Cassava is one of the lesser-known types of root that actually helps to feed millions of people all over the world. This is likely due to its small cost, huge abundance, and resistance to things like drought and natural diseases or pest attacks.
When you use root flour, you can benefit from a big boost in carbohydrates and other useful nutrients that we need.
However, despite its positive benefits, it can be problematic if it isn’t processed correctly. This guide will examine the best way to source cassava flour, along with what exactly it is and how it might help you.
What Is Cassava Flour?
Cassava flour is a unique type of flour. It is gluten-free and comes from the cassava tuber from its native lands of South America, although it can be grown in many climates that are tropical.
Although cassava itself tastes nutty, the flour has a rather neutral or light flavor with a very smooth texture and consistency. Normally, you’ll find it white – but sometimes it can have a yellowish or reddish hue.
How To Make Cassava Flour?
There are generally five main steps to making cassava flour:
- Begin by peeling the tuber(s)
- Leave them to water-soak for about a week
- Either leave them to sun-dry or roast them
- Scrape off the layer on the outside of the tuber
- Grind what’s left into flour
The versatility of cassava flour cannot be understated. In the food industry, cassava flour has a magnitude of different uses, especially when it comes to baked food items and ingredients.
For example, it is used in pizza, tortillas, pasta, porridge, and pancakes – but it can also be used as a thickening agent for things like ice cream, dressings, and savory sauces. Assuming you keep cassava flour away from moisture, it has a long shelf life!
Is Cassava Flour Good For You?
When we are looking at the nutritional value of cassava, we can see some benefits but we also see a lack of others. The nutritional value of a ¼ cup of cassava flour equates to the following:
So, from a glance – we can see that this flour is relatively high in calories, so it’s not the best choice for someone who is looking to watch their calorie intake and lose weight (although there are some benefits).
We can also see that it has no protein and no fat, which is another downside for those who want to get some benefits from their workout.
More to the point, protein is critical for the natural progression of our muscles and repair. Additionally, there is little fiber content and a small number of minerals like calcium and potassium.
Therefore, if you want to reap any real benefits from cassava flour, you need to ensure you are using it with a healthy and balanced diet.
A different source of protein is critical if you rely on cassava flour, so the inclusion of certain meats, eggs, tofu, legumes, and fish should be considered.
The main benefit of cassava flour is the fact it is gluten-free and can help serve people who have a gluten intolerance or other health conditions.
In fact, the majority component of cassava flour is starch. As raw cassava contains as much as 75% starch, it can be problematic because this is not absorbed correctly by your small intestine. Instead, it ferments into the large intestine.
For some people, this is actually a very good sign – but for others, it can be detrimental. However, despite these points – there are some health benefits to consuming cassava flour, which we will look at next.
Main Health Benefits Of Cassava Flour
Cassava flour has many benefits and also, as we have seen, some downsides. The real issue is that much more research is needed on the benefits of this food product. However, we can look at some of the major findings currently.
May Help People To Lose Weight
There are a few ways that this flour can help someone lose weight. The primary way it can do this is by replacing your usual source of flour with this gluten-free version.
As this flour contains no sugar, whereas some do, a person may be intaking less sugar content in their diet – perfect for many conditions and of course, to help lose weight. Additionally, cassava flour can help trigger the release of certain hormones that control your “hunger” feeling.
As a result, a person’s eating habits may be controlled better and fewer calories will be consumed. Due to the resistant starch, this flour may even help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the speed at that food is digested.
While that may not sound good – it actually contributes to a lower glucose level in the blood and better insulin sensitivity. Some other studies have also suggested that cassava flour could possibly help with lowering the levels of cholesterol within our bodies.
May Help Gut Health
The importance of our gut health can never be underestimated. Due to fermentation processes happening within the intestines – your gut is receiving friendly bacteria which work to balance the gut.
In fact, the flour acts as a prebiotic which some people take supplements. This flour can help naturally with this instead to benefit your biome.
Cassava flour has some benefits but also some downsides. It’s recommended that if you use it in your cooking, include some extra protein and fats to try to improve the balance of the dish. We hope this guide has helped you further understand cassava flour and how it can be used!