Are you familiar with taro root? Maybe you have spotted it in some menu or in some grocery store. In case you have eaten this amazing vegetable, you are the lucky one because it provides many benefits to your body.
Taro root has the ability to lower the blood sugar level, improve digestion, protect the skin, prevent different types of cancers, improve vision health, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, prevent heart disease, boost the immune system and support the nerve and muscle health.
Taro root comes from the thick stalk of the taro plant, a native vegetable to India and Southeast Asia. It is an important ingredient in the global cuisines for thousands of years. It is believed that taro root is one of the first cultivated plants in the human history.
Every culture uses this plant in a different way, depending on the variety of crop and the method of preparation. It is one of the few plants that can grow in flooded areas because of the petioles, the stalks that can transfer nutrients even underwater.
Taro root is a dominant portion in the Indian, African, and Oceanic cuisines but it can be also found in Egypt, Japan, Fiji, Suriname, the United States and Spain.
One of the most common forms of this vegetable is dasheen or “elephant ears”, because of the shape of its leaves. This form can serve for both floral and decorative purposes.
Its roots, leaves, and corms can be consumed as dietary ingredients. However, you must cook the plant because it is toxic in raw form due to oxalates. You can eliminate these highly dangerous substances only by steeping overnight or cooking with baking soda.
It is widely used because it is easily grown and provides impressive size and sustenance. Every year about 11.3 million metric tons of this plant are cultivated worldwide.
Nutritional Facts of Taro Root
Taro root is rich in many organic compounds, vitamins, and minerals which are crucial for the human health.
It is rich in high amounts of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate. Also, it is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.
Health Benefits of Taro Root
1. Digestive Health
Taro root plays an important role in the process of digestion. The high fiber content (about 27% of the recommended dose of dietary fiber) significantly supports the gastrointestinal health. Also, it promotes better flow of food in the digestive tract as well as improved digestion.
In this case, it prevents some health conditions such as bloating, excess gas, constipation, cramping and diarrhea. So, such a regulated gastrointestinal tract will boost your overall health and prevent different types of cancers.
2. Cancer Prevention
When it comes to cancer, taro plant is an important antioxidant agent in the body. Due to the abundance of vitamin C, vitamin A, and other phenolic antioxidants, taro root boosts the immune system and removes free radicals from the body.
These free radicals are highly dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism which can lead to cell mutation and formation of cancerous cells. When the body is free of such free radicals, its health is guaranteed.
Cryptoxanthin is one particular substance in taro root which is directly related to lower risk of lung and oral cancer.
Dietary fiber also lowers the risk of diabetes because it releases glucose and insulin in the body. If there is enough fiber in your body, there is a lower risk of diabetes. In case you have diabetes, taro root will prevent blood sugar spikes and plunges.
4. Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Taro root is rich in potassium, an important mineral for a healthy and functional organism. This mineral not only promotes healthy fluids transfer between tissues and membranes but it relieves pressure and stress on blood vessels and arteries.
When the blood vessels are relaxed, there is a reduction in the blood pressure and in the stress on the cardiovascular system.
Potassium also plays an important role in the cognitive function. It reduces blood pressure and optimizes fluid transfer between neural membranes thus boosting neural connections.
5. Vision Health
As we have mentioned before, taro root is high in potent antioxidants especially cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene. These antioxidants prevent the free radicals from damaging ocular cells and causing cataracts and macular degeneration thus improving vision.
6. Skin Health
Taro root protects the skin by providing vitamin A and vitamin E in sufficient amounts. These vitamins boost overall cellular health, reduce skin conditions such as blemishes, wounds or wrinkles and return the healthy glow of the skin.
7. Immune System Health
Taro root plays a vital role in the immune system due to the high level of vitamin C. This vitamin stimulates the production of white blood cells which defend the body from different agents and pathogens.
Also, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can prevent the onset of heart disease and even cancer.
8. Improved Circulation
The taro root is rich in high amounts of copper and iron which can improve blood circulation and prevent anemia. Also, these minerals stimulate the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all of the body cells and systems.
With lower chances of anemia or iron deficiency, taro root promotes the blood flow, accelerates the overall metabolism, promotes the growth of new cells and general oxygenation of the body.
In this way, it provides proper functioning of the organs and the systems in the body.
Note: The only problem with taro root is the high-calorie content. In every 100 grams, there are 112 calories which can be an obstacle in the weight loss process. Also, it contains more carbohydrates than potatoes, so if you overconsume taro root, it can lead to obesity.
So, make sure you consume moderate doses of taro root in order to get the most health benefits but without gaining pounds.