Tapioca is a starchy product that derives from cassava tubers. These tubers are native to Brazil and much of South America. Tapioca is available in a variety of forms, including flour, meal, flakes, and pearls.
People commonly use tapioca to make tapioca pudding and bubble teas. Tapioca is also useful as a thickener in pies.
Tapioca consists entirely of starchy carbohydrates. People on a carb-controlled diet and those who are concerned about the effect of starches on their blood sugar levels may see tapioca as unhealthful.
However, for people who do not need to monitor their intake of carbs or starches as carefully, tapioca can boost health in several ways.
In this article, we look at the benefits of tapioca.
Tapioca is free of gluten, nuts, and grains, so it will not cause a reaction in people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and nut allergies.
The manufacturers of many gluten-free products use tapioca flour in the production process. It is also a good option for allergen-free baking at home.
Tapioca flour serves as an alternative to white flour for thickening soups, sauces, and pie fillings.
2. Easy to digest
Tapioca has a reputation for being gentle on the stomach. Many people find it easier to digest than flours that producers make from grains or nuts.
Doctors may recommend tapioca as a suitable source of calories for people with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis that can cause flares of digestive symptoms.
3. Supports weight gain
People who need to gain weight quickly may benefit from including tapioca in their diet. One cup of tapioca pearls provides 544 calories and 135 grams (g) of carbohydrates.
Eating a couple of bowls of tapioca pudding a day improves a person’s likelihood of gaining weight without also increasing the risk of adverse effects from consuming too much fat and cholesterol.
People can also add tapioca to other dishes to increase their carb and calorie content.
Find out about other foods that can support safe weight gain.
4. Source of calcium
Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. It also supports a range of other bodily functions, including:
- contraction and dilation in the blood vessels and muscles
- communication between nerves
- blood clotting
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, people lose calcium each day through the skin, sweat, urine, and feces. The body cannot replace lost calcium without dietary supplementation.
Therefore, people should take care to consume calcium in their diet. One cup of tapioca pearls provides 30.4 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
5. Low in sodium
Most people in the United States eat too much sodium or salt. The recommended daily intake is less than 2,300 mg. On average, people in the U.S. consume 3,440 mg per day.
Dietary salt does not just refer to the salt that people sprinkle on their snacks and meals — manufacturers also hide it in processed snacks, soups, and condiments. A high sodium diet has links to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Tapioca provides only 1.52 mg of sodium in a one-cup serving