Garri or Cassava flakes is one of the most consumed foods in Nigeria. It is consumed by almost all ethnic groups in Nigeria and other ethnic groups in other African countries. Garri is usually taken with traditional soups like Egusi soup, Okra soup, and Ede Soup.
Eating Garri will provide many health benefits to your body as the food is packed with many beneficial nutrients. There are different types of garri which have different nutrient values. This is because they are fermented and prepared differently.
Below are the types of Garri:
White Garri: if the cassava is processed and fermented for a short period of time, the result will be white garri. The problem with consuming white garri is that it is more likely to contain high amounts of harmful compounds like cyanide that could lead to health problems.
Ijebu Garri: This garri is made from a longer preparation and fermentation process. This type of garri usually has smaller amounts of harmful compounds due to the long preparation process.
Ghana Garri: This type of garri is prepared in the same manner as Ijebu garri.
Garri is usually moistened into a dough called Eba. The eba is served with soup which is the most popular way garri is consumed. Garri can also be consumed by taking it with cool water, groundnut, and sugar. These ingredients are mixed in a plate or bowl to form a delicious delicacy.
Health Benefits of Garri
The nutritional value of any food tells you how beneficial the food will be. A food that has many beneficial nutrients will offer more benefits to the body, than one which has fewer beneficial nutrients.
Garri is one of those foods that have a good number of beneficial nutrients, however, it has a really high amount of carbohydrates which could lead to weight gain if the garri is consumed in excess.
Promotes Digestive Health
Garri is a rich source of dietary fibre which is a very important nutrient necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Fibre works by keeping waste moving through the digestive system, thus preventing constipation. However, you would have to drink a lot of water for it to perform this function properly.
Fibre can also prevent several gut-related problems if consumed in the right amounts. One of such problems is diverticulitis, which is characterized by the trapping of water by the pouches in the wall of the colon. It can easily be prevented by taking a high-fibre diet.
This condition if left unattended can lead to inflammation or infection which could cause other serious health problems. By taking a high fibre diet, the waste in your system keeps moving and your chances of developing the condition are reduced.
The effect of fibre on the digestive system can help ease the symptoms of several digestive diseases. However, consuming too much fibre wouldn’t do your body any good. When taking in high amounts it could overwhelm your gut and lead to cramping and bloating.
Another compound in garri that aids in digestion is resistant starch. This compound works in a similar way as dietary fibre.
Boosts the Immune System
Cassava is a rich source of vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system and maintain the overall good health of the body. These minerals and vitamins are also present in garri, however, in smaller amounts. One of these nutrients is vitamin B2 (riboflavin).
Vitamin B2 performs many functions in the body than just boosting the immune system. It aids in the breaking down of other nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also allows oxygen to be used by the body.
It is important for eye health and aids in the developing and function of the skin, blood cells and many other vital organs of the body.
Builds and Maintains Strong Healthy Bones
To build and maintain strong healthy bones, the body needs a good amount of calcium which is usually supplied through the foods we eat. Garri is one of those foods that have a good amount of calcium that aids in bone health.
Consuming calcium is very important as the lack of this nutrient can lead to bones diseases later in life. Calcium also aids in other functions like muscle contraction, blood coagulation, and promoting the efficiency of enzymes in the body.
Promotes Eye Health
The main nutrient that acts to promote eye health is vitamin A and the deficiency of this nutrient can lead to eye problems like night blindness. However, other nutrients like vitamin B2 are also beneficial for eye health.
Vitamin B2 not only promotes eye health but also prevents you from developing eye diseases such as cataracts.
The benefits of this vitamin can only be attained if consumed in the proper amounts. So, ensure that you keep the amount you consume in check.
Note, however, that poorly processed garri can be poisonous to the eyes, due to its cyanide content.
Provides the Body with Energy
Carbohydrates provide most of the energy needed by the body. They provide the fuel needed for your brain, heart muscles, kidney, and nervous system to operate. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars (glucose) in the body and absorbed into the bloodstream.
This energy is used when we perform our daily activities which are why a deficiency in carbohydrates leads to weakness and the inability to focus on tasks.
Garri is a rich source of carbohydrates, in fact, it is the most abundant nutrient in the food. The high carbohydrate content makes it a great food to consume for those who lack enough carbohydrates in their diet. However, excess carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat.
Coupled with a reduction in physical activity and higher consumption of junk food, this can lead to weight gain which could be very hard to lose.
Garri also contains other nutrients like phosphorus and vitamin B1 which performs the following functions
- Builds and maintains strong bones
- Grow and repair cells and tissue
- Boosts vital body parts such as the brain, muscles, stomach, heart, and intestines
While garri provides a lot of health benefits, it will be counterproductive if you consume too much of this food as it could lead to weight gain and several other health complications.