Is Cassava Roots (Tapioca) Safe During Pregnancy?

7 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Cassava Roots During PregnancyA nutrient-rich, well-rounded diet is essential for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. For that, you should incorporate a wide range of foods from all the food groups. This includes root vegetables as well. Root vegetables are an inexpensive way of getting the much-needed nutrients during pregnancy. In this article, we discuss the safety and benefits of having cassava roots during pregnancy.

Cassava root is quite popular in most states across India. It is quite high in vitamin C, a rich source of antioxidants, and improves collagen production. For this reason, eating cassava can have many benefits for pregnant women.

In This Article

Video Of  Safety Of Cassava Root During Pregnancy

What is Cassava Root?

Cassava is a starchy, versatile root vegetable grown in tropical regions of the world. It is a major staple food in developing countries. It can be consumed in different ways. You can cook the whole root and make several yummy dishes. You can also prepare cassava flour by grating, sun drying, and powdering cassava root. This flour can be used in bread, soups, cakes, and crackers.

What is the Nutritional Value of Cassava Root?

Broadly speaking, raw cassava is about 60% water, 38% carbohydrates, and around 1% protein. The fat content of this root vegetable is negligible.

Here is the nutritional value of raw cassava root. 100 grams of cassava root also provide the following vitamins and minerals:

Nutrients Value
Calories 160 Kcal
Carbs 38 grams
Fibers 1 gram
Protein 1.4 grams
Vitamin C 34% of RDI
Thiamine 7% of RDI
Folate 7% of RDI
Pyridoxine 7% of RDI
Riboflavin 4% of RDI
Niacin 5% of RDI
Magnesium 5% of RDI
Phosphorous 4% of RDI
Iron 3% of RDI
Zinc 3% of RDI

Does Cooking Affect the Nutritional Value of Cassava Roots?

Yes. Peeling, chopping, and cooking cassava will bring down its nutritional value significantly. Yet, it is not at all safe to eat raw cassava as it has some poisonous properties.

Is Eating Cassava Safe During Pregnancy?

Eating cassava during pregnancy is safe in the following conditions

  • Cook well before eating
  • Exercise moderation
  • Speak with your doctor before adding cassava to your diet.

Overconsumption and consuming undercooked cassava roots are extremely harmful during pregnancy.

Is Eating Cassava Chips Safe During Pregnancy?

Is Eating Cassava Chips Safe During Pregnancy?

A chemical called Acrylamide is produced naturally while cooking starch-rich food at high temperatures (like frying). Acrylamide is potentially harmful to unborn babies. Cassava chips fall under this group. You can have a bite occasionally if you crave it. However, over-consumption and frequent consumption of any kind of chips should be avoided during pregnancy.

What is the Safest Quantity of Cassava Root to Consume During Pregnancy?

Moderation is the key. A recommended serving size of cassava root is about 1/3–1/2 cup at a time. It should be well cooked and you should eat it only once in a while.

Are the Products Made From Cassava Roots Safe During Pregnancy?

Sabudana and cassava flour are two important products made from cassava roots. Both are safer when compared to cooked cassava roots. This is because, during the process of making these products, most of the harmful chemicals are eliminated from the cassava root.

Does Cassava Increase the Chances of Twins?

Yes, according to studies, intake of cassava root supplements when trying to conceive increases the chances of conceiving twins. It is also found that after taking concentrated Cassava Supplements the odds of conceiving twins can rise up to 50%. The hyper ovulation property of this root vegetable is behind this occurrence. Therefore, it is excellent to enhance overall fertility as well.

What are the Benefits of Cassava Roots During Pregnancy?

health benefits cassava root during pregnancy

Following are some top benefits of eating cassava root during pregnancy:

1. High in Resistant Starch

Cassava root is high in resistant starch, which is highly beneficial for metabolic health. It improves insulin sensitivity and thereby helps to maintain blood sugar levels. It promotes gut health as well.

2. Boosts Energy Levels

Being rich in carbohydrates, cassava roots help to boost the energy level of the expecting mother.

3. Enhance the Eye Health Of Pregnant Women

It contains Vitamin A which is very beneficial for the eyesight of the expecting mother.

4. Enhance the Fetal Bone Formation

Cassava is a source of essential minerals like calciumpotassium, magnesium, and phosphorous. These minerals are vital for maintaining the bone health of the mother and bone formation of the fetus.

5. Free From Gluten

Cassava roots are free from gluten and hence can be used by expecting mothers who are experiencing the celiac disease.

6. Rich in Folic Acid

Folic acid is very important for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Cassava roots are rich in folic acid and help to prevent neural tube defects in babies.

7. Rich in Vitamin C

Being rich in vitamin C, cassava is highly beneficial for immunity during pregnancy.

What are the Side Effects of Cassava Root During Pregnancy?

In spite of holding vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial during pregnancy, cassava roots have some side effects that should not be overlooked.

1. Contains Anti-Nutrients

This is the major drawback of this root vegetable. Anti-nutrients are compounds that may get in the way of digestion and hinder the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. This side effect becomes prevalent in those who do over, frequent, and sole consumption of cassava roots.

2. Chances of Cyanide Poisoning

Raw cassava contains chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides. These chemicals are capable of releasing cyanide into the body. Therefore, over or regular consumption can result in cyanide poisoning which can bring about adverse symptoms and sometimes can turn deadly.

3. High in Calories

Cassava roots are high in calories. In fact, its calorie level is very high when compared to other root vegetables. Intake of high-calorie foods is associated with weight gain and obesity.

Selecting and Storing Cassava

Cassava will be available year-round in Asian markets. Always ensure to buy fresh ones and to cook them within 10 days of purchase.

How to Select Cassava

Select cassava roots that are:

  • Fresh and firm
  • Have no blemishes or soft spots
  • Has no cuts or breaks in the skin
  • Have a nice smell
  • Appear snowy white center when cut open.
  • Not old stock

How to Store Cassava

You can store,

  • Peeled cassava covered with water in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  • Whole cassava in a cool, dark place, until one week.
  • While storing cut, fresh cassava in the refrigerator, always remember to change the water daily.

[Read: 12 Amazing Benefits Of Ginger During Pregnancy]

How Do You Know if Cassava is Bad?

You can find it out from the smell and appearance itself. If the cassava roots have brown soft spots and a putrid smell and any signs of decaying or being rotten, never cook or buy those ones.

How to Safely Prepare Cassava For Consumption During Pregnancy?

How to Safely Prepare Cassava For Consumption During Pregnancy?

Peeling and soaking cassava in the right manner is very important for safe consumption during pregnancy.

1. Peel

Most of the cyanide-producing compounds are present in the outer skin of cassava roots. Therefore, peel its outer skin up until you see the inner white part.

2. Soak

After peeling, washing, and slicing, soak the cassava root overnight in salt water to bring down the concentration of harmful chemicals in it. You can even add turmeric, which is highly beneficial in eliminating toxins if you don’t mind the cooked cassava roots looking yellowish.

3. Remove the Core

Always remove the core of the cassava root before cooking.

4. Cook Well

Make sure the cassava roots are well cooked before consuming. Boil the cassava roots well in salt water. This will help to remove the harmful chemicals from the cassava roots. Discard the water in which you boiled the cassava roots. In this way, you can minimize the presence of harmful chemicals.

5. Combine With Protein

Proteins help our body to get rid of toxins. Cassava root has relatively small amounts of protein. Therefore, eat a combo of cooked and mashed cassava roots with some protein food. It goes very well with fish and meat.

6. Do Not Solely Rely on It

Never ever rely solely on this cooked root. You can have it with other varieties of foods or as a side dish.

Incorporating Cassava Into the Pregnancy Diet

You can incorporate cassava into your pregnancy diet in one of the following ways

  • Prepare cassava root dishes the same way as you prepare potato dishes. Cook it well and mash it and prepare stir-fries.
  • Use it as a thickener while preparing vegetable soups.
  • Make cutlets.
  • Prepare crackers and bread with cassava flour.

Even though beneficial, the risks posed by cassava roots prevail over their advantages. Therefore, cassava is not supposed to be a part of your pregnancy diet, even if you can eat well-cooked cassava roots in moderation once in a while during the gestation period.

[Read: Eating Turnips During Pregnancy]


1. Do Gluten-Free Products Contain Tapioca?

Tapioca is gluten-free. Hence tapioca flour is used in producing many gluten-free products. If you are worried about consuming tapioca during pregnancy, check the ingredients.

2. Can I Eat Cassava After the Delivery?

No, it is not recommended. As the cassava root has many negative properties, it is not considered very safe. It can negatively impact your baby’s thyroid.

3. Can I Increase My Cassava Intake if I Want to Get Pregnant With Twins?

No, please don’t. Consuming cassava is known to increase the “chance” of having twins. It is no guarantee. The side effects of consuming too much cassava roots are more than this benefit it could possibly offer.

4. What Should I do, if I Crave Cassava During Pregnancy?

Try to limit your intake. Consume some protein-rich foods along with the cassava. Protein can help remove the toxins you ingest through cassava.

Read Also: Is It Safe To Eat Potatoes During Pregnancy?

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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