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Cassava, A Miracle Crop With A Potentially Deadly Secret

Often called the miracle crop, Cassava has several health benefits but it has a deadly secret.

Cassava, also known as tapioca or yuca, is a popular food source in many tropical regions particularly in Asia, Africa and South America. In many developing nations, it’s a major source of carbohydrates and half a billion people depend on it because it’s plentiful and inexpensive. Growing cassava is fairly easy as it can thrive on less fertile soil and it is one of the most drought-tolerant crops in the world. No wonder it was considered a “miracle crop” by poor and drought-stricken nations.

Cassava is rich in minerals like manganese, iron, potassum, calcium and phosphorus needed for proper growth, development and function of the bodily tissues. It’s an excellent source of carbohydrates for energy and fiber to help with constipation. Cassava flour also happens to be a great substitute for those who are allergic to gluten.

It may not yet be a staple in western kitchens but it offers numerous nutritional benefits. One cup of boiled cassava contains 330 calories, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and 4 grams each of fiber and sugar.

The drought-resistant Cassava is considered the miracle crop in the tropics.

Cassava comes in two varieties: sweet and bitter. Unknown to many, both varieties contain the toxic substance cyanogenic glucosides, with the bitter ones containing more of it than the sweet. When eaten, cyanogenic glucosides release hydrogen cyanide (HCN), a poison which prevents body cells from using oxygen.

Cassava offers several health benefits, but it has a deadly secret.

The amount of cyanogenic glucoside is not only dependent on the variety of cassava, but also with the amount of rainwater. Rainfall can help lower the content of the toxins since it washes them away. However, during drought, the amounts of the cyanogen tend to accumulate.

Improper cooking of cassava root is associated with cyanide poisoning.

Cyanide is formed when cassava is processed but since it is volatile in nature, it is released in the air instead of remaining in the food. According to Ohio State University professor of plant biology Richard Sayre, as reported by Science Daily, processing cassava plants ensures that the cyanogen content is within an acceptable range.

Improper cooking of cassava root could result in cyanide poisoning, which can cause symptoms of vomiting, nausea, dizziness, stomach pains, headache, irreversible paralysis from a disease called konzo and even death.

However, if the cassava are peeled and cooked, toxic substances are removed.

The root crop is also used to make tapioca.

A common ingredient on some of our favorite sweets.

The proper preparation of cassava involves several steps that should ensure linamarin content is reduced. The technique involves drying, soaking in water, then rinsing or baking.

The sweet variety is rather easier to prepare and only needs to be cooked thoroughly to be safe for consumption.

The bitter variety, however, requires extensive processing like peeling, grating the roots, soaking them in water for a prolonged period to allow fermentation and leaching. The bitter roots will then be cooked further to release the cyanide gas. Cutting them into much smaller pieces, then soaking and boiling is also effective in lowering the cyanide content.

Sayre said that the cassava processing may sometimes be shortened, especially during famines. This usually results in toxic cassava products. Because there is a need to rush the cassava to the market, sometimes there are batches that may skip proper preparation.

Improperly processed cassava is not the only form that’s potentially poisonous.

Several cases of food poisoning have already been reported. In a 2005, 27 children in the Philippines died from eating deep-fried caramelized cassava sold by a vendor outside of their school. In 2016, a 6-year-old boy died while two of his siblings was rushed to the nearest hospital after reportedly eating cassava.

As cassava is eaten, the cyanogenic glucosides release the gas, hydrogen cyanide (HCN). This poison works by stopping the body cells from utilizing oxygen. Signs of acute cyanide poisoning from eating bad cassava include a drop in blood pressure, rapid respiration, dizziness, headache, rapid pulse, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, twitching, mental confusion and convulsions. Death only results when cyanide levels are too high to detoxify.

If you’re worried about eating cassava, don’t be – as long as you know you bought it from a trusted source, you’re not eating it raw, and it is properly prepared. Processed cassava products, on the other hand, are safe to eat as the cyanogen content has been reduced further during manufacture.

Interesting

New Orleans Restaurant Charges White Customers More Than People of Color

This restaurant aims to help people understand the underlying issue of racial wealth disparity.

You can say that food is a common language among us people. That this great equalizer can get individuals to sit down and enjoy a meal, opening a possibility of conversation. Interestingly, a restaurant from New Orleans, Louisiana is trying to incorporate the significance of food in their rates in hopes to raise awareness on racial wealth disparity.

The pop-up restaurant called Saartj does this by simply asking white customers to pay $18 more compared to people of color. This rate is applicable for the same meal eaten by customers in the diner.

This restaurant in NOLA is charging white customers more for the same meal than people of color.

Source: Tunde Wey
Chef Tunde Wey is the brainchild of the social experiment and is also the owner of the restaurant.

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Company Offers Cash Incentives For Employees Who Bike Their Way To Work

Exercise plus some extra cash? This is a winner!

Riding a bicycle to work comes with many great benefits. Aside from giving your body some much-needed exercise, biking also makes it possible for you to save money since you wouldn’t have to spend money on gas or fare.

As if all those reasons weren’t convincing enough, a small company from Christchurch, New Zealand is now offering cash incentives to encourage more of their people to use bikes on a regular basis.

Creative and advertising agency Make Collective is offering $5 to $10 for employees who ride bikes going to work.

Source: Ciclosfera

According to Stuff, Christchurch-based firm Make Collective gives a $5 bonus for employees who bike to and from work. What’s more, the amount doubles to $10 if they bike more than half their annual work days....

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7 Deadly and Most Dangerous Foods In The World

Are you an adventurous eater?

There’s such a thing as an adventurous eater - or someone who likes to taste new food every chance they get. It’s appreciating exotic eats and ditching the usual meals you know you like. Are you an adventurous eater? If so, are you willing to eat some of the world’s deadliest and most dangerous foods?

To many, it’s strange that these deadly eats can actually be called food. Yet, many people still choose to eat them because of their unique taste. Others do it for the sake of adventure; some because it’s part of their culture. A few, however, go for it because there’s no choice. Here are seven of the most dangerous eats from around the world.

#1. Liver Cancer Salad

Understandably, the name and the thought of this food makes you shudder but it’s actually a much-loved delicacy in northeastern Thailand. This dangerous food is made from chopped raw fish, lime juice, spicy salad dressing and a dash of red ants....

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