gari and the health benefit of gari
Garri: The Health Benefits Effects
What is Gari?
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. Click to see  The 4 Healthiest Nigerian Food According To Scientists
 
 Is Gari Healthy?
Nutritional Value of Garri Food 

Gari contains lots of nutrients that are useful and beneficial to our health. The nutrient found in garri are:Sodium, magnesium, Potassium, Dietary Fiber.

How To Make Garri From Cassava
Garri (Cassava Flour) is made from Raw Cassava. Cassava is a tuber crop, which contains a 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 increase 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 
There are several benefits and effects of soaking garri , Apart from being a rich source of energy owing to its carbohydrate content, garri is also a good source of fiber according to garri nutrition facts, which helps 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. See: Healthy Nigerian Meals Time Table
Garri is made from cassava which is known to contain hydrocyanic acid. Although the processing process of garri significantly reduces its 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

“Carbs” are a hotly-debated topic, especially in the weight loss world, due in part to diets such as the Atkins, Dukan, South Beach and Ketogenic Diet. The idea that “carbs are bad” has left many people confused about carbohydrates and their importance for our health, including maintaining a healthy weight. Some evidence suggests low-carb, high protein diets may lead to greater weight loss in the short term. However, very low carbohydrate, high protein diets may not be safe in the long term. There is limited evidence to suggests that  garri is associated with increased body weight. Generally carbohydrates are known to influence 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. See Why Fatty Fish Oil is Very Important for Your Health

Sodium 

Garri contains Sodium an extremely important electrolyte and an essential ion present in the extracellular fluid (ECF). One of the health benefits of sodium is the pivotal role it plays in enzyme operations and muscle contraction. It is very important for osmoregulation and fluid maintenance within the human body. Other health benefits include improved heart performance, nervous system, and glucose absorption.Sodium is needed for blood regulation and its absence can cause serious impairment of bodily functions. It is a versatile element and occurs in more than eighty different forms. As an electrolyte, it regulates the bodily fluids and transmits electrical impulses in the body.

 

Dietary Fiber

one of the major health  benefits of garri is linked to its dietary fiber content.  Dietary fiber are mainly associated with the human digestive tract. However, its health benefits also include relief from high cholesterol, heart problems, diabetes, obesity, and toxicity, hemorrhoids, and skin conditions. Fiber plays a very important role in digestion and helps prevent constipation, diarrhea, diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome. It makes the food bulkier and further aids in glucose absorption so that sugar enters the blood cells at a slow and even pace, maintaining normal blood sugar levels. It also produces vital organic acids that help nurture the lining of the colon.

 

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for life. The Potassium content of garri  is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally. Most people who eat a healthy diet should get enough potassium naturally. Low potassium is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility. For people with low potassium, doctors sometimes recommend improved diets — or potassium supplements — to prevent or treat some of these conditions

 

Magnesium 

Garri contains magnesium. One of the health benefits of magnesium include prevention of constipation, eclamptic seizures, and asthma. It keeps your nerves, muscles, and bones healthy. It also helps in protein synthesis and cellular metabolism. Magnesium is vital for sustaining a normal heartbeat and is used by doctors to treat irregularities in the heart rhythm. Other health benefits include its positive impact on reducing osteoporosis, and maintenance of sugar level, as well as its favorable effects on diabetes, back pain, and various psychiatric disorders.

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Public Health Nigeria an Interdisciplinary public health movement focused on health education, advancing fair public health policies, promoting fitness, healthy diets, responsible behavior, community health and general well-being.

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