded with vitamin A and several compounds like Bakarotennya, cassava or cassava flour improves your eye health and also prevents blindness or poor eyesight in future. So, if you care about your eyes, then do add Cassava to your regular diet.
Cassava is Beneficial in Treating Headache(6):
Many of us suffer from headaches from time to time, and at times the headache even becomes unbearable. However, this headache can be treated with cassava or cassava flour. All you need to do is take about 60 g of Cassava flour and soak it well in water for about 2 hours and prepare a fresh cassava juice out of it and drink the Cassava juice twice in a day to see how the killer headaches banishes.
Cancer Prevention Benefits of Cassava(5, 6):
Among all the health benefits of cassava or cassava flour, is its benefit in preventing cancer. The vitamin B17 present in Cassava helps in stimulating the RBC content in blood, the loss of which usually leads to cancer. If you are willing to safeguard yourself from this fatal disease, which is cancer, try adding cassava or cassava flour to your daily diet.
Cassava Treats Diarrhea(6):
This is yet another wonderful health benefit of cassava or cassava flour, which is its benefit in treating diarrhea. You can boil several pieces of cassava in water and wait for it to come down to the room temperature. You can drink the Cassava liquid twice in a day to experience it anti-diarrheal benefits.
Cassava Or Cassava Flour is Beneficial In Treating Rheumatic Diseases(6):
Cassava or cassava flour is also known to be beneficial in treating rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic disease is the disease that pertains to the joints and the muscles. Arthritis, osteoporosis, lupus and spondylitis are some of the examples of rheumatic diseases. It is known that a diet that is rich in magnesium, results in lowering the levels of blood pressure that in turn reduces the chance of getting rheumatic diseases all throughout your life.
Cassava or cassava flour contains fair amount of magnesium in it. Cassava supplies more than one third of the daily requirement of magnesium per serving. So, Cassava can really make a natural rheumatic medicine. You can take some leaves of cassava, few lemongrasses and salt along with about 15 g of ginger and boil them all in one liter of water until the water volume reduces to about 400 cc. This Cassava liquid is to be taken every morning so as to keep rheumatic diseases away.
Cassava Treats Fever(6):
Cassava, especially the leaves of cassava, is known to treat fever. For making this natural medicine for fever, you need to take the cassava root and the leaves and boil them in one liter of water without covering it until the volume of Cassava liquid reduces to half of it and then allow it to cool before drinking it.
Wound Healing Benefits of Cassava:
Cassava is also known to be a great source for healing wounds and injuries. Cassava contains a lot of nutrients that are responsible for quick healing of wounds. You need to make a paste by crushing cassava and mixing it well with a little amount of aloe vera gel and apply the paste on the injured site or on the wounds.
Cassava Eliminates Worms:
Cassava or cassava flour can also be used to eliminate worms causing infections in the gastrointestinal tracts. You can purchase cassava supplements from pharmacies to help eliminate worms.
Cassava Fights Kwashiorkor:
There are several other health benefits of cassava or cassava flour. One of them is its benefit in fighting against kwashiorkor. The lysine content found in Cassava makes it great for fighting against conditions like Kwashiorkor and other conditions of protein deficiency.
However, you must use properly washed Cassava and cook it properly to keep away from side effects like cyanide poisoning and loss of eyesight.
Cassava or Cassava Flour helps Develop Appetite(6):
Cassava or cassava flour contains a lot of health benefits, one among which is appetite restoration. For this, you need to prepare a concoction of cassava leaves along with ginger and drink it regularly in the morning after you wake up.
Cassava Or Cassava Flour Strengthens Immunity Of The Body:
Cassava is also known to strengthen your body’s immunity. This is because of the vitamin C and folate content present in Cassava. The vitamin C content present in cassava assists the immune system in proper functioning by attacking the nucleus of bacteria and virus and rendering them dead. The vitamin C is also beneficial in maintaining bone health. Folate content helps in producing cells in the body and thus aids in preparing the genetic material for life and also preventing mutations of DNA.
Cassava Or Cassava Flour Enhances Energy:
Being rich is carbohydrate content, cassava or cassava flour helps in enhancing energy. In addition, your brain begins to work more efficiently when cassava or cassava flour is added to your daily meals. Each serving of Cassava contains 80% of carbohydrates and this is more than enough for the daily requirement of carbohydrates.
Cassava Or Cassava Flour Is Good For Nerve Health:
According to some experts, cassava flour is known to be beneficial for a balanced nervous system. Apart from this, cassava or cassava flour also helps in fighting anxiety and stress and even provides the required support for your overall health and well being.
Benefits in Proper Digestion(6):
One more health benefit of cassava or cassava flour is that it aids in proper digestion. Being rich in fiber, which are not water soluble, Cassava assists in the proper absorption of toxins entering the intestines and this way it enhances the digestive health and benefits in proper digestion.
Cassava Maintains Healthy Muscles:
Cassava or cassava flour is greatly known to build strong and lean muscles. The protein content present in Cassava maintains the muscle health and nourishes the body tissues. One serving of Cassava contains 2 g of protein, which is quite enough to help you meet your daily protein requirements.
Cassava Benefits in Lowering Blood Pressure:
One more excellent health benefit of cassava or cassava flour is that it significantly reduces blood pressure. This is because of the rich dietary fiber present in Cassava. Every cup of the Cassava flour increases the fiber intake by about 4 g. This contributes towards the ideal intake of fiber significantly that is recommended for women on a daily basis.
Cassava Makes You Less Prone To Diseases:
Cassava or cassava flour also makes you less prone to several diseases, such as osteoporosis. This happens because of the essential mineral contents present in Cassava. Copper and magnesium are two most important minerals found in cassava or cassava flour, which helps in promoting your health and overall well being.
Skin Health Benefits of Cassava:
Below are some of the skin health benefits of cassava or cassava flour.
Cassava Smoothens & Brightens Skin Complexion:
One of the finest skin health benefits of cassava or cassava flour is that it smoothens and brightens your skin complexion. Cassava peel is used as a skin exfoliator. You can prepare a fresh paste out of the peels of cassava and make use of it as a scrub. Scrubbing your face or skin three times in a week with the Cassava paste offers you the desired results.
Cassava Hydrates Your Skin:
Cassava is known to hydrate your skin tone and also make it soft and smooth. You need to prepare the mask of cassava at home by taking the Cassava roots and some honey or olive oil along with a few drops of lemon.
Cassava Is Beneficial In Removing Scars & Dark Spots:
Cassava can also be used for removing scars and dark spots from skin and face. Cassava starch water may help in healing scars and wounds when applied gently over the affected skin area, at least twice in a day.
Cassava Works As A Great Face Mask:
Cassava plants act as a great face mask. Make sure that before using the Cassava face mask; you have washed your face properly with warm water, which helps in opening up of your pores. The face mask gets absorbed easily and also improves the skin texture and even conditions the skin. Using this Cassava face mask three times in a week helps in preventing and eliminating scars and also offers a healthy glow to your skin.
Hair Health Benefits of Cassava:
Cassava or cassava flour is also known to be quite beneficial for your hair health. Using it can change the quality of your hair. Below are some of the hair health benefits of cassava or cassava flour.
Cassava Helps In Faster Growth Of Your Hair:
Cassava is also known to benefit in faster hair growth. Prepare a thick paste out of Cassava roots and leaves and apply this paste on your hair and keep it for at least one hour before rinsing it. You can see the changes in your hair in few weeks by doing this Cassava hair remedy twice a week.
Cassava Provides Appropriate Nourishment To The Hair:
Cassava plants are known to be powerhouse of proper nourishment. If you have complaints of hair getting damaged or dry, then start using Cassava hair pack and allow it to help repair the hair damage.
Hair Fall Is Controlled with Cassava:
Most women complain about hair fall problems. A quick and simple effective solution for this problem is cassava or cassava flour. It nourishes the hair right from its root to the hair tips, hydrates it and controls the falling of hair.
Safety Profile of Cassava Or Cassava Flour:
Cassava contains cyanogenic glycoside compounds like Linamarin and methyl-linamarin, which are naturally toxic. Any injury to the tuber or the Cassava root releases linamarase enzyme from its ruptures cells and this converts the linamarin into HCN or poisonous hydrocyanic acid. Thus, taking raw cassava root or improperly cooked cassava might result in cyanide poisoning and result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, stomach ache and even death.
It must also be mentioned that prolonged use of monotonous cassava diet might result in chronic illness, such as TAN or tropical ataxic neuropathy and diabetes, especially in case of rural and tribal inhabitants.
So, now we are aware that cassava is a versatile food and is an essential source of nutrient as well as energy. If you are concerned about a healthy lifestyle and an overall well being for yourself, you may try adding cassava or cassava flour to your diet. However, make sure you take it with precautions and in moderate amounts.
NOTE: If you have any health condition or in case you are pregnant, do not take cassava or cassava flour without consulting your doctor.