Tapioca can be consumed in its natural form after proper cooking process, but it also comes in several culinary forms such as pearls, flakes and pellets that are multifunction because they can be used for a variety of desserts. Extracted from the cassava plant roots, tapioca is now used around the world for cooking due to its function in thickening liquid for soups or jams and creating gluten-free pies or cakes. While the functions are abundant, there are also many health benefits to take from this nice ingredient, so you can explore more of your creativity to get more ideas of making tapioca dessert later.
Tapioca Nutrition Values
The highest nutrition can be found in tapioca is carbohydrates, which is even said that tapioca is mostly carbohydrate with around 159 grams for every one cup. Moreover, the calories are higher with 544 calories in one cup serving. So if you want to gain weight, tapioca is very great for you. This fruit can help you add more weight with the high amount of calories and carbohydrates.
Sodium is not good for your health, but tapioca has only a little amount of sodium, 2 grams in one cup, which makes this great for decreasing high blood pressure risk. Moreover, this is free from cholesterol. You don’t need to worry about any buildup of fat in the heart because eating tapioca will give you no cholesterol.
Those who don’t like milk might have problems in providing enough calcium intake for their bodies, but they can actually get this important mineral for the bones from tapioca as well. Tapioca is easy to cook for different desserts, so filling your body with calcium would be more interesting.
Containing iron, tapioca is excellent for treating anemia since it helps stimulating red blood cells production. Simply eating tapioca can provide your body 13 percent if required iron intake daily. Also, tapioca can support the oxygen and blood circulation in the body.
The one gram amount of fiber in every one cup of tapioca is helpful in supporting the digestive system health. It can be used for addressing some digestive system problems like upset stomach and prevent constipation.
Vegetarians who find it hard to fill their bodies with enough amount of protein can put tapioca into consideration since this is providing that nutrient. Protein is very important for your body as it supports the muscle health and strengthens it.
Tapioca Benefits for health could be the best staple food replace rice. Consuming tapioca is commonly done by turning it into pudding or bubble tea, but there are also many other interesting ways you can explore. With the several options of recipes to try, you can also get some health benefits by eating tapioca and it makes creating a healthy lifestyle easier.
- Supporting Digestive Health
Digestive health is always connected with fiber since these two things can’t be separated. Containing a good amount of fiber, tapioca is good for maintaining the health of your digestive system. It can cool and improve the system since tapioca is easy to digest. Not only preventing some common digestive problems such as constipation and bloating, this can even prevent colorectal cancer by keeping the digestive system healthy.
The bonus is tapioca also scrapes the fat or cholesterol left on the blood vessels and arteries walls in the heart, making it useful for preventing strokes or heart disease. However, this is not a good source of fiber because the amount is very little and you can even get zero amount of fiber depending on how much you consume it.
- Gaining Weight
While some people are struggling hard for losing weight, some others are experiencing the same effort for gaining weight. The health risk of overweight and underweight is the same, so don’t feel relived being too slim since it can lead to some diseases as well. You don’t need to take supplements to gain some weight since there is a much more natural method, eating tapioca.
The high amount of carbohydrate in tapioca is effective in helping you gain some weight healthily. With zero amount of fat and cholesterol, tapioca is a great option for healthy gain weight without increasing the bad cholesterol level in your body. This is also an ideal solution for those who are suffering from eating disorders. This cheap and healthy food is a great option to help you get more weights without putting too much effort.
- Supporting Bone Health
The amount of iron and calcium in tapioca is a great source of nutrients for your bones. They can protect the bones from any damage as you are aging. Some bone-health issues such as osteoporosis can be prevented and the bones density can be maintained. Iron and calcium are also helpful in keeping you energized, so eating tapioca regularly would be great for your bones and body.
