Health & Nutritional Benefits Of Cassava

Dr. Purushothaman
June 2, 2024

Cassava is a healthy root vegetable that is loved for its nutty flavour. This root vegetable is believed to have its origin in the South American forests. It has a sweet taste and is chewy. This is a staple food for people in Africa, Asia, and even the South American continent. Cassava is a staple food of the inhabitants of these regions along with other tropical root vegetables like potatoes, plantains, yam and taro. The common names of this vegetable are Manihot, manioc, mandioca, tapioca and yucca.

Cassava is mostly grown in tropical regions where there is moist, fertile soil with a lot of water. A fully grown cassava plant reaches a height of 4 m. Cut stem sections of the cassava stem are planted in the soil. The plant takes about ten months to grow. By this time, the roots grow downward to a depth of 4 feet. A fully grown cassava root has brown woody skin. The flesh is white in colour and is full of starch. It should be consumed only after cooking properly.

Health benefits of this root vegetable

  • Cassava has more calorie amounts than potatoes and is considered to be a high-calorie food that comes under starch-rich tubers and roots. 100 grams of cassava root contains around 160 calories.
  • It is a true fact that this root vegetable is low in fats and proteins compared to cereals and pulses. But it has more protein compared to plantains, potatoes and yam.
  • For people who have a gluten allergy, glad news is that cassava is free of gluten and consuming this root vegetable is completely safe.
  • Plenty of dietary proteins and vitamin K are found in the tender leaves of the cassava plant. The importance of vitamin K is known to everyone. It helps in the strengthening of bones; moreover, it is good for treating Alzheimer’s disease, as it restricts the damage of neurons in the brain.
  • Cassava also is a rich source of B-complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, folates, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid.
  • Magnesium, copper, zinc iron and manganese are the minerals found in abundance in this root.

Selection and storage

Cassava roots are found in the market all through the year. Better checkout for thick, firm ones that are heavier. Try to pick fresh ones as cassava which is not so fresh are less tasty and can cause digestion problems and tummy ache. Try to pick those tubers that are not cut or that do not have broken skin. Try not to purchase those with soft spots and moulded ones as they are not fresh and can cause tummy issues.

Keep the fresh roots for 1-2 days at room temperature. To store it for 3-4 days, wrap it in paper and cover it with plastic cling film. If you want to store cassava for a week or more, clean it and peel off the skin, and then cut them into the desired size and wrap in a zip lock pouch and keep inside the freezer compartment. Before cooking you just need to take it out of the freezer and allow it to thaw.

Preparing and serving

Peel the skin after washing it thoroughly. After peeling, wash it once more so as to get rid of soil and dirt. The white flesh should be cut into two halves lengthwise. Remove the vein from the middle and then cut the flesh into desired pieces. Boil the flesh in water till it cooks after adding some salt. Mash it and serve or serve the cooked pieces as it is. You can also fry cassava and enjoy its delicious taste during the evenings.

It is also used for making bread, cookies and cakes in Caribbean islands. It is a good combination for stews.


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