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9 Amazing Benefits Of Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls)

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In Indian households, sabudana or tapioca pearl is a familiar name as they are popularly eaten as a favourite breakfast and evening snack. Be it in the form of sabudana khichdi, sabudana cutlet or sabudana kheer, sabudana offers a whole range of health benefits.

What Is Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls)?

Sabudana or tapioca pearl is made from tapioca sago. The tapioca sago is a starchy substance obtained from the Cassava root. As it is mostly in starch form, it has very low amount of nutrients [1] . The starchy liquid is squeezed out from the Cassava root and the liquid is kept to evaporate. When all the water is dried up, the powder is processed and used to make flakes, pearls and white flour.

Tapioca sago mostly comes in the form of pearls which are easily added to milk, water or rice to thicken the mixture transforming it into a stew, curry or pudding.

Nutritional Value Of Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls)

100 grams of tapioca pearls contain 10.99 g water and 358 kcal. They also contain:

  • 0.02 grams total lipid (fat)
  • 88.69 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.9 grams total dietary fibre
  • 3.35 grams sugar
  • 0.19 grams protein
  • 20 milligrams calcium
  • 1.58 milligrams iron
  • 1 milligram magnesium
  • 7 milligrams phosphorous
  • 11 milligrams potassium
  • 1 milligram sodium
  • 0.12 milligrams zinc
  • 0.004 milligrams thiamin
  • 0.008 milligrams vitamin B6
  • 4 µg folate

Health Benefits Of Sabudana (Tapioca Pearls)

1. Supports weight gain

If you want to put on weight, tapioca pearls are the right food as they contain good amounts of carbohydrates and calories. Around 100 grams of sabudana contain 88.69 grams carbohydrates and 358 calories. Eating more calories than what your body needs will make you gain weight. As sabudana is a starchy food, you will gain weight easily [2] .

2. Provides energy

One of the main reasons why sabudana is a must-have food during Navratri fasting is it provides the body with energy [3] . Some people break their fast with sabudana khichdi or pudding to give their body instant energy. Also, sago porridge is effectively known to treat excess bile as it provides a cooling effect to reduce the body's heat while you are on a fast.

3. Aids in muscle growth

If you are a vegetarian, sabudana is a great source of protein which is required for the growth of muscles, repairs damaged cells and tissues and also help in cell growth [4] . Apart from muscle growth, this comfort food also lets you gain physical strength. So vegetarians, you can start eating sabudana for your daily protein intake. Also, if you want to build muscles sabudana can be a great food to have as a pre and post workout snack.

4. Strengthens bones

Although the mineral content in tapioca pearls is limited, they have calcium, magnesium and iron. All these minerals help in the creation of bone tissues which strengthens bone mineral density, prevents arthritis and osteoporosis [5] . Have a bowl of sabudana khichdi daily to maintain bone health and improve bone flexibility.

5. Lowers blood pressure

Sabudana contains significant amounts of potassium which is known to keep your blood pressure under control. This mineral acts as a vasodilator which works by relaxing the tension in the blood vessels and open them up. This promotes healthy blood flow through the blood vessels, as a result, blood pressure is lowered and there is less strain in the heart [6] .

6. Improves digestion

Tapioca is known to prevent stomach-related problems like gas, bloating, indigestion and constipation. It contains a good amount of fibre, protein, fats and carbohydrates which increase your metabolism and help you maintain good digestive health. Dietary fibre can speed up the digestive process and rebalance the healthy gut bacteria [7] .

7. Promotes heart health

Sabudana contains zero cholesterol which is actually good as you don't need to worry about high cholesterol. An increase in cholesterol causes the build-up of plaque in the arteries which is known as atherosclerosis[8] . This condition could further lead to heart attack, stroke and angina. So, keep your heart healthy by consuming sabudana.

8. Fights birth defects

The presence of folate and vitamin B6 in sabudana aid in the proper development of the foetus and prevent the occurrence of neural tube defects in infants [9] , [10] . This can have a serious effect on the newborn. Folate is an essential nutrient required for pregnant women in the first few months of pregnancy.

9. Non-allergic in nature

Tapioca or sabudana is free of gluten, nuts and grains so people who are sensitive to gluten, having celiac disease and nut allergies will not have a problem consuming this food [11] , [12] . You can use tapioca flour instead of refined white flour as the latter contains gluten. Tapioca flour is considered the best alternative to white flour.

Ways To Eat Sabudana

Sabudana is first soaked in water to allow it to become soft and easy to eat. Here are different ways to prepare them:

  • Prepare sabudana khichdi by mixing sabudana, potatoes and peanuts and cook it in the microwave.
  • Prepare sabudana tikki by mashing it up with potato and frying it in oil.
  • To make tapioca pudding, mix tapioca pearls with coconut milk or whole milk and serve with fruit toppings.
  • You can also prepare sabudana kheer, a common sweet dish made during festivals.
  • Bubble tea is a drink which is made by using tapioca pearls, milk, brewed tea, sugar and served with chewy tapioca pearls, fruit jelly, and pudding.
View Article References
  1. [1] Okezie, B. O., Kosikowski, F. V., & Markakis, P. (1983). Cassava as a food. C R C Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 17(3), 259–275.
  2. [2] Min, J. E., Green, D. B., & Kim, L. (2016). Calories and sugars in boba milk tea: implications for obesity risk in Asian Pacific Islanders. Food Science & Nutrition, 5(1), 38-45.
  3. [3] Sivakumar, R., Elayaperumal, A., & Saravanan, R. (2017). Drying and energy aspects of tapioca sago processing-an experimental field study. Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology, 31(6), 3035-3042.
  4. [4] Patel, J. R., Patel, A. A., & Singh, A. K. (2015). Production of a protein-rich extruded snack base using tapioca starch, sorghum flour and casein. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 53(1), 71-87.
  5. [5] Price, C. T., Langford, J. R., & Liporace, F. A. (2012). Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet. The Open Orthopaedics Journal, 6, 143-149.
  6. [6] Geleijnse, J. M., Kok, F. J., & Grobbee, D. E. (2003). Blood pressure response to changes in sodium and potassium intake: a metaregression analysis of randomised trials. Journal of Human Hypertension, 17(7), 471.
  7. [7] Conlon, M. A., & Bird, A. R. (2014). The impact of diet and lifestyle on gut microbiota and human health. Nutrients, 7(1), 17-44.
  8. [8] Bild, D. E. (2002). Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis: Objectives and Design. American Journal of Epidemiology, 156(9), 871–881.
  9. [9] Butterworth, C. E., & Bendich, A. (1996). Folic acid and the prevention of birth defects. Annual Review of Nutrition, 16(1), 73-97.
  10. [10] Al-Gailani S. (2014). Making birth defects 'preventable': pre-conceptional vitamin supplements and the politics of risk reduction. Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences, 47 Pt B, 278-289.
  11. [11] Milde, L. B., Ramallo, L. A., & Puppo, M. C. (2012). Gluten-free bread based on tapioca starch: texture and sensory studies. Food and Bioprocess Technology, 5(3), 888-896.
  12. [12] Horstmann, S. W., Belz, M. C., Heitmann, M., Zannini, E., & Arendt, E. K. (2016). Fundamental Study on the Impact of Gluten-Free Starches on the Quality of Gluten-Free Model Breads. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 5(2), 30.

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