- Increasing Blood Circulation
Still because of its amount of iron, tapioca prevents iron-deficiency diseases like anemia since it can help the body creating red blood cells. Anemia is a condition where your body is lacking of iron and it leads to fatigue, weakness, exhaustion and other symptoms. The increasing red blood cells in the body can support proper oxygen and blood circulation, which results in better functioning of some organ systems.
- Controlling Blood Pressure
Not only calcium, tapioca also contains important mineral, potassium. This essential mineral plays a very important role in supporting the health of human body since it can relax the tension of the arteries and blood vessels, preventing them from getting stress.
It means that the blood can be properly delivered to the other parts in your body reducing cardiovascular system from straining. This is a good condition because any stuck blood clots can be prevented resulting in a lower risk of strokes and heart disease. Moreover, tapioca also contains sodium that can balance the potassium to maintain the body’s fluid for supporting energy and metabolism.
- Boosting Energy
Feeling fatigue happens to everyone and this is not a chronic disease unless there are other symptoms that indicate certain illness in your body. People tend to eat calorie-packed and sugary foods or drinks to boost their energy since sugar plays important role in restoring it. However, such foods usually contain high fats and cholesterol, which means you are not only boosting your energy, but your cholesterol level at the same time.
With its richness in carbohydrates and zero amount of cholesterol, tapioca can be the best option as an energy booster. You can feel more energized without adding fat to your body. Moreover, it can also keep you full longer with its fiber so that you can stop from carving something sweet. Consuming tapioca is an easy and quick way to recharger your energy for facing your day.
- Preventing Birth Defect
Vitamin B complex and folic acid contained in tapioca can support the fetus development during pregnancy resulting in birth defects prevention. This makes tapioca a good food to consume for pregnant women.
- Helping Muscle Growth
With the high amount of protein in tapioca, this food can support the growth density of your muscle. Some muscle-related problems can be also prevented with regular consumption. This is also a solution for those who don’t eat meat or fish so often and suffer from lacking of protein. Tapioca is cheaper and easier to consume, so you can now fill your body with its required protein.
- Improving Mental Health
While vitamin K is good for the bones, this vitamin is also excellent for mental health. The neuronal activity can be stimulated with vitamin K, which means Alzheimer’s risk can be also reduced. As you are getting older, there is lacking of activity in the brain that leads to Alzheimer, but vitamin K allows the neural pathways active while protecting the brain tissues from free radicals.
- Boosting Mood
Tapioca is extremely rich in carbohydrates, which according to some researchers, carbs can increase serotonin production. Serotonin is a kind of chemical in the brain that stimulates a good feeling. It means that eating carbohydrates can make your mood feel better. This is also showed in a study that those who eat low carbs tend to get more anxiety and depression. Eating more carbohydrates and reducing the amount of fat, which is closely related to tapioca with its richness in carbs and being zero of fat, can boost your mood.
- Keeping You Full
Usually you need to eat wheat-contained foods to make your stomach feeling full, but wheat is containing gluten. Being gluten-free makes tapioca better than wheat. This is also containing high amount of carbohydrates, which means you can make your stomach full without stuffing it with gluten. Moreover, this is zero cholesterol so that you don’t need to worry about adding fat to your body.
- Being Low in Sodium
Sodium is needed by your body, but the intake should be watched out. Too much sodium intake can increase blood pressure and this condition leads to several diseases. Being low in sodium makes tapioca a good ingredient for making desserts or dishes. You can cut down the amount of salt if necessary to make your dishes even lower in sodium.
- Various Cooking Uses
Using tapioca starch for cooking is fun and easy as it has many functions for different kinds of foods like pies, desserts, chips and many others. The starch is also used to thicken pudding, jams or soups. When you add the flour to your dessert recipe the taste would be chewier, which is good if you tend to make it that way. You can even find more other ideas for cooking with tapioca in many kinds of its forms.
