Friday, February 15, 2019

Food Fact Friday: Cassava!


Have you heard of cassava? It’s a tuber (a starchy root vegetable) that is popular within the Paleo-community. It’s not a grain, yet it can be used to make things like crackers, chips and breads, which would typically be off-limit foods when eating on any grain-free diet.

Cassava is grown in the tropical regions of the world. It is able to withstand difficult growing conditions, and is one of the most drought-tolerant crops.

Although I faithfully promote (and eat) a diet consisting mostly of real food (unprocessed and unpackaged) I do like to try new foods that become available. Those of you who know me, know that one of my most favourite things to do when traveling to the USA is a "pilgrimage" to Whole Foods and Trader Joes, where I like to find items that are either unavailable or yet not released to us Canadians.

Besides being a non-grain, Cassava doesn’t have anything too remarkable nutrient-wise going for it. Couple of fun facts:

*Raw cassava can be poisonous and must be cooked. It contains cyanogenic glycosides. (Cyanide!)

*Cassava is high in resistant starch. (Remember we talked about resistant starch when we examined Tigernuts!?) You may recall, this type of starch is just what it sounds like: resistant to digestion. It passes through most of the small intestine, and then gets consumed by our microbiota in the large intestine. (Food that our healthy gut microbiome “consumes” is referred to a PRE-biotic).

*Nutritionally speaking, cassava isn’t that special, and is actually higher in calories than other root vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes.

*However, the fact that it’s higher in calories makes it an important crop for developing countries.

Interesting Article: https://www.intechopen.com/books/toxicology-new-aspects-to-this-scientific-conundrum/a-review-of-cyanogenic-glycosides-in-edible-plants

Photo Credit to: The Pioneer Woman


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