Cassava facts and health benefits

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Cassava Quick Facts
Name: Cassava
Scientific Name: Manihot esculenta
Origin South America and widely grown on Latin America and the Caribbean.
Colors Light yellow, white, dark brown
Shapes Subglobose, ellipsoid; Diameter: 1 cm (1/2 inch)
Flesh colors Chalk-white or yellowish
Taste Starch rich sweet flavor
Calories 160 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Carbohydrate (29.28%)
Vitamin C (22.89%)
Manganese (16.70%)
Copper (11.11%)
Vitamin B1 (7.25%)
Health benefits Brain health, Reduce arthritis, Enhance immunity, Vision health, Repairs damage
The Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a perennial plant that belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. Its large starchy sweet flavor, tuberous root are a consumed as vegetable. The young leaves are sometimes consumed as greens. Manihot esculenta is native to the South America and is widely grown on Latin America and the Caribbean. There are two varieties of Cassava: Sweet and Bitter. Cassava shares the several names including Bitter Cassava, Manicot, Manihot, Sweet Cassava and Yuca.


It is cultivated for its edible root as an annual plant in both subtropical and tropical regions. Cassava was originated from tropical America. It was firstly introduced in the Congo basin of Africa around 1558 by the Portuguese. It has become a part of dietary food in tropical Africa these days.


Cassava plant is an herbaceous and perennial plant growing upto 3-5 m in height. It bears dark green leaves which measure a foot in across and possess small sized greenish-yellow flowers. It grows best in tropical climate and thrives in moist, fertile and well-drained soils. The plant possesses the fibrous and reddish brown bark with the smooth erect stem. The plant yields the light yellow, white and dark brown fruit of subglobose ellipsoid shape with 1 cm (1/2 inch) as a diameter. The Cassava plant lives upto one year.


Roots are edible, globular and bulky. The root is long and tapered having 1-4 inches as diameter and 8-15 inches in length with fibrous skin whose color ranges in brown. The root weighs about 40 kg. The flesh is firm and homogeneous which ranges from chalk-white to yellowish in color. Cassava tubers can grow upto 8-15 inches in length and 1-4 inches in width. The tubers most often weigh from 1 to 7 pounds. The rough and woody textured skin of tuber varies in color from gray to brown. Cassava possess the nutty flavor.

Nutritional Value

The nutrient composition found in Cassava differs according to soil conditions, variety, environmental factors and climate. 100 gm of Cassava provides 1.8 gm dietary fiber, 1.36 gm protein, 16 mg calcium, 27 mg phosphorus, 20.6 mg Vitamin C and others.

Nutritional value of Cassava
Serving Size: 100 g

Calories 160 Kcal. Calories from Fat 2.52 Kcal.


Proximity Amount % DV
Water 59.68 g N/D
Energy 160 Kcal N/D
Energy 667 kJ N/D
Protein 1.36 g 2.72%
Total Fat (lipid) 0.28 g 0.80%
Ash 0.62 g N/D
Carbohydrate 38.06 g 29.28%
Total dietary Fiber 1.8 g 4.74%
Total Sugars 1.7 g N/D

Minerals Amount % DV
Calcium, Ca 16 mg 1.60%
Iron, Fe 0.27 mg 3.38%
Magnesium, Mg 21 mg 5.00%
Phosphorus, P 27 mg 3.86%
Potassium, K 271 mg 5.77%
Sodium, Na 14 mg 0.93%
Zinc, Zn 0.34 mg 3.09%
Copper, Cu 0.1 mg 11.11%
Manganese, Mn 0.384 mg 16.70%
Selenium, Se 0.7 µg 1.27%

Vitamins Amount % DV
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 20.6 mg 22.89%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.087 mg 7.25%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.048 mg 3.69%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.854 mg 5.34%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.107 mg 2.14%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.088 mg 6.77%
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid) 27 µg 6.75%
Choline 23.7 mg 4.31%
Vitamin A 1 µg 0.14%
Vitamin A, IU 13 IU N/D
Betaine 0.4 mg N/D
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.19 mg 1.27%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 1.9 µg 1.58%

Lipids Amount % DV
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.074 g 0.11%
Lauric acid (dodecanoic acid) 12:00 0.001 g N/D
Palmitic acid 16:00 (Hexadecanoic acid) 0.069 g N/D
Stearic acid 18:00 (Octadecanoic acid) 0.005 g N/D
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated    
Oleic acid 18:1 (octadecenoic acid) 0.075 g N/D
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.048 g 0.28%
Linoleic acid 18:2 (octadecadienoic acid) 0.032 g N/D
Linolenic acid 18:3 (Octadecatrienoic acid) 0.017 g N/D

