As we age, our bodies require extra attention, such as getting enough nutrients to maintain good health. A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is necessary to achieve good nutrition. One of the versatile and essential crops that women over 45 should consider adding to their diet is cassava. In this blog post, I will list the nutritional benefits of cassava and its contribution to healthy eating.
Growing up in a Caribbean country, my palate was shaped by the flavors and rich culinary traditions of the region. Plantains, corn flour, cassava, black beans, were all part of our diet. The one staple that has always held a special place in my heart is cassava or as we call it Yuca!. From its versatile preparation to its profound nutritional benefits, cassava has always been one of my favorite food staples.
Cassava, scientifically known as Manihot esculenta, is a starchy root vegetable that has been a vital source of sustenance in the Caribbean and beyond for centuries. Its robust nature allowed it to flourish even in the harshest of environments, making it an indispensable crop for indigenous communities. Despite not being cultivated in it, the United States is the world's largest consumer of cassava.
Cassava flourishes in tropical and subtropical climates worldwide, and it is also cultivated in Africa, Latin America, and some Asian countries.
Cassava's ability to adapt to diverse soils and thrive in challenging climates makes it a precious resource for regions grappling with unpredictable weather and poor soils. Serving as a lifeline, cassava bridges the gap between sustenance and economic prosperity in many communities.
One of the key attributes that make cassava so valuable is its versatility. It can be enjoyed in various forms, from steamed to fried, and even ground into flour for baking. When I was growing up, no barbecue was complete without cassava on the menu. Whether it's accompanied by a delicious garlic mojo, a guacamole- like sauce, or creamy garlic sauce, the earthy taste of cassava never fails to elevate the entire experience. Its satisfying crunch on the outside when fried and delicate interior texture make it a delightful treat that perfectly complements the smoky flavors of grilled meats.Tapioca flour, utilized in a multitude of recipes, originates from the cassava root. Tapioca flour which we use for tons of recipes comes from the cassava root.
Beyond its culinary prowess, cassava is a nutritional powerhouse that boasts an array of vitamins and minerals.
Cassava is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is crucial for maintaining digestive health. This dietary fiber aids in regular bowel movements, preventing constipation—a common concern for women as they navigate hormonal changes. Additionally, cassava's fiber content can help stabilize blood sugar levels, offering a steadying effect on mood and energy.
An essential nutrient found in cassava, holds immense importance for women undergoing pre and post menopause. As our bodies transition through these phases, our immune systems may become more vulnerable. Vitamin C, known for its immune-boosting properties, plays a pivotal role in maintaining overall well-being. It aids in collagen production, contributing to the health of our skin, bones, and blood vessels—a particularly pertinent aspect during the post-menopausal period when the risk of osteoporosis increases.
Cassava contains resistant starch, a type of starch that research indicates might enhance gut well-being by promoting the growth of beneficial gut microbes. Resistant starches maintain their structure as they go through the digestive system.
One of the standout features of cassava is its significant contribution to the intake of vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine. This vitamin is known to assist in managing mood swings and reducing the severity of mood-related symptoms. As women navigate the rollercoaster of hormonal changes, maintaining a stable mood and emotional balance becomes crucial. Vitamin B6 works in tandem with other B vitamins to promote brain health and cognitive function, which are sometimes challenged during menopausal transitions.
Cassava also houses an impressive amount of folate, commonly known as vitamin B9. This nutrient is of particular importance to women of childbearing age and those experiencing menopause. Folate supports the production and maintenance of new cells, playing a key role in the prevention of birth defects during pregnancy. Additionally, folate has been linked to heart health, which becomes a focal point as women approach menopause, given the increased risk of cardiovascular issues.
Gluten Free Sensitivity
Cassava is a nutritious, gluten-free grain alternative that can be used to create flavorful dishes and baked goods. It has llow calorie, fat, and sugar content. In contrast to alternative gluten-free flours like coconut or almond, cassava flour has minimal fat content. Its high water content contributes to a lower calorie density compared to flours like corn, rice, coconut, sorghum, and wheat.
By incorporating cassava into our diets, we can tap into a natural source of nutrients that aligns with our bodies' evolving needs.
Cassava is more than just a root vegetable—it's a cultural treasure that carries within it a wealth of nutritional benefits. Growing up in the Caribbean, I learned to appreciate its versatility and flavor, making it an inseparable part of my culinary experiences. From adding a distinctive touch to barbecues to serving as a source of essential vitamins, cassava stands as a testament to nature's ability to nourish and support us.
We believe everyone deserves to feel their best, regardless of age. If you're looking to prioritize your health as you get older, take a peek at our range of supplements and see how they can help you feel your best.