While many kitchens use cornstarch as a thickening agent for desserts, gravies and soups among other foods, did you know that tapioca carries the same function, only it is healthier?
Tapioca is sourced from the cassava root, an old source of food that goes as far back as 8000 BC. It was cultivated throughout South America and consumed by Native Americans and people in Mexico and Peru before it spread in the Caribbean islands and Europe at last.
Nowadays tapioca is mostly produced in Africa and Asia, with the largest quantity being imported into America and Europe from Asian countries.
While not exactly a nutritional powerhouse, tapioca does top cornstarch in that it contains high concentrations of a few essential nutrients.
Tapioca nutritional profile
100 grams of dry pearl tapioca contains the following:
- 2 mg Choline (1% DV)
- 4 mcg folate (2% DV)
- 135 mg pantothenic acid
- 20 mg calcium (4% DV)
- 58 mg iron (31% DV)
- 110 mg manganese (9% DV)
- 00 mg magnesium (1% DV)
- 00 mg phosphorus (2%)
- 00 mg potassium
- 8 mcg selenium (2% DV)
- 00 mg sodium
- 12 mg zinc (2% DV)
Nutritional features for tapioca
- Neutral flavor, which means tapioca can be used with any other foods without conflicting.
- Gluten-free, so it can be consumed safely by people who suffer from celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity.
- It contains dietary fiber, approximately 1.5 grams per one cup of dry tapioca pearls.
- Containing resistant starch, it is easy to digest compared to thickening agents such as grain or nut flour. Can be consumed when experiencing digestive issues.
- It is a source of fuel for the body. Tapioca is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates, the body’s primary source of fuel that provides energy throughout the day.
- It is low in sodium, so it can be consumed regularly without adding to the recommended limit of 2.3 grams of sodium per day.
- It is nut-free, grain-free, cholesterol-free.
If you’re looking to gain weight, tapioca is a great source of food since it offers approximately 544 calories per cup and 135 carbs without any fat and cholesterol.
When cooked into a pudding, tapioca helps keep you full longer and it suppresses overeating. It also helps with achieving the recommended daily value of important nutrients.
How to cook with tapioca
Easy to cook into a pudding, tapioca makes for a healthy and nutritious breakfast or dessert. You can make tapioca puddings with full fat cow’s milk or substitute for almond milk or fat free cow’s milk.
Ratio is usually three and a half cups of milk to one cup of dry pearl tapioca, however you can add more milk to bring the pudding to a suitable consistency.
Add chia seeds, honey, dried fruits, fresh fruits, jams, peanut butter and other breakfast ingredients to your tapioca pudding to increase the nutritional value of your meal and for a flavorful boost, add ingredients such as natural vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon peel, cocoa powder.