Is tapioca healthy?
Medikoe Food n Health Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru Apr 10, 2019
Tapioca is a starchy substance extracted from the cassava root. The popularity of tapioca has been increasing recently as it has become a gluten-free alternative to various grains. However, it is too early to conclude if tapioca is healthy or not as there is still a lot of evidence-based research to be done on the health benefits of tapioca. As of now, there is a lot of controversy about tapioca as some people consider it to be very healthy while others consider it to be harmful. So, is tapioca really healthy?
Tapioca almost entirely consists of carbohydrates and is very low in protein or other nutrients. 100 grams of tapioca contains about 130 calories. Though the cassava root (from which tapioca is extracted) is native to South America, it is grown and consumed widely in many parts of the world. As already stated, tapioca has very limited nutritional value and is almost pure starch. However, its main utility lies in the fact that it is naturally gluten-free and hence is used as a substitute to various grain by people following a gluten-free diet.
Health benefits of tapioca:
Though tapioca has limited nutritional value, it offers several health benefits like:
- It is a great alternative for people allergic to gluten or nuts, or having ailments like a celiac disease as tapioca is naturally gluten-free, nut-free, and grain-free.
- Another major health benefit of tapioca is that it is free of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in the body can lead to blockage of the arteries and cause life-threatening conditions like stroke, heart disease, etc.
- Tapioca is rich in dietary fiber which indirectly has multiple health benefits. Fiber makes one feel full for a longer period of time, and hence reducing the calorie intake. Eating tapioca thus helps in weight loss. Moreover, dietary fiber also keeps the blood sugar levels in check and hence tapioca can also be beneficial for diabetes. Thus tapioca supports weight loss and helps in diabetes too.
- Tapioca is also a good source of iron and calcium. One single cup of tapioca provides about one-sixth of daily iron content. Tapioca is thus good for the health of bones as well as teeth.
Owing to its various health benefits, tapioca is widely consumed despite tapioca nutritional content is not rich in proteins. Tapioca powder is usually processed and sold in the form of pearls. Tapioca pudding is one of the most popular ways of tapioca consumption. Tapioca pudding is a sweet pudding made with tapioca, milk, or coconut milk or even cream. Tapioca pudding is made in various different types all over the world. Tapioca is also a preferred food item during fasting, as tapioca provides calories and is not even a grain.
To sum it up, when consumed in moderation, tapioca is a healthy food item. However, excess consumption of tapioca or substituting other food items or grains with tapioca is not recommended as tapioca nutrition value is low and it does not contain all the essential nutrients.