HEALTH BENEFITS OF FERMENTED CASSAVA FLOUR (ijebu Garri) - Grace Ngo Foundation

Health, Knowledge, Natural Food Matters

Monday, 1 May 2017

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FERMENTED CASSAVA FLOUR (ijebu Garri)



INTRODUCTION

What  do we mean by the word ‘FERMENTED’ It actually comes from the word “Ferment”  which is simply a process of keeping some natural foods  over some nights either for a night, two nights or several days and nights as the case may be in order to allow bacterial act on them. 
Fermentation of foods is an ancient way practiced several years ago by our ancestors with the intention of preserving those foods to stay longer.  Various cultures and nations of the world have different fermentation types and methods common with them.  However in Nigeria and most west African countries, fermentation of grains such as corn, millet, sorghum appears to be more popular. 

Although our ancestors and grand parents practised  fermentation a great deal, yet due to the absence of scientific research and education, most of them were not very much aware of the huge benefits derived from the practice.  Most of them lived to riped age without suffering some of the degenerating diseases common with us today.  Today, it is now becoming clearer as events unfold that though they had no refrigerators, micro wave ovens, deep freezers and the like as we do today, the absence of these scientific gadgets may have  actually been instrumental to their longevity.


I have written earlier on the benefits of fermentation.  However, in this subject, I am focusing on the benefits of fermented cassava flour (Garri Ijebu) which is a popular staple among Nigerians and some west African countries.  

Garri as it is popularly called  was being relegated to the background, until recently when Foundations such as this began awareness creation on  such subjects and health benefits of our traditional diets like fermented garri.  We are encouraged to return to our traditional recipes like fermented foods.

It is made by harvesting, grating , fermenting and drying the fibrous cassava root, or frying it after days of fermentation to produce a fine grain that can easily be soaked and drunk in cold water or prepared with hot water to get your swallow (Eba)

It is a handy snack for quick energy that can be chewed or carried about in case you wish to stay away from other white flours or pastas, noodles or biscuits.  It is lower in calorie after the fermentation and frying.  It is also low in sodium. 

Specifically, the regime of Obasanjo during his tenure encouraged the use of cassava  by manufacturers in productions  such as bread, many resisted it, kicked against including my humble self, but I believe most of us were ignorant,  but now we know better, and would rather encourage bakers to go back.  If you have ever managed a diabetic patient  from the standpoint of nutrition, you will agree with me that fermented cassava flour is far superior  to white bread or flour in terms of glycemic response and sugar control.  When it comes to diabetes, especially when taken in moderation  with either nut or dried fish in moderation and occasionally in its well fermented state, you will agree with me that its more reliable than white bread or other carbs like yam.

If you are looking for a gluten-free food rich in energy and fibre without fats and oils, then look no further. 


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