What Is Tapioca And What Is It Good For? Uses, Benefits And Side Effects
Tapioca is an essence or starch extracted from cassava roots. It is made up of almost pure carbohydrates and contains very little protein, fiber or other nutrients.
Tapioca has recently become the most popular, may be know as a gluten-free alternative to wheat and other grains.
However, there is much controversy about it. Some say it’s good for your health, others say it’s not.
This article tells you everything you need to know about Tapioca.
What is Tapioca?
Tapioca is a substance or starch extracted from the cassava roots, a tuber native to South America.
Cassava root is relatively easy to grow and is a staple food in parts of Africa, Asia and South America.
Tapioca is almost pure starch or essence and has very limited nutritional value.
However, it is naturally gluten-free, so it can serve as a substitute for wheat in cooking and baking for people on a gluten-free diet.
Tapioca is a dry product and is usually sold as white flour, flakes or beads.
Tapioca is a starch or substance that is extracted from tuber, called cassava root. It is usually sold as flour, grains, or beads.
How is it made of?
Production varies by location, but always involves extracting the starchy liquid from ground cassava roots.
As the starchy liquid comes out, the water can evaporate. When all the water has evaporated, you will be left with a fine Tapioca powder.
Then the powder is processed into whatever shape you choose, such as flakes or pearls.
Pearls are the most common form. They are often used in bubble tea, puddings and desserts, and as a thickening agent in cooking.
Because they are dehydrated, pieces, stems, and beads must be soaked or boiled before use. It may double in size and become crusty, swollen and translucent.
Tapioca flour is often confused with cassava flour, which is the cassava root. However, Tapioca is a starchy liquid, extracted from ground cassava roots.
A starchy liquid is extracted from crushed cassava roots. The water evaporates leaving the cassava powder, which can be made into flakes or pearls.
What is it used for?
Tapioca is a grain-free and gluten-free product that has numerous uses:
- Gluten-free and grain-free bread: Tapioca flour may be used in bread recipes, although it is often mixed with other flours.
- Flatbread: It may oftenly used to make flatbread in developing countries. With various toppings, it can be eaten for breakfast, dinner or dessert.
- Puddings And Desserts: Pearls are used to make puddings, sweets, snacks or bubble tea.
- Thickener: It may be used as a thickener for soups, sauces and chutneys. It is inexpensive, has a neutral taste and great thickening power.
- Binding agents: These are added to burgers, nuggets, and pasta to improve texture and moisture content, retain moisture as a gel, and prevent sogginess.
Apart from being used in cooking, pearls are also boiled with clothes and used for ironing clothes.
Tapioca can be used as a flour substitute in baking and baking. It is also often used to make desserts such as pudding and bubble tea.
Tapioca is almost pure starch, so it’s made up almost entirely of carbohydrates.
It contains little amount of protein, fat and fiber.
In addition, it contains small amounts of other nutrients. Most are less than 0.1% of the recommended daily value per serving.
One cup of dried Tapioca pearls may contains 544 calories.
Due to its lack of protein and nutrients, Tapioca is less nutritious than most grains and flours.
In fact, Tapioca may be considered a source of “empty” calories, as it provides energy but contains almost no essential nutrients.
Tapioca may be almost pure starch and contains only trace amounts of protein and other nutrients.
Tapioca Health Benefits
Tapioca is not very healthy, but it does not contain grains or gluten.
Suitable for restricted diets
Many people have allergies or intolerances to wheat, grains and gluten.
To control their symptoms, they need to follow a strict diet.
Because Tapioca is naturally grain and gluten-free, it can be a suitable alternative to wheat or corn-based products.
For example, it can be used as a flour for baking and cooking or as a thickener in soups or sauces.
However, you can mix it with other flours, such as almond flour or coconut flour, to increase the nutrients.
What about resistant starch?
Resistant starch has been linked to a number of general health benefits. It feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which reduces inflammation and bad bacteria.
It can also lower postprandial blood sugar levels, improve glucose and insulin metabolism, and increase satiety. All these factors contribute to improving metabolic health.
Cassava root is a natural source of resistant starch. However, cassava, a product derived from cassava roots, naturally contains less resistant starch, possibly due to processing.
There are no studies on the health benefits of chemically modified resistant starch compared to naturally occurring resistant starch.
Also, due to the low nutrient content, it is better to get resistant starch from other foods, such as boiled and cold potatoes or rice, green vegetables and bananas.
Tapioca can replace wheat or corn-based products. It also contains small amount of resistant starch which is beneficial for health.
Negative Or Adverse Health Effects
When processed properly, Tapioca does not exhibit many negative health effects.
Most adverse health effects are associated with consumption of unprocessed cassava roots.
Also, Tapioca may not be suitable for diabetics as it is almost pure carbohydrate.
Improperly processed cassava products can cause poisoning
Cassava root naturally contains a toxic compound called linamarin. It turns into hydrogen cyanide in your body and can cause cyanide poisoning.
Eating poorly processed cassava roots has been linked to cyanide poisoning, a disabling disease called konzo, and even death.
In fact, there have been outbreaks of konzo in African countries that depend on a diet of poorly processed bitter cassava, such as during times of war or drought.
However, there are several ways to remove linamarin during processing and cooking.
Commercially produced Tapioca is usually free of harmful levels of linamarin and is safe to eat.
Many cases of allergic reactions to Tapioca or cassava have not been documented.
However, people who are allergic to latex may experience an allergic reaction due to cross-reactivity.
This means that your body mistakes cassava compounds for latex allergens, causing an allergic reaction.
It is also known as rubber fruit syndrome.
Improperly processed cassava root can cause poisoning, but commercial products are safe. Allergic reactions to Tapioca may be rare.
Fortification or Enrichment for health purposes
Properly processed cassava is safe and inexpensive to eat. In fact, it is an important product in some developing countries.
However, people who make up the majority of their diet on Tapioca and cassava-based foods may experience protein and nutrient deficiencies.
It can cause malnutrition, malnutrition, rickets and gout.
For health reasons, experts have experimented with fortifying cassava flour with highly nutritious flours like soybean flour.
Cassava flour can be fortified with more nutritious flours in developing countries where Tapioca and cassava are staple foods.
How to cook with Tapioca?
Tapioca or cassava may be used in many ways, including cooking and baking. Most recipes that use Tapioca are for sweet desserts.
Cassava or Tapioca Flour
Cassava or Tapioca flour is a great ingredient in the kitchen. It thickens quickly, has a neutral flavor and adds a silky texture to chutneys and soups.
Some even claim that it freezes and thaws better than cornstarch or flour. Therefore, it may be more suitable for baking for later use.
This flour is often combined with other flours in recipes to increase the nutritional value and texture.
Here you can find all kinds of recipes that use cassava or Tapioca flour.
Cassava or Tapioca Pearls
Pearls must be boiled before eating. The ratio is usually 1 part dry pearls to 8 parts water.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly so the pearls don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
When the pearls begin to float, reduce the heat to medium and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and let it rest for another 15-30 minutes.
Here you will find a dessert recipe with cassava or Tapioca pearls.
Boiled cassava or Tapioca pearls are often used in bubble tea, a sweet and refreshing drink.
Bubble tea, may be known as boba tea, that is usually consists of tea made with tapioca beads, syrup, milk and ice cubes.
Bubble tea is usually made with black tapioca pearls, which look like white pearls, but with brown sugar.
Just be aware that bubble tea often contains added sugar and should only be consumed in moderation.
Tapioca can be used in many ways in cooking or baking and is perfect for making desserts.
The Bottom Line
Tapioca may be almost pure starch and it contains very low quantity of nutrients. On its own, it may not have impressive health benefits or side effects.
However, it can sometimes help people who need to avoid grains or gluten.