Many Nigerians including students patronize this dried “African cornflakes” called garri (aka Garium sulphates)soaked in water as a fast food almost the same way a white man will enjoy his cigarette smoking during winter. No thanks to the ongoing economic recession in our country which have not helped matters at all. Some individuals in our country today now go for the most available food rather than the more nutritious and beneficial meal without any in-depth knowledge of the health implications involved. I cside effects of garri drinkingan’t readily forget my first incidence of drinking garri as a sophomore back then in the university when my roommate and I had no choice then, than to consume this roasted processed cassava for more than a week. This was prior to getting our cooking utensils, condiments and other necessities in preparation for a new academic session.     Read also  Facts you are not sick but need water!

Within this short while, there were tremendous changes in our health most especially our eyes which forced us to stop this routine behavior although for a brief period. This actually led me to conduct some findings on the dangers associated with drinking garri.

Garri consumption is as essential as anything among the people of West Africa like Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Benin Republic and others. It is the food of a common man as it is locally produced. Garri drinking gained its significance not just as a result of its cheapness and readily accessibility or indigenous form of food but also as a staple which requires combination of groundnut, sugar, fish, coconut, or processed items like Kulikuli and water for its preparation and consumption.  Nonetheless, the consumption of this renowned grain called garri has been linked to health defects like Blurred vision, blindness, cough, headache, dizziness, anaemia among others. Above all, the issues of eye defects have made some people enemies to drinking of garri.
The reason for these dangers is due to presence of an organic acid called Hydrocyanic acid in garri gotten from inadequate processing of garri from cassava as the latter has excess amount of hydrocyanic acid, which according to the WHO is about 10ppm in poorly processed garri. Moreover, its constant and continuous consumption may bring about the accumulation of this acid and in this way prompt its antagonistic effects.
how to minimize drinking garri
The highly corrosive nature of this acid in cassava could be better understood using the water extract from cassava which destroys plants due to its concentrated form.  Apart from eye problems associated with drinking garri, this organic acid also causes intestinal cramps and even worsen ulcer in many individuals. Same goes to other cassava by- products which when not properly processed can trigger more harm to the consumer than good.

This article therefore advocates that:

  •   Our garri producers should understand the proper techniques involved in processing garri and adequate quality control measures should be stressed by relevant authorities involved.
  •  Consumers of these “African cornflakes” should resort to occasional rather than habitual garri drinking which posses adverse effect on the long run. Other foods like sweet potatoes are also rich sources of carbohydrate and presently in Nigeria, they are cheaper when compared to garri.

Conclusively, one may be wondering what to do after knowledge of these side effects. It’s quite known that many Nigerians love this staple food called garri, I really do too but there is need to take precautionary measures in order to curb any negative health problem associated with it. Thus as the popular adage goes “moderation is key”, it’s therefore very pertinent that we moderate our rate of garri drinking today!