Tapioca : The term has its etymological origin in the Guaraní language: tipiog and can be translated as carbohydrate that is extracted from cassava.

According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), the concept is used to name the starch that is obtained from the root of cassava or cassava.

What is known as tapioca is a white flour, unscented and slightly sweet in flavor, which can also be found in the form of small whitish or colored pearls. It is usually used in the production of sausages , to thicken different recipes and in the preparation of a soup that is also mentioned as tapioca.


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  • 1 Origin
    • 1 History of Tapioca after the Conquest of America
  • 2 Tapioca in gastronomy
  • 3 Nutritional benefits and contributions
    • 1 Nutritional information
  • 4 Misuse and adverse effects
  • 5 Sources


Chicken and tapioca soup

Although for this period there are no pictorial or graphic records, archaeological investigations report that in the territory that is currently known as Guatemala , 4,000 years ago, the cultivation of tapioca was already practiced.

Later it is known of another record in the history of tapioca, locating it again in Central America . This time it refers to the Mayan culture , as a provider of food to a large number of natives, and that dates back to Joya de Cerén, current El Salvador , 1400 years ago.

Subsequently, upon the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, they will begin to obtain news from the past about the tapioca that could establish its existence in other parts of America.

Also, many scholars place tapioca in the times of certain South American cultures, which developed between 1,580 BC. C and 1,187 D. C, in the current countries of Chile , Bolivia and Peru .

History of tapioca after the Conquest of America

The primary use of tapioca by some of the American cultures is somewhat unprovable until today, however, with the arrival of the European conquest, the history of tapioca in South America begins to be known .

Tapioca custard. Thai dessert

The Portuguese historian Pero de Magalhães Gândavo , left records in the 16th century, where it is established that the Tupís peoples of Brazil made use not only of their roots or tubers, but also had the knowledge to carry out the extraction of the contained starch in them.

Over the years, tapioca may have continued to expand into other territories in South America and the Caribbean , including the territories that today make up Venezuela , Cuba, and the Dominican Republic .

In this way, the European continent is inscribed in the history of tapioca, and of other products such as the potato, thanks to Christopher Columbus and other conquerors, who managed to transport it to overseas early, since it would be already in the 19th century that it could make land on the Asian continent, in countries like Vietnam and Thailand .

Tapioca in gastronomy

Tapioca has a high content of carbohydrate , as well as minerals and vitamins , and is widely used in gastronomy to make a wide variety of recipes.

Thanks to its neutral flavor, tapioca is often used as a thickener for different preparations, both sweet and salty. To do this, it is hydrated and boiled in water to form a kind of translucent gel that is then incorporated into food.

Normally, it is used in drinks and desserts such as pudding , but it can also be used in making soups and sauces, in addition to meats such as hamburger , meatballs and Nuggets to give them consistency. Also, it is used in the elaboration of the famous tapioca pearl tea, a drink thanks to which the use and consumption of this food has become popular.

As if that were not enough, tapioca can also serve as an ingredient for doughs, especially in gluten-free preparations , since it does not contain this protein.

Tapioca soup is made with this starch, salt and chicken broth. Its preparation requires bringing the broth to a boil, then sprinkling the tapioca and stirring the preparation with a spoon. About ten minutes later, when the soup became transparent and thickened, add the salt and serve. To provide colors, nutrients and flavors, there are those who also add parsley , pumpkin and carrot to this soup that stands out for having potassium , calcium , magnesium , iron and various vitamins .


Nutritional benefits and contributions

Many people in the world include tapioca in their diets and they do so because they are perfectly aware of the set of benefits that tapioca offers, such as the following:

  • Energetic: it provides a large amount of carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins and fibers , which mainly help those who engage in constant physical activity.
  • Nutritious: its content of vitamins B and C, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium and iron, helps the good nutrition of the body. In addition, it increases the immune system, fights the action of free radicals that cause aging and allows the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular system.

Tapioca, papaya and mango dessert

  • Astringent and digestive: helps to decrease the stimulation of gastrointestinal secretions, fighting diarrhea and other stomach problems. For this, its consumption in cream or puree is recommended, which favors the gastric mucosa of the stomach and the protection of the intestine, reducing inflammation. In addition, its high fiber and protein content helps fight constipation .
  • It helps fight anemia: thanks to its iron supply that helps to revive cells and raise platelets .
  • As a controller of body weight: since it has an incredible satiating power that benefits those who need to lose weight. Always taking care not to overdo it in its consumption, as this could cause the opposite effect.
  • Improves the health of bones and teeth: thanks to its content of vitamin C and calcium.
  • Avoid congenital malformation in pregnant women.

On the other hand, tapioca is a great source of folate , components necessary for the cell division process, as well as minerals such as iron and manganese, of which it contributes 8% and 13% of the respective recommended daily value.

Nutritional information

Characteristics and contribution for every 100 grams.

Calories Protein Greases Calcium Fiber Potassium Sodium
345 Kcal 0.58 g 0.20 g 12 mg 0.40 g 20 mg 4 mg
Magnesium Iron Match Zinc Vitamin B-2 Vitamin B-3 Vitamin B-5
3 mg 1 mg 12 mg 0.12 mg 0.10 mg 0.15 mg 0.14 mg

Misuse and adverse effects

Although it is true that tapioca is a food with many benefits, its improper consumption can cause certain reactions or adverse effects, therefore, as it happens with many of the tubers , it is important to make sure you cook it well before eating it, It could be toxic if eaten raw.

Likewise, its consumption should not be exaggerated, since it could have an inverse effect on weight loss, rather helping to increase it. This is due to its high carbohydrate content, which in turn provides many calories.

On the other hand, the excess of this food could cause stomach upset and diarrhea, so its intake must be commensurate.


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