Tapioca pearls are best used as
The calorie index?
Tapioca is very high in calories. Moreover it is considered as empty calories with minimum or negligible nutritional benefits.
Why does it make you feel 'full' soon?
Tapioca is a natural source of resistant starch. Resistant starch is resistant to digestion. It works as fibre in the digestive system. Thus makes you feel full soon.
How can one maximise on its health benefits: like is it best to have it soaked overnight and then cooked etc?
Soaking overnight gives a soft and smooth texture to the soup or porridge or pudding. Soaking softens the tapioca. If not soaked properly it will be hard and will not release enough starch to make the preparation smooth and thick. But if there is less time then few hours of soaking in hot water will also do the same magic
What is with the new trend of tapioca teas?
As a source of nutrition, tapioca is a nonstarter. Though it is a staple in some native subsistence diets, its only contribution is as a carbohydrate for quick energy. The vitamin and mineral content is very low, and the lack of fiber is so notable that even if you could consume enough tapioca to get some small nutritional benefit, you’d likely become very constipated. We can enjoy boba tea for its sweet, exotic flavor and the chewy tapioca, not because it’s good for us.
The effects of phenols and polyphenols present in tea have been extensively studied and have shown promise against cardiovascular conditions and obesity. But the amount of sugar consumed drinking enough boba tea to get those benefits would not be worth it.
Any caution call: does too much intake spell trouble, how?
Yes too much intake can cause trouble. It is simple carbohydrate loaded with empty calories and with very low or negligible nutrients. It causes rapid weight gain. It can also disturb the sugar level in the body. Tapioca allergy is rare, intolerances to the ingredient have been reported, primarily among those who have celiac disease or other digestive diseases. Improper preparation of the cassava root can result in significant health symptoms when ingested. For example, inadequate cooking, soaking, or fermenting of the cassava root or the cassava peel may result in cyanide poisoning, neurological effects, and goiters.
Some tapioca flours may also contain added sulfite, so not recommended for people with sulphur intolerance.
~Dt. Deepalekha Banerjee