With an adventurous spirit, I bought a yuca root at the grocery store. It did not look as appealing as a glass of wine served in the finest Baccarat crystal glass. However, in many countries cassava or Yuca is the staple diet for humans as well as animals. Over 800 million people depend on this starchy crop to survive.
A different side dish for thanksgiving dinner.
Sweet manioc contains lesser amount of cyanogen than bitter yuca. The tuber is high in carbohydrate but low in protein. This can be an addition for thanksgiving dinner.
Cook for 35 minutes in a cooker pressure pot and the cyanide will be mostly eliminated. Onions and garlic sauteed with olive oil will counteract whatever cyanide is left.
Health benefits of sweet cassava tubers.
- In 2009, published in the journal food hydrocolloids, a study shows that polysaccharide compounds found in yucca have an inhibitory role in tumor cell proliferation and a protective function in the liver.
- In 2013, a research published in the journal of the international society of sport nutrition, shows that polysaccharides improve sport performance, prolong exercise endurance, lessen oxidative stress and delay fatigue.
Certain maniocs like the bitter cassava have high amount of cyanogenic glucosides like linamarin. Hydrogen cyanide can be deadly for humans. In some countries, irreversible neurological disorders have been recorded; particularly in the young and the elderly. Unfortunately, cassava was the only available food. In Australia, products made with cassava flour have caused some problems.
- Elevated amount of cyanides can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness and sometimes death.