Tapioca is a starchy substance extracted from the root of cassava, a plant originally native to the north-east region of Brazil.
Over the centuries, its use became widespread after Portuguese and Spanish explorers took the plant to the West Indies, Africa and Asia.
Tapioca is an essential part of certain cultural diets due to its unique composition of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds.
Here are nine of its benefits:
Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Tapioca is a good source of vitamin K which is important for mental health.
According to a study, vitamin K reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating neuronal activity in the brain.
Alzheimer’s often occurs due to a lack of activity or mental stagnation — however, vitamin K keeps neural pathways active and engaged.
It also eliminates free radicals that can cause a breakdown of brain tissues.
Increases bone mineral density
Rich in calcium and iron, tapioca helps in the protection and development of bones.
Bone mineral density decreases as we age, resulting in conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, general weakness and lack of flexibility.
If consumed in its right quantity, our bones can be protected and maintained as we get older.
Increases blood circulation
The iron and copper content helps to increase the number of red blood cells in the body, thereby preventing anemia and related conditions.
With more red blood cells being produced by the body, the peripheral organs and extremities are guaranteed a healthy flow of blood and oxygen to keep those cells healthy and operating at optimal levels.
Cellular regrowth and maintenance are also improved, which means that wound healing and energy levels are also increased.
Reduces possibility of birth defects
Tapioca contains a significant amount of B-complex vitamins, including folic acid, according to a study conducted by researchers of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.
These vitamins have been directly connected to reducing the chances of neural tube defects and malformations in newborns.
Regulates blood pressure
Tapioca contains potassium, another essential mineral that the human body requires.
Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it widens blood vessels, thereby reducing the tension and stress in these blood vessels and the arteries.
Boosts metabolic activity and energy
It is also a good source of protein and carbohydrates for vegetarians– without the negative cholesterol and saturated fats.
This will help keep energy levels up, help in muscle development, growth, and healing.
One of the bonuses of tapioca is the wealth of dietary fibre it contains.
Fibre has been directly linked to improving a number of conditions within the human body, but the most obvious is digestion.
It bulks up the stool, which helps move it through the digestive tract, thereby eliminating constipation, bloating, intestinal pain, and even serious conditions like colorectal cancer.
Promotes healthy weight gain
There are many who seek options for healthy weight gain, particularly after an illness, injury, surgery or an eating disorder.
Tapioca provides a quick and easy way to gain weight in a healthy way.
The high carbohydrate content in Tapioca (1 cup = 45 percent of daily carbohydrate requirement) means that you can gain weight without any unhealthy cholesterol or saturated fats that can result in other health concerns.
Note: Tapioca should be bought from trusted sources and cooked properly before consumption.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of poorly processed cassava could lead to cyanide poisoning which can be deadly.