Garri: Health Benefits and Health Effects
Gari also known as cassava flakes is a creamy-white, granular flour. It is a popular West African food made from cassava tubers. Gari is widely consumed in Nigeria and many other West African countries owing to its availability and affordability. Garri as a water soaked snack is called ‘garium sulphate’ It can be mixed with cold water for a snack; sugar or salt may be added, and sometimes some evaporated milk. It is used to make a gruel called “fufu” in Nigeria. You can also use it for a starch side dish as you would rice, or couscous. Garri when prepared on heat and hot water is called Eba a name common among Ibo speaking people of Nigeria. Eba is gari sprinkled into a pot of boiling water, and stirred until a dough is formed. This is served in balls and taken in soups or, with other dishes.
Nutritional Value of Garri
Gari contains lots of nutrients that are useful and beneficial to our health. The nutrient found in garri are:
- Sodium 417 mg
- Total Fat2 g
- Potassium 0 mg
- Saturated2 g
- Total Carbs 80 g
- Polyunsaturated0 g
- Dietary Fiber 12 g
- Monounsaturated0 g
- Sugars 0 g
- Trans 0 g Protein 2 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Vitamin A 0%
- Calcium 0%
- Vitamin C 0% Iron
How To Make Garri From Cassava
Garri (Cassava Flour) is made from Raw Cassava. Cassava is a tuber crop, which contains very high level of starch, and is processed in many ways to get an edible end-product. Below is a step by step process on how to make garri.
– After you have gotten your cassava tuber from the farm, Peel off the skin and in doing so try as much as possible not to peel too deep into it.
– The next step is to Wash the peeled tubers. Try to wash with a lot of water to remove sand, because this is the only washing you are going to do.
– Cut the tubers into medium sizes. Smaller sizes increases the speed. Then you ground in a grounding machine
– After the grinding, the cassava powder will still be watery and need to be packed in long bags and taken to be drilled to promote ultimate dryness in a jack for 2-3 days.
– When its dried use a wide sieve to sieve off the fine cassava powder from other particles.
– The next step is to fry using a wide frying pan, fry the powder in reasonable portions until it becomes dry and brittle.
– Sun dry your garri in a clean environment to reduce the effect of bacteria that may lead to spoilage.
The last and final step is to pack your garri in a dry and convenient place where you can take from when you want to eat.
Health Benefits and Effects of Garri on the body
Apart from being a rich source of energy owing to its carbohydrate content, garri is also a good source of fiber which help promote bowel emptying and prevent stomach cancer. The main side effect of garri consumption is related to the cyanide content of cassava from which garri is produced.
Garri is made from cassava which is known to contain hydrocyanic acid. Although the processing process of garri significantly reduces it’s Cyanide content, it has been linked to eye defects which is the main disadvantage of garri consumption. According to Dr. Ben Ajayi a Ophthalmologist, “Cyanide is slightly similar in structure to Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) So it competes with Vitamin B12 replacing it and adversely affecting rapidly growing tissues or tissues that are regularly being renewed such as the skin, peripheral nerves and the nerve of the eye (optic nerve). It is the involvement of optic nerve which can lead to eye defects and blindness. A study which evaluated the cyanide concentration of six garri samples in Nigeria Published in the World Journal of Nutrition and Health revealed that, four of the samples analysed contained cyanide in the range of 2.10-9.10 mgHCN/kg which falls well below the permissible limit while the remaining two samples had higher residual cyanide content of 11.78 and 15.30mgHCN/kg which is above the permissible limit of 10.0mgHCN/kg set by the World health Organization WHO. It is also important to note that, garri that is not properly processed or stored can also constitute a major threat to public health. A study conducted by The Makerere University Medical school and Published in the African Journal of health sciences which analyzed garri from different states revealed that garri contains eight bacteria genera namely (Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, Clostridium, Salmonella Klebsiella and Coliforms groups) genera and six fungi genera (Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhizopus, Botrytls, Fusarium and Cladosporium) In addition to Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2.
Garri and Weight Loss
Carbohydrates are known to increase weight gain and cassava from which garri is produced is not different. A cup of garri contains about 360 calories, out of which 99% is carbohydrate. As such, consuming excess garri is detrimental to your weight loss goals.