Health Benefits of Tapioca

health benefits of estin tapioca

Tapioca is a crunchy snack that is made from cassava root. It is popularly known as KpoKpo garri, and is consumed by many Nigerians, but mainly the southern part of Nigeria by the Itsekiri, Ijaw Isoko and Urhobo people. Tapioca or Kpokpo garri is made from cassava tuber which is widely grown across the country. [1]

Kpokpo garri is white in colour, and are hard crumps of processed cassava. They can be eaten both as a snack or a part of a full meal, depending on what it is taken along with it.

The difference between kpokpo garri and the normal garri (used in making eba) is the finishing during the preparation. The cassava tubers for garri is taken to the mill to be blended, and the same goes to kpokpo garri.Then the blended pulp is put in bags and left to drain for days. However, unlike the garri, tapioca is not sieved before frying. It is salted and fried in big frying pans, along with all the lumps and shafts. The heat removes any form of wetness in it and eventually make it hard crunchy, and rough. [2]

Tapioca is a starchy content extracted from the cassava root. Being a starchy food, tapioca contains a higher amount of carbohydrates and some other key properties that the body requires for proper function, including protein, fiber, iron, manganese, potassium, etc. Various forms of tapioca can be manufactured, and this includes pearls, flakes, granules, as well as powders. This article discusses nutritional content of tapioca and the health benefits of tapioca or kpokpo garri.

Nutritional Content of Tapioca

Tapioca is almost pure starch, is mainly made up of carbohydrates and contains very little amounts of protein, fiber and fat.

Also, it only contains minor amounts of nutrients. However it contains calcium, folate, manganese and iron. The calories in kpokpo garri are a bit much. 28 grams of tapioca contains 100 calories. [3]

Tapioca is a gluten-free food,  with nutrients and health benefits,  so without further hesitation, here are the top health benefits of tapioca.

1. Supports Digestive Health

The importance of fiber on the digestive system can never be overemphasized as it helps to make it function more effectively while also reducing the risk of possible problems. Fortunately, tapioca contains a fair amount of dietary fiber, making it an ideal food for the improved digestive system. One thing about this superfood is that it is easy-to-digest, which means that it does not place unnecessary pressure on the digestive tract when ingested. It is also proven to be perfect for reducing the risk of common digestive conditions, including constipation, bloating, and even colorectal cancer.

Tapioca is also a source of resistant starch. Resistant starch is resistant to digestion and acts like fiber in the digestive system.

Resistant starch has been shown to have number of health benefits to the digestive health.

2. Reduces the risk of heart problems

Tapioca contains a good amount of potassium; one of the vital minerals the body needs to function excellently. When you eat potassium-dense foods like tapioca, it acts as a vasodilator and helps to reduce blood pressure levels as well as other related heart problems. The potassium in tapioca also helps to balance out negative effects of salt in the body, which in turn reduces blood pressure. 

In addition to the above, tapioca, when ingested, is effective in scraping out the fat and cholesterol accumulated in the blood vessels and arteries to help shield the heart against possible diseases, including stroke, heart disease, and the likes.

Good news to hypertensive patients. Tapioca has a lower content of sodium, meaning that people with high blood pressure can consume it without it triggering any negative side effects in their bodies. [5]

3. Promotes weight gain 

Underweight may occur as a result of certain illnesses, surgery, unhealthy lifestyle, genetically fast metabolism, to name but a few. However, if you are underweight, you tend to be susceptible to myriads of potential complications, including colds, flu, slow recovery from an illness, overall weakness, and the host of others.

On the plus side, tapioca contains an excellent amount of carbohydrates that can help add more to your weight. Aside from that, tapioca is also free from fat and cholesterol, meaning that you will be able to gain more weight without the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your being increased. If you are wondering if kpokpo garri is fattening, then the answer is yes. kpokpo garri is not ideal for weight loss because it contains much calories. [6] [7]

4. Supports Bone Health

With the significant amount of iron and calcium in tapioca, you stand a chance of developing better bone mass and bone density as well as protection against bone-related diseases. Both properties help to protect the bones so as to shield them from age-related bone problems.

5. Increases Blood Circulation

Your body’s circulation system plays a vital role in transporting blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body. When the blood flowing to a specific body part is reduced, you tend to experience certain symptoms, including tingling, numbness, pain, muscle cramps, etc.

However, tapioca contains a good amount of iron, a critical mineral that promotes adequate transportation of blood throughout the body. The high content of iron contained in tapioca also makes it one of the best foods for combating anemia [a condition where the body does not have sufficient iron and is often characterized by fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, etc.]. 

When there are enough blood cells in the body, it might promote proper oxygen and blood circulation, which may eventually boost the overall functioning of certain organs of the body.

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