Cassava is an important edible root tropical plant. It does not only have an important economic value but also a high level of nutrients. Despite all the advantages of cassava, there are unfortunately some disadvantages.
Types of Cassava
In nature, there are two types of cassava – sweet and bitter. This plant can be extremely poisonous. But by cooking or pressing the root, the poison is removed. People should not eat it raw. Bitter cassava is processed into safe edible flours and starches, which in turn are made into breads, pastries and cakes.
Industrial uses of cassava
READ ALSO: Nigerian dishes: Igbo traditional cuisine
Because of its easy nature, this plant is one of the most productive ones that are grown for consumption. Cassava is the second highest in terms of productivity after sugar canes.
There is a high level of starch in cassava roots. In its raw form, the roots are very poisonous and they must only be consumed after being boiled or baked. The high concentration of starch in this plant is why the native tribes of South and Central America often use cassava in the preparation of low-alcoholic drinks, such as Cauim, Caxiri and Chicha.
Medicinal uses of cassava
The curative properties of cassava root is evident when you look into the chemical composition. The cassava leaves are a good source of protein, Vitamins B-12, B2, Beta Carotene, and Niacin. This plant contains starch that is extremely valuable for the digestive system. Cassava root is very helpful in fighting diarrhea, bruises, inflammation and ulcers.
The cellulose found in cassava roots helps with weight loss and even to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Aside from that, cassava contains calcium which is necessary for maintaining strong bones and teeth. The Vitamin-K, which is found in cassava leaves and tubers, also play an important role in bone mass building.
Be careful with this plant because consuming raw cassava can lead to dangerous consequences such as ataxia and amblyopia. Children often suffer from paralysis if they take cassava in its raw state. The seeds also have a laxative effect on the body and can cause vomiting. Basically, cassava products must not become the main aspect of anyone's diet. If you want to include it to your meals, then ensure it's well prepared and eaten moderately.
READ ALSO: Cassava processing business plan in Nigeria