Amino Acids Amount % DV
Tryptophan 0.019 g 4.32%
Threonine 0.028 g 1.59%
Isoleucine 0.027 g 1.61%
Leucine 0.039 g 1.06%
Lysine 0.044 g 1.32%
Methionine 0.011 g N/D
Cystine 0.028 g N/D
Phenylalanine 0.026 g N/D
Tyrosine 0.017 g N/D
Valine 0.035 g 1.66%
Arginine 0.137 g N/D
Histidine 0.02 g 1.62%
Alanine 0.038 g N/D
Aspartic acid 0.079 g N/D
Glutamic acid 0.206 g N/D
Glycine 0.028 g N/D
Proline 0.033 g N/D
Serine 0.033 g N/D

*Above mentioned Percent Daily Values (%DVs) are based on 2,000 calorie diet intake. Daily values (DVs) may be different depending upon your daily calorie needs. Mentioned values are recommended by a U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are not recommendations. Calculations are based on average age of 19 to 50 years and weighs 194 lbs.

Health Benefits of Cassava

Cassava is loaded with Vitamin B and C, calcium, carbohydrates and minerals. Cassava is an excellent source of vitamins such as thiamin, folates, riboflavin, Vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. Cassava possesses antinutrients which can have either positive or negative effects on health which depends upon the intake of amount.

  1. Promotes skin health

The study conducted shows that the intake of Vitamin C assist to lower the appearance of wrinkles, skin dryness and slows down the aging process. Vitamin C is vital for the formation of ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. It also speeds up the healing process of the wound. The evidence shows that the skin cream with Vitamin C reduces the redness of the skin, scars and wrinkles. The diet rich in antioxidants helps to prohibit skin cancer.

  1. Assist treatment of cancer

The drugs with the cancer fighting effect used in the chemotherapy could be promoted with the high intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C targets only those cells that require these nutriments whereas normal cells are also damaged by the drugs. Researchers report that Vitamin C is the effective remedy for the treatment of lung and ovarian cancer.

  1. Repairs damage

Vitamin C has the ability to inhibit the damage caused by the pollutants, toxic chemicals and free radicals. The buildup of free radicals leads to the health ailments such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. The free radicals develop during the process of breaking down of food or exposed to tobacco, smoke and radiation.

  1. Prevent osteoporosis

The combination of calcium, manganese, copper and zinc assist to lower the loss of bone in the older women who are most prone to the weak bones and bone fractures. The deficiency of manganese leads to the bone ailments since the manganese enhances the bone metabolism by assisting the formation of bone regulatory enzymes and hormones. The studies have shown that the intake of manganese with vitamin D, zinc, calcium, copper, magnesium and boron promote the bone mass which helps to treat osteoporosis.

  1. Assist respiratory health

The research shows that the intake of manganese with the minerals such as zinc and selenium is helpful for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which is caused by the smoking. Manganese is able to reduce the oxidative stress and inflammation by producing SODs.

  1. Lower symptoms of PMS

The adequate consumption of manganese with calcium assists to recover the PMS symptoms such as muscle pain, tenderness, mood swings, anxiety and trouble in sleeping. The study shows that the women having low level of manganese in the blood, they experience mood related symptoms and more pain during pre-menstruation.

  1. Brain health

Copper is essential for the brain pathways such as galactose and dopamine which helps to maintain the focus and mood. The deficiency of copper results in fatigue, metabolic activity, poor mood and concentration problem.

Copper helps to utilize the antioxidants such as superoxide, Vitamin C, ascorbate oxidase, dismutase and tyrosinase. The antioxidants prevent the brain damage by free radicals and slow down the aging process which is responsible for cancer, signs of aging and neuro-degenerative disease.

  1. Reduce arthritis

Copper possess anti-inflammatory abilities which provides relief from stiffness and pain related to arthritis. It strengthens the muscles, repair connective tissue and lower joint pain. The arthritis patients wear copper bracelets with a belief that it can reduce the painful symptoms associated with arthritis.

  1. Enhance immunity

Vitamin B1 assists to sustain the muscle tone on the digestive tract walls. The healthy digestive tract helps to absorb the nutrients from the food that is used to enhance the immunity and prevents from diseases. Vitamin B1 assists in the hydrochloric acid secretion that is required for the food digestion and nutrient absorption.

  1. Vision health

The research shows that Vitamin B1 helps to counteract the vision problems such as glaucoma and cataracts as it is able to influence the signals of muscle and nerve which is essential to relay the information to the brain from the eyes.

Traditional uses

  • The usage of starch mixed with rum is useful to treat skin problems.
  • It is also used to treat fever, chills and sore muscles.
  • The study on an animal shows that Cassava is effective to treat cancer.
  • The pulped roots and leaves are used in folk medicine to treat tumors.
  • Cassava is useful for the people with coeliac disease because it does not possess gluten.
  • Cassava leaves are also used as the treatment for headache, hypertension and pain.

