Does Garri Affect the Eyes: All you Need to Know

Garri, a popular staple food in many West African countries, especially Nigeria, is made from cassava tubers. This widely consumed food item has been a subject of various discussions regarding its impact on health. One particular concern that has surfaced is whether garri affects the eyes. In this blog post, we will delve into the components of garri, its nutritional value, and the existing scientific evidence to understand whether there is a valid connection between consuming garri and eye health.

Understanding Garri

Garri is produced through a process that involves peeling, washing, grating, fermenting, and finally, roasting cassava. The final product is a granular flour that can be consumed in various ways, such as making a starchy porridge or using it as a side dish. Cassava, the main ingredient in garri, is rich in carbohydrates, particularly starch, and contains some essential nutrients.

Nutritional Composition

Cassava provides a significant amount of energy due to its high carbohydrate content. It also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium. However, it is essential to note that cassava lacks certain nutrients found in other staple foods, such as protein and some vitamins. The nutritional profile of garri, therefore, reflects the composition of cassava.

Cyanide Poisoning

Cyanide poisoning occurs when the body is exposed to high levels of cyanide, a toxic chemical that prevents cells from using oxygen. It can be fatal and is often associated with symptoms like difficulty breathing, confusion, and seizures. Immediate medical attention is crucial if cyanide poisoning is suspected.

Cassava contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when the cassava is crushed or chewed. Improper processing, such as insufficient fermentation or cooking, may result in elevated cyanide levels in garri. Consuming garri with high cyanide content can lead to cyanide poisoning, causing symptoms like headache, nausea, and, in severe cases, serious health complications. Proper processing methods, like thorough fermentation and cooking, are essential to reduce cyanide levels in cassava products.

Eye Health Concerns

The speculation around garri's potential impact on eye health often revolves around two key aspects: cyanogenic glycosides and nutrient deficiencies. Cassava contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when metabolized. Chronic exposure to cyanide is known to have adverse health effects, but the levels present in properly processed garri are generally considered safe for consumption.

Moreover, the potential nutrient deficiencies associated with cassava-based diets may indirectly impact eye health. A lack of specific vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, zinc, and antioxidants, can contribute to various eye conditions. However, attributing these deficiencies solely to garri consumption may oversimplify a broader dietary issue.

Scientific Evidence

While some anecdotal claims suggest a connection between garri consumption and eye problems, scientific evidence on this topic is limited. Comprehensive studies exploring the specific impact of garri on eye health are scarce. Most studies focus on broader aspects of cassava consumption and its potential effects on health.


The available evidence does not convincingly support a direct link between consuming garri and adverse effects on eye health. However, it is crucial to approach this issue with nuance and consider the broader context of a person's diet. A well-balanced and varied diet is essential for overall health, including eye health. If individuals have concerns about their eyes or overall well-being, consulting with a healthcare professional is always advisable for personalized advice and guidance.

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