Tapioca is a starch that was extracted from cassava root. Cassava is native to the northeast region of Brazil and also in South America. They are mostly sold as pearls, but they also come in the form of flour and flakes. In pearl form, it is used in cooking as a thickener. The food industry in the United States has been incorporating tapioca in their beverages, bubble tea, desserts and other baked products.
Known benefits of tapioca are the following:
- Cholesterol and fat-free;
- Makes you feel full;
- Low sodium content;
- Contains dietary fiber;
- Easy to digest;
- Promotes weight gain;
- Contains calcium, manganese, folate, and iron;
- Helps blood circulation;
- Protects against birth defects;
- Safe for people with Celiac disease and nut allergy;
- Can be used as a thickener and binding agent in baking.
Allergies to tapioca are not common and documented cases of this condition had been rare. Allergic reactions can be mistaken for allergies to tapioca since it is mostly found in many of our grocery products. Truth be told, tapioca is not allergenic in nature.
People who are allergic to latex are also at risk because their body mistakes the proteins as allergens since latex and tapioca have similar proteins. This allergic reaction is called cross-reactivity. It happens when the proteins in one substance are the same to the proteins found in another substance.
Here are the signs and symptoms of tapioca allergy for you to be aware of:
- Dilated pupils;
- Abdominal pains;
Tapioca is mostly made up of carbohydrates because it is pure starch. This is not the best food for you to eat if you are trying to cut down your weight. The nutritional value of tapioca is very low and eating too much of it may, later on, cause deficiencies such as malnutrition, goiter, and rickets. People who have diabetes should refrain from consuming tapioca because it predominantly consists of carbohydrates.
Cyanide poisoning can be one of the adverse reactions to tapioca if it is not handled properly during preparation, processing or cooking. Tapioca produces cyanide, by nature, making it harmful for humans eat in its raw form. Cyanide poisoning symptoms can include something as trivial as a headache or dizziness to something as serious as seizures or cardiac arrest which could result in death. Cyanide in cassava can be removed using a treatment method.
Tapioca is generally safe to eat, especially those that are commercially packaged found in groceries and supermarkets. Never attempt to process tapioca on your own or eat the ones that are found in the wild.
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.