Cassava is a starch-tuber that can be eaten as a whole root or root chips, or grated to make flour for things like bread and crackers. It is also used for puddings or drinks made with tapioca pearls.
Cassava is popular in many parts of Africa, Asia, and South American. Along with other roots and starch-rich foods like yam, taro, plantains, and potato, it’s a necessary part of the carbohydrate diet for millions of people.
Cassava flour is made by grating and drying the fibrous cassava root. It’s a great substitute for wheat and other flours. You can use it in any recipe that calls for wheat flour, making baking and cooking gluten-free meals easy.
Cassava flour is very rich in carbohydrates. A cup of cassava flour (285 grams) has about 110 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, and 4.5 grams of sugar. It’s also rich in vitamin C, with one cup containing close to the recommended daily value.
Cassava Flour and Your Health
Cassava flour can be helpful in many ways:
Cassava can replace wheat flour. It can replace grain-based flour or a gluten-free flour mix. It doesn’t have a strong taste, which makes it great for baking, thickening sauces, or making burger patties.
Cassava flour is gluten-free. It is a great choice for gluten-free baking, ideal for people who have gluten sensitivities or disorders.
Cassava flour is low in calories, fat, and sugar. Compared with other gluten-free flours, such as coconut or almond, cassava flour has a low fat content. It has a high water content and a lower calorie density than flours like corn, plantain, rice, coconut, sorghum, and wheat.
The best way to use cassava flour is to mix it with other nutrient-dense foods to boost fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Cassava flour is not harmful. But you shouldn’t eat it in its raw form, as it contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can turn into cyanide in the body.
Sweet cassava roots have less than 50 milligrams (mg) per kilogram of hydrogen cyanide on a fresh weight basis, and the bitter types have up to 400 mg per kilogram.
You can reduce cyanide content in cassava by cutting the roots into small pieces, soaking them in water, and then boiling, roasting, sun-drying, fermenting, or grating them. Processed cassava-based products such as tapioca flour have very low cyanide content.