Cassava is a good source of saponins. These phytochemicals may help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. They do so by binding to the bile acids and cholesterol, thus preventing them from being absorbed through the small intestines. The antioxidant effects of saponins may help protect your cells from damage by free radicals. A study by scientists at Tianjin University published in the October 2010 issue of Fitoterapia also found that saponins may help prevent cancer.