Cassava is one of the most popular plants consumed in West Africa, especially in Nigeria. Many know it for its popular food staples like garri, fufu etc. as it is eaten with many well-known soups. It is also used to produce cassava bread, French fries, cassava chips, tapioca, cassava cake and so on.
But did you know that this tuber crop contains a harmful chemical known as Cyanides? Cassava roots, peels and leaves contain cynogenic glucosides which decomposes to form Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN). A dose of 25 mg of is enough to kill a rat even.
Eating Cassava raw or incorrectly processed can lead to intoxication which causes vomiting, collapse and finally leads to death between 1-4 hours of consumption. Brief soaking of cassava (four hours) is not enough to remove cyanide rather soaking for 18-24 hours removes half the level of cyanide it contains.
Processes that helps reduce the Cyanide level to safe consumption for humans includes boiling, baking, roasting, frying till it is well cooked.
However continuous consumption of unsafe amount of cyanide in cassava leads to:
Paralyzed legs in children
Low level of iodine
Increased risk of goiter
Tropical ataxic neuropathy (TAN): a condition that leads to a loss of feeling in the handsaes, poor vision, walking problems among the elderly and a sensation of something being on the feet.
Please make sure you are highly cautious about the cassava product you consume and mind the levels you consume regularly.
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