- Being Gluten-Free
Those who are suffering from gluten intolerance are not able to eat cakes or breads containing gluten, but when they are made of tapioca flour, which is gluten free, there is nothing to worry about. This is the best thing from tapioca that can make it a great option for not only those with gluten-free intolerance, but also the people who want to cut their gluten intake.
- Having Bland Taste
One of the reasons why tapioca has many kinds of uses in cooking is because its bland taste. The neutral taste makes it easier to blend with many other flavors and ingredients. This can be well incorporated with the taste of the dishes it is added without breaking down the dishes’ original taste. Whether you add it to your favorite sweet desserts or salty dishes, tapioca will not interfere with the taste. When you use potato starch or buckwheat flour, which are also gluten-free, they can make changes in the flavor and even the texture of the added dishes.
- Treating Fatigue
Although the amount of iron in tapioca is relatively small, this is still a good thing to eat when you feel fatigue since iron influences the hemoglobin. So when you feel exhausted or tired without any reason, you can eat tapioca because this is cheap and easy to find. Just don’t depend on it in increasing the iron intake because there are many other kinds of foods much richer in iron than tapioca.
- Carrying Oxygen
The ability of iron in carrying oxygen throughout the body while maintaining proper blood pressure makes it a good source for helping wound healing. So if you are feeling painful in your wounds, make the healing faster by consuming iron. Tapioca also contains a small amount of iron in one cup and you can use it to make your favorite desserts combined with other iron-rich ingredients such as whole grains, dairy products, beans, legumes and many others.
Tapioca Side Effects
- It Can Be Poisonous
Tapioca comes from cassava that has a high risk of poisonous effect if not cooked or processed properly. When it is already in forms of tapioca, it is safe. You can use it directly for making your favorite dessert. However, be careful in eating the fruit forms since there is cyanide inside, which is a poisonous compound that could be harmful for your body. You shouldn’t just cook any wild cassava that you find around you without knowing how to do that properly. It is best to not cook it if you never experienced with such thing.
- Lacking of Nutrient
It is true that tapioca is packed with many kinds of vitamins and minerals, but most of them come in a very small amount in every one serving. The calorie is the highest amount of nutrient in tapioca. So if you need more nutrients you need to eat more, but eating more will add more calories to your body. This is also not good to overeat foods since each of them always carry some side effects. Even the amount of iron in tapioca depends on the brand of tapioca product you are using. If you are lucky, some grams can be achieved, but if you are not, there is very small amount of nutrients you can benefit.
How to Eat Tapioca
- Tapioca Pudding
This is the most common dessert recipe using tapioca since this ingredient is good in thickening fluid, making pudding tastes creamier. Just mix tapioca with sugar, milk and salt and bring them into boil. This is easier to use quick-cooking tapioca, but the regular one is also able to use after an overnight soaking. After that, the soaked tapioca should be also cooked for two hours using a slow cooker to let the tapioca reaches the most appropriate consistency.
- Tapioca for Jam or Jelly
Still talking about its thickening ability, tapioca is a good ingredient to use in jellies or jams. When you make your own jam or jelly, stir in tapioca at the end phase of the cooking to ensure that it is not overcooked. Cooking tapioca too long will make it lose its flavor.
- Tapioca as Thickener
Making your own fillings for pie is fun since it could be much healthier and easier to suit with your tongue. Tapioca is helpful in thickening your filling. Not only pie filling, stews and soups can be also thickened simply adding small amount of tapioca. When used as a thickener, tapioca should be soaked allowed to soak in first to let it blend well with the dish for a while without making it stays too long.
At the end, tapioca is a good option for a gluten-free diet, but it contains mostly carbohydrates with only small amount of protein, minerals, fiber and vitamins. You can’t depend on tapioca when you need high level of nutrients, but you can use tapioca for just improving the taste of your dish or dessert. Mixing tapioca with other ingredients such as milk or fruits can improve its nutrient making you get more of them when turn it into desserts. It is also important to cut down the amount of sugar and fat when making desserts to keep them healthy.