What exactly is Taro Root?
Taro root (Colocasia esculenta) is a vegetable used in a lot of cuisines globally. It has a moderate, starchy texture, nutty taste, and nutrition benefits that termed it a healthier alternative to other root crops like potatoes. Taro root is often added to savory fried or dishes as a snack, but it also adds some creaminess and purple color to our delicacies.
You may also find taro root at intercontinental grocers like Asian markets or Latin American, though it is suddenly becoming a more regular staple in grocery stores that carry specialty products.
As among the world’s oldest planted plants, taro is sometimes called by different names such as dasheen, arbi, and eddoe. Different types can be used interchangeably to offer the same nutritional advantages to your meal.
Taro root is a wonderful source of fiber and other essential nutrients and offers a lot of potential health benefits, such as improved blood sugar management, heart and gut health.
Arbi or Taro root vegetable as it is known originates from India and Malaysia, where it develops wild in dry or wet places. Arbi is heart-shaped, having white roots that have a nutty flavor. It can also cause skin irritation at peeling.
Taro is also known as ‘Chamadumpa‘ in Telugu, ‘Arbi’ in Hindi, dasheen, and ‘kacchalo’ in Punjabi. It has a lot of healing prowess that makes it useful to get rid of many disease conditions.
Health Benefits of Taro Roots
Taro is high in nutrients that can offer important health benefits. A cup serving has one-third of your required daily intake of manganese, which adds a lot to bone health, good metabolism, and blood clotting.
Its remarkable levels of vitamins also promote circulation, clearer vision, skin, and immune system function.
Also, this root crop offers other health benefits like:
1) Rich in Fiber and Other Important Nutrients
132 grams of cooked taro gives 187 calories and about one gram each of protein and fat.
It is also high in the following:
- Manganese: 30% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin E: 19% of the DV
- Fiber: 6.7 grams
- Vitamin B6: 22% of the DV
- Potassium: 18% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 11% of the DV
- Copper: 13% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
- Magnesium: 10% of the DV
Thus, this root crop has good amounts of nutrients that folks often don’t get enough of (essential nutrients), such as potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins E and C.
2) Digestive Health
The remarkable level of dietary fiber in taro root makes it very pivotal for gut health. A single serving of taro roots contains 27% of the daily recommended value of dietary fiber. Fiber helps to add bulkiness to our stool and improve digestion. Proper fiber consumption helps to prevent excessive gas, cramping, bloating, and constipation.
3) Reduces Fatigue
Taro root is often consumed by athletes for sustainable energy. This is because it has a low glycemic index which is always good for athletes.
4) Blood Sugar Management
Resistant starch is the carbohydrate content in taro root. These good carbohydrates have been proved in clinical studies to normalize blood sugar, which aids weight management and may lower the risk of diabetes. This starch is also suitable for keto and low-carb diets.
5) Clears Stomach
Foods that are in fiber are also known to enhance the digestive process. This helps to eradicate the wastes from one’s body and control re-occurrence.
6) Anticancer Potential
Talking of cancer, taro root also plays a vital part in the eradication of antioxidants in our body. The remarkable levels of vitamin A, C, and many other phenolic antioxidants in the taro root can raise our immune system and eliminate dangerous free radicals from the body system. According to the United State Department of Health and Human Services, these free radicals are those dangerous by-products from cellular metabolism that are capable of causing healthy cells to mutate and become cancerous cells. By eradicating these free radicals, our overall health is almost guaranteed! The American Institute for Cancer Research, in one of their published reports, stated that cryptoxanthin (found in taro root) is instantly linked to a lowered risk of developing both oral and cancers.
7) Heart Health
A cup of taro contains 0.1g cholesterol and fat, which prevent the thickening of the arteries. You can eat it multiple times without worrying about adding weight or other health issues related to fatty foods such as kidney or heart diseases. This root crop can give about 19 percent of the daily recommendation Vitamin E that is required to protect one from the risks of a heart attack.
8) Aging Process
The crop is a very nutritious food that contains varieties of Vitamins (A, C, B), minerals such as copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, selenium, potassium, beta-carotene, and cryptoxanthin. All these are great antioxidants that are vital to protect against infectious diseases and slow down the aging process. The crop is also high in protein and is cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and low in sodium too.
9) Adaptable and Comfortable to Add to Your Diet
Taro roots have some starchy texture and its mild, and it has a slightly sweet taste, comparable to sweet potato. It can also be used in both savory and sweet dishes.
Some prominent ways to enjoy it include:
- Taro chips: Thinly sliced taro root and baked or fried into chips.
- Hawaiian poi: Steamed and mashed taro into a purple-hued smash.
- Taro tea: Blended taro used in boba tea for a beautiful purple drink.
- Taro buns: Baked sweetened taro paste used in buttery pastry dough for dessert.
- Taro cakes: Mixed cooked taro together with seasonings and fried until crispy.
- In stews and soups: Cut taro into some chunks and use it in brothy dishes.
It is vital to note that taro root crops should only be consumed cooked.
Raw taro is high in oxalates and proteases that may cause a burning or stinging sensation in your mouth. Cooking, of course, deactivates these compounds.
High blood pressure or hypertension is mostly seen in the mid-aged folks that can be kept in control by eating foods that are low in sodium and fat. A cup of taro