How to Eat

  • It can be boiled, steamed, mashed, baked, fried, grilled or added to the stews.
  • The root can be made into a flour or ground meal by washing, peeling, grating, pressing the juice and then drying the meal.
  • The young leaves and tubers are consumed raw, boiled or fried.
  • The juice extract from the roots of cassava is flavored with cloves, cinnamon and sugar.
  • It is also preserved and used as an ingredient to flavor soups and meat dishes.
  • The flour of Cassava is used to make cake, bread or cookies.


  • Cassava should not be consumed raw.
  • The bitter or wild cassava should not be consumed uncooked because it possesses acid which is harmful for the health.
  • All parts of cassava should be consumed after pressing, peeling and cooking.
  • The people allergic to latex should avoid the consumption of Cassava.
  • The intake of cassava root in raw form leads to cyanide poisoning with the experience of symptoms such as nausea, headache, vomiting, stomach pains, dizziness and death.

Other Facts

  • Cassava is known as third largest source of carbohydrates after maize and rice.
  • Nigeria produces the Cassava in the largest amount and the largest export of dried cassava is performed by Thailand.
  • The leaves are hand shaped which consists of 3-7 narrow lobes.
  • The powder extract from the dried root is used to produce the sweet puddings.
  • In Caribbean, South America and Europe, Cassava is used as an animal fodder.

Cassava – Manihot esculenta Facts

Cassava is the perennial plant which grows upto 6–8 feet high. The appearance of smooth erect stems resembles the plant of cannabis. The leaves are dark green and reddish veined which are divided into seven leaflets. The stems possess soft white pith and nodes.

Name Cassava
Scientific Name Manihot esculenta
Native South America and widely grown on Latin America and the Caribbean.
Common/English Name Bitter Cassava, Bitter Brazilian Arrowroot, Bitter Tapioca Meal, Manicot, Brazilian Arrowroot, Manidoca, Cassava, Manioc, Manihot, Sweet Cassava, Sweet Brazilian Arrowroot, Tapioca, Sweet potato Tree, Sweet Taioca Meal, Yuca, Tapioca
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Maniok
Angola: Mbowe
Benin: Koutou
Brazil: Aipim
Burmese: Palaw-pinan-u-pin
Cambodia: Damlong Chhe
Cameroon: Kasinga
Chinese: Mu Shu
Croatian: Tropska Biljka
Czech: Maniok Jedly
Danish: Maniok
Democratic Republic of Conga: Anaoseagasa
Dutch: Cassave
Fiji: Kasera
Finnish: Cassave
Gabon: Moguma
German: Bittere Cassava
Ghana: Bankye
Guyana: Cassave
Hungarian: Kasszava
India: Kuri Aloo
Indonesia: Bodin
Italian: Cassave
Ivory Coast: Bede
Japanese: Imo Noki
Korean: Kasaba
Laos: Mantonz
Madagascar: Kazaha
Malaysia: Ubi Kayu
Nepalese: Simal Tarul
Nicaragua: Aikavitu
Nigeria: Iwa
Norwegian: Kassava
Papua New Guinea: Cassava
Growth Habit Herbaceous, perennial
Growing Climate Tropical
Soil Moist, fertile and well-drained
Plant Size 3-5 m
Lifespan One year
Bark Reddish brown, fibrous
Stem Smooth, erect
Leaf Dark green, Across: a foot or more
Flower Small, greenish-yellow
Root Globular roots, bulky
Root shape & size Long and tapered; Diameter: 1-4 inches, Length: 8-15 inches
Root weight 40 kg
Root color Brown
Root skin Fibrous
Fruit shape & size Subglobose, ellipsoid; Diameter: 1 cm (1/2 inch)
Fruit color Light yellow, white, dark brown
Flesh color Chalk-white or yellowish
Flesh skin texture Firm, homogeneous
Flesh taste Starch rich sweet flavor
Tuber color Gray-brown
Tuber skin Rough, woody textured skin
Tuber size Length: 8-15 inches; Width: 1-4 inches
Tuber weight 1-7 pounds
Flavor/aroma Nutty flavor
Seed Length: 12 mm
  • Sweet
  • Bitter
Major Nutritions Carbohydrate 38.06 g (29.28%)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 20.6 mg (22.89%)
Manganese, Mn 0.384 mg (16.70%)
Copper, Cu 0.1 mg (11.11%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.087 mg (7.25%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.088 mg (6.77%)
Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid) 27 µg (6.75%)
Potassium, K 271 mg (5.77%)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.854 mg (5.34%)
Magnesium, Mg 21 mg (5.00%)
Health Benefits
  • Promotes skin health
  • Assist treatment of cancer
  • Repairs damage
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Assist respiratory health
  • Lower symptoms of PMS
  • Brain health
  • Reduce arthritis
  • Enhance immunity
  • Vision health
Calories in 100 gm 160 Kcal.






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