Some cassava leaf processing methods successfully detoxify cassava leaves but simultaneously destroy the nutrients. Efforts have also been made for cassava leaf protein extraction in the form of cassava leaf protein concentrate but protein recovery was very low.
Cassava benefits: It’s versatile
Cassava cakes may be popular, but please remember that you can make so many more foods from cassava. Online, you’ll see recipes for puto, pie, puffs, and even cookies. This means there are many ways people can enjoy the benefits of this starchy vegetable.
Just a reminder, though: the ingredients you add in making cassava products matter. For example, adding too much sugar or salt can negate the cassava benefits.
Warnings about cassava
Although there are many cassava benefits we can take advantage of, there are some warnings that should be heeded before eating it. Cassava roots contain potentially toxic hydrocyanic acid. High concentration of hydrocyanic acid can be fatal.
In lower concentrations, take note of the following signs and symptoms you need to watch out for and go to the nearest hospital:
- Decrease in sensation,
- Increase in heart rate,
- Increase in rate of breathing followed by decreasing breathing rate and gasping for air.
In addition, cassava can also absorb pollutants as it is currently cultivated near roads or factories and generally without consideration for potential sources of soil, water, or atmospheric pollution.
These are perhaps some of the reasons behind the previously reported cases of food poisoning resulting from eating cassava cake. It might not have been something as simple as eating fresh cassava cake, but rather the preparation of the cassava, as well as the quality of the cassava used in the dessert.
It is therefore important to observe careful washing, peeling, and adequate preparation before eating cassava. These are big steps for reducing human exposure to both environmental pollutants and natural hydrocyanic acid.
Cassava benefits can largely be found in the root of the plant. A calorie-rich tuber, we can eat cassava root in a variety of ways including whole, grated, or ground into flour. While the cassava root is the most versatile and rich in nutrients, studies have also been made regarding the cassava leaves with some promising results. While cassava has proven to contain vitamins and minerals, careful washing and peeling on top of adequate preparation is still necessary before cassava should be consumed by humans.
Learn more about Healthy Eating here.
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