Cassava: properties, benefits and nutritional value

Cassava is the most widely used tuber in South American cuisine. Originally from Brazil and Paraguay, it has spread throughout the subcontinent to become an ingredient present in the most popular dishes of different countries. Thus, with a similar appearance to the potato, it is a source of energy and nutrients.

Also known as cassava, the recent expansion of this tuber has made it possible to find it more and more frequently in the Spanish markets. When cooking it, keep in mind that it has a higher starch content than the potato, however, its preparation is similar to that of the latter. It can be boiled, grilled or baked.

Cassava is an energetic food, although its protein content is limited. Likewise, the contribution in fat is also minimal, so it can be consumed by people with overweight problems. In addition, as happens with potatoes, it generates a feeling of satiety, so we eat less.

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The calcium content of cassava, together with the contribution of vitamin K, helps maintain healthy bones and prevents the presence of osteoporosis. Likewise, vitamin B6 promotes skin and hair care.

It also contains iron, which helps prevent the presence of anemia, although it is a low content.

The fiber content helps fight constipation and regulates intestinal transit.

What is Yucca? Properties and health benefits

Scientific name: Manihot esculenta

Category: Species

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Species: Manihot esculenta; Crantz

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Malpighiales

Class: Magnoliopsida

There are two varieties of yucca, one is known as sweet and the other is bitter. Both are fit for consumption. However, the bitter requires a special preparation because it has a contribution of cyanide that cannot be digested and can cause serious stomach problems.

In relation to sweet cassava; as it is also known, it is very similar to the sweet potato. In other words, it has nutritional values that make it ideal for athletes, children in the development stage and as an ally for dieting.

It is grown in hot and humid conditions, it resists droughts and its cultivation is relatively easy and very cheap.

In reality, cassava is a root, which is consumed as if it were a potato. It is composed of 90% starch, few fats and proteins.

It is a food that can combat great famines, which occur in scenarios of severe drought.

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Properties of Cassava (Manihot esculenta)

  • It has a contribution of vitamin C and complex B
  • It has fiber that reduces appetite
  • Benefits the digestive system
  • combat constipation
  • It provides gluten-free starch, it is a great ally for celiacs
  • It is rich in vitamins C, K, B1, B2 and B5
  • It has a contribution of magnesium, calcium and potassium
  • Its low fat content makes it ideal for overweight patients
  • It is an ideal energy food for athletes

Health Benefits of Cassava

Cassava has high nutritional values, yet it is not a complete food. It will be necessary to combine it with other foods to add nutrients lacking in this vegetable. Even so, its consumption brings health benefits.

Improves digestive health

The consumption of cassava as a substitute for processed flour allows you to visit the bathroom more often. This is because cassava has antioxidant properties, it also has a proportion of water that benefits intestinal transit, so it fights constipation.

Helps maintain body weight

Cassava has carbohydrates that are absorbed slowly, it also has a percentage of fiber that reduces appetite. If consumed with low-calorie foods, it can help you lose weight. In fact, this vegetable does not contain fat.

On the other hand, thanks to its starch content, if it is combined with fatty foods or with a high percentage of protein, it can contribute to weight gain. But on a general level, we can say that it is a star food for those who want to maintain their body weight.

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Versatility in the kitchen

Manioc or tapioca has a mild flavor that makes it possible to add it to a wide variety of dishes. In addition, you can make pizzas, bread, tortillas, and even "chips". The versatility in gastronomy is due precisely to its mild flavor.

This allows that its consumption does not bore, rather, it is a great ally to prepare various dishes.

It is rich in vitamins and minerals

Its contribution of vitamins of group B, C and K, as well as nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, make it very beneficial for the health of bones, skin, blood coagulation, etc.

Although a complete diet must include the addition of other foods, we can highlight that cassava provides a good amount of natural carbohydrates, very healthy.

How should you consume Cassava (Manihot esculenta)?

Cassava should be consumed cooked, either parboiled, fried, baked or grilled, never raw. Next, we will briefly explain the most common forms of consumption:

Boiled. You must remove the shell from the yucca. Once peeled, submerge in a pot with boiling water and a little salt for 10 to 20 minutes. You can prick with a cutlery to check that it is smooth, drain. You can consume it as it is or crushed in the form of a puree.

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Dough. You can make a yuca dough by boiling it but only 15 minutes, drain very well and let cool. With the help of a food processor, mash the yucca. Clever! You can knead and make bread, pizzas, buns, etc.

Fried. If you want to try yucca chips, you must peel it, without boiling it, cut into slices or very thin strips. Place in hot oil, done! Accompany it with the sauce of your choice.

Cassava Contraindications

Cassava is nutritious, inexpensive and delicious. It is excellent for those with low resources. It should always be eaten cooked. The reason for this is that this vegetable contains cyanide which is dissolved after cooking.

Now, special care must be taken with bitter cassava. This contains toxic components; levels of cyanide or hydrocyanic acid that requires a more extensive process than simple cooking. Bitter yucca can be lethal.

Sweet and bitter cassava are very similar, therefore, if after 20 minutes of cooking it is hard or tastes bad, it should not be consumed.