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Benefits of Cassava
Cassava is native to Brazil and Paraguay and is a staple food throughout Indonesia and Thailand, as well as parts of Africa. Its roots serve as an excellent source of starch and, at 330 calories per cup, cassava provides energy you need to fuel your active lifestyle. Adding cassava to your diet offers health benefits because of its vitamin, mineral and fiber content, but you must only eat cassava after it has been cooked to avoid exposure to toxins.
2. What is Cassava
Originating in South America, cassava is a plant that grows up to a total length of 13 feet. The root grows to a length of about 4 feet and is most often used in various foods because of its sweet taste. This starchy root has been used for many centuries in Africa and Asia, and has made its way into many of the world s markets. The cassava root has a brown, woody skin and can weigh from 1 to 5 lbs.
The cassava plant is a staple crop in Africa, Asia, and South America. Tapioca is a starch found in the roots (tubers) of the plant. Different parts of the plant such as the root, leaves, and sometimes the whole plant, are used in herbal remedies.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that cassava or tapioca is effective in preventing or treating cancer. However, some researchers have proposed an idea that might eventually lead to treatments that use an enzyme from the cassava plant. This approach has not been scientifically tested.
5. What Are Health Benefits of Cassava
The cassava s nutrition comes from the zinc, iron, and magnesium, which helps the blood carry oxygen throughout the body. With moderate levels of potassium, meals prepared with cassava actually help to regulate blood pressure, and because the cassava is gluten free, it can be used in specially prepared foods. The leaves are an excellent source of Vitamin K, which promotes cell growth and bone mineralization.
6. How is Cassava Prepared
Cassava should be washed in cold water, trimmed at the ends, and then cooked. If you fail to prepare this root in an appropriate manner, you may not feel very good later. The root of the cassava has small quantities of cyanogenic glycosides, also known as cyanide. After having made sure it s safe to eat, you peel the rough skin with a knife until you have a chunk of white flesh. You can prepare the cassava just as you would a potato or yam, adding it to recipes or baked and made into chips.
7. Is Cassava Safe to Eat
The cassava has small quantities of cyanide and should never be eaten raw. If eaten raw, the natural toxicity of this plant can cause abdominal pains, nausea, and death. It s worth noting, however, the cyanide level is much higher in the skin than in the rest of the plant. The process to disperse the cyanide includes peeling the vegetable, sun drying it, boiling it in water, and then cooking it. Only then is cassava safe to eat.
8. What Are Some Other Uses for Cassava
It may surprise you to learn that cassava is being used as an ethanol biofuel. The aim is to replace petroleum by processing and converting the plant into a usable fuel, which in turn, cuts down on the hazardous byproducts produced by the burning of so called fossil fuels. The few cassava ethanol fuel production facilities found around the globe is a testament to mankind s ingenuity and passion for a healthier world.
Cassava comes loaded with carbohydrates, including the especially beneficial carbohydrate dietary fiber. Consuming fiber is linked to a number of health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, better control over your blood sugar levels and a lower risk of obesity. Each cup of cassava approximately half of a root boosts your fiber intake by 3.7 grams. This contributes 10 percent toward the fiber intake recommended for men and 14 percent toward the fiber intake recommended for women by the Institute of Medicine.
10. Magnesium and Copper
Cassava also helps you consume more magnesium and copper. A diet rich in magnesium promotes life long health, lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of osteoporosis, while a diet rich in copper helps support healthy nerve function. A cup of cassava contains 206 micrograms of copper, or 23 percent of the copper you need each day, determined by the Institute of Medicine. Cassava also increases your manganese intake by 0.8 milligram per serving more than one third of the daily requirement for men and 44 percent for women.
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