Tapioca is a starch extract derived from cassava tubers usually found in Brazil and much in South America. They are available and sold as flakes, pearls and flour. Pearls are the most common form that is used as thickener in cooking. It is also used in beverages, bubble tea, puddings, and desserts which can now also be found in the United States.
Benefits and Uses:
- It is a substitute for wheat and corn-based products.
- It is good for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and nut allergy since it is gluten-free, nut-free, and grain-free.
- Tapioca is almost purely starch and is cholesterol free.
- It is cheap and is most especially a helpful staple among developing countries.
- It has dietary fiber and is easily digestible.
- It supports gain weight without putting on fat and cholesterol.
- Tapioca based-products are a good source of iron, manganese, foliate and calcium. It therefore helps in blood circulation and helps protect against birth defects.
- It is low in sodium.
- It helps you feel full easily.
- Tapioca flour can be used in bread recipes and as thickener and binding agent.
Allergies to tapioca are rare and there had been not too many documented cases of this condition. It is not allergenic in nature but can be mistaken as tapioca allergy since it is an added ingredient in many food sources such as dairy products.
Most negative effects of tapioca only arise with poor preparation and processing of cassava which can cause cyanide poisoning.
Another risk is with people who have allergy to latex when the body mistakes the compounds of cassava as allergens (also known as latex-fruit syndrome).
Signs and Symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headache and dizziness
- Abdominal pains
- Dilated pupils
- Sweating and chills
With poorly processed tapioca, cyanide poisoning can cause these symptoms: headache and dizziness, convulsions and in severe cases – coma.
Tapioca is pure starch and is made up mostly of carbohydrates. This may not be a good food if you are trying to lose weight.
It has very little nutritional value and eating too much tapioca-based products may later on result to deficiencies, rickets, goiter, and malnutrition.
It is not good for diabetics since it is pure carbohydrates.
It is also important to remember that cassava can be very poisonous if not prepared, processed or cooked properly. Tapioca naturally produces cyanide which can be harmful to humans and can even cause death. It can however, be removed during processing.
While tapioca is safe to eat and available in commercially packaged forms and in stores, don’t attempt to attempt to process or eat tapioca grown or found in the wild as this be dangerous if not processed properly.
This material is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be relied as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication or supplements.