6 Reasons To Include Tapioca In Your Diet Today

6 Reasons To Include Tapioca In Your Diet Today

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“Increasing Fiber Intake. University of California San Francisco.”

Most of us associate tapioca with cute little chewy pearls in puddings or floating around in Asian-style bubble teas. But very few us really know where it comes from and the myriad health benefits of this tuber plant.

Tapioca comes from the Cassava root, also known as ‘yuca’ in some parts of the world. Originally cultivated in North Brazil, this plant quickly made its way across the South American continent into Africa and eventually came to Asia. Tapioca is a kind of starch that is obtained from the Cassava root, and the culinary versatility of this food is what makes it so popular. It can be used as a thickening agent in many preparations, or it can be made into flour. The most common form in which tapioca starch is made available to us for cooking is pearls of varying sizes.


But the benefits of tapioca goes far beyond just making your food look pretty and taste deliciously rich and chewy. Listed below are some unique health benefits of tapioca that will make you want to consider adding it to your daily diet.

1. Decent Source Of Dietary Fiber

Tapioca is a decent source of dietary fiber which is useful for healthy metabolism and regulating your blood sugar levels.


1 cup of dry tapioca pearls contains about 1.4 grams of fiber.[ref]Basic Report: 20068, Tapioca, pearl, dry. United States Department of Agriculture.[/ref] It’s not a very high amount, but eating tapioca can still help you meet about 4% of your daily recommended intake which is about 25-30 grams for the average American adult.[ref]Increasing Fiber Intake. University of California San Francisco.[ref]

Fiber is an important nutrient that helps keep your tummy busy because it takes so long to digest. This is why it can help in cutting down on unhealthy bingeing which is very useful if you’re trying to watch your weight. Besides, fiber also plays a huge role in reducing your blood sugar levels since it slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. It can also play a huge role in lowering your cholesterol levels, thus protecting you from heart disease.


2. Has A Low Glycemic Index

Because it has a low glycemic index, it can be included in a diabetic's diet.

Tapioca flour made from cassava has a fairly low glycemic index as compared to wheat flour.[ref]Eleazu, Chinedum, Kate Eleazu, Chinyere Aniedu, John Amajor, Ahamefula Ikpeama, and Ike Ebenzer. “Effect of partial replacement of wheat flour with high quality cassava flour on the chemical composition, antioxidant activity, sensory quality, and microbial quality of bread.” Preventive nutrition and food science 19, no. 2 (2014): 115.[/ref] Glycemic index is a classification of foods. This classification is based on the blood glucose response on eating a food in comparison to a standard glucose solution.


Foods that are low in glycemic index are beneficial for diabetics. This is because low glycemic foods help control the release of glucose from consumed food into the bloodstream. Thus, these foods facilitate the release of sugar at a steady and sustained rate. This helps keep your body’s metabolic processes well-balanced. Also, for this reason, low glycemic index foods also prevent blood sugar spikes, thus, in turn, prevent energy crashes – which is extremely beneficial for diabetics in particular.

3. Doesn’t Contain Gluten

Tapioca is free of gluten and can be consumed by people with celiac disease.


Tapioca flour made from cassava contains proteins that don’t have the ability to form a strong gluten network and it is, therefore, naturally free of gluten.[ref]Eduardo, Maria, Ulf Svanberg, Jorge Oliveira, and Lilia Ahrné. “Effect of cassava flour characteristics on properties of cassava-wheat-maize composite bread types.” International journal of food science 2013 (2013).[/ref]

Because tapioca flour is gluten-free, it is commonly used in several gluten-free bakery foods.[ref]Padalino, Lucia, Amalia Conte, and Matteo Alessandro Del Nobile. “Overview on the General Approaches to Improve Gluten-Free Pasta and Bread.” Foods 5, no. 4 (2016): 87.[/ref] For this reason, it makes a safe substitute for wheat and is helpful for those who have gluten allergy or celiac disease.


4. Contains Calcium

Tapioca contains calcium, an important mineral needed for healthy bones that the body can't make on its own.

1 cup of tapioca pearls contains 30 mg of calcium.[ref]Basic Report: 20068, Tapioca, pearl, dry. United States Department of Agriculture.[/ref] Calcium is responsible for building healthy bones and also plays an important role in conducting messages between nerves.


Your body loses plenty of calcium through sweat, feces, and urine. [ref]Calcium/Vitamin D. National Osteoporosis Foundation.[/ref]. Since your body doesn’t have the ability to make and replace this lost amount of calcium, it is important to compensate by eating foods that contain calcium. Tapioca may not rank high as compared to other calcium-rich foods since the amount of calcium contained in 1 cup makes just 3% of the daily recommended intake. Nevertheless, including tapioca in your diet can still contribute to helping you meet your calcium needs.

5. Is High In Carbohydrates

Being high in carbohydrates, tapioca gives you plenty of energy.

1 cup of tapioca flour contains close to 135 grams of carbohydrate.[ref]Basic Report: 20068, Tapioca, pearl, dry. United States Department of Agriculture.[/ref]

Carbohydrates, once broken down provide your body with energy. The problem with most carbohydrate-rich foods is that they contain high levels of sugar and increase your cholesterol levels and therefore, make you put on plenty of pounds. Tapioca has plenty of carbohydrates, sans the saturated fats and negative cholesterol. So your body gets the benefit of high energy levels without having to worry about putting on additional weight or an increase in cholesterol.

6. Contains Essential Trace Elements
Tapioca contains trace minerals like iron, manganese, and potassium that contribute to maintaining good health.


Tapioca contains minerals like iron, manganese, and potassium. [ref]Basic Report: 20068, Tapioca, pearl, dry. United States Department of Agriculture.[/ref]

Iron is important in maintaining the quality of your blood by manufacturing more red cells that oxygen can bind itself to, while manganese helps your body break down amino acids and carbohydrates. Manganese also plays a huge role in the development of healthy bones and tissue. Potassium works as a natural vasodilator, meaning it reduces the strain on your arteries and blood vessels by making it easier for blood to reach various parts of your body.

Although these are fairly low traces as compared to the daily recommended intake, they can still help contribute to meet your needs.