Cassava: The “Potato” of the Tropics

While the Cassava root may be considered exotic in the West, for centuries it has served as an important food source for indigenous peoples of the ancient world. Many ethnic cultures still eat the cassava root routinely.

This tropical, starchy root vegetable is also known as tapioca, yuca and manioc, depending upon the region where it is cultivated and eaten. Bill Gates describes cassava as “The World’s Most Interesting Vegetable” because it “… tolerates drought, resists most pests … and unlike most crops, can be stored in the ground up to two years without rotting. This long harvest window means cassava can act as a kind of insurance against famine.”

Despite its long history and versatility, the cassava root has only recently made its way into the snack aisles with Wai Lana’s delicious and nutritious lines of cassava chips. Wai Lana’s gluten-free cassava chips are tasty enough to lure even the most die-hard potato chip consumer.

Cassava is eaten by roughly 1 billion people around the world

Traditionally cassava has been used to create a variety of food products in countries around the world including Africa, Indonesia, East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

To a lesser degree, it can be found in Europe and North America in ethnic and specialty stores.

Cassava is prepared and eaten with remarkable versatility.  It is used in much the same way as potatoes are in the West because of its delicate flavor and starchiness.

Being so often compared to the potato, which few Westerner’s would willingly consent to live without, this humble tuber is impressive indeed and is used to create a great many meals and desserts.

A viable alternative for those with wheat allergies or gluten sensitivity

The flour of the cassava root, also known as tapioca flour or tapioca starch, is a very good wheat alternative for those with wheat allergies or celiac disease.

Gluten is the culprit in these diseases and can be difficult to avoid given that it is naturally occurring in many whole grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats.

The number of people, including children, who are experiencing gluten intolerance is on the rise, increasing the demand for gluten-free products.

Anyone who has ever tried to eliminate wheat or gluten from their diet knows what a challenge it can be to find replacement foods that are satisfying and actually taste good.

When made into a snack food, the delicate flavor and crunchy texture of cassava chips make this a welcome alternative.

Wai Lana’s cassava chips contain much less fat than average potato chips, making her cassava chips a snack that even the most diet conscious can afford to indulge in on occasion.

Why cassava is good for you

  • Cassava root contains significant amounts of calcium, dietary fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin b6, and vitamin C
  • Cassava root contains the B-complex vitamins folate, thiamin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
  • As a low-GI food, eating cassava can help moderate blood glucose levels
  • According to the Healthy Home Economist, resistant starches like cassava are, “… a type of starch that does not break down (it literally “resists” digestion), instead of being absorbed as glucose like most starches … the main reason why resistant starch is so beneficial is that it feeds the friendly bacteria in your colon (and) turns them into important short chain fatty acids.”
  • Cassava root is an excellent source of saponins, which may help manage cholesterol levels and reduce acidic levels in the body
  • Cassava is a non-GMO product
  • Cassava chips are an excellent alternative to potato chips because of their distinct flavor and because they contain less fat than regular potato chips

Cassava chips for all!

Bring all the crunchy deliciousness of this snack to your family with a variety of Cassava Chips from Wai Lana, including her classic Wai Lana Chips, available in 6 tempting flavor and her new Superfood Chips, available in Chia or Turmeric Cheese flavors. Look for them at your local health or natural foods store or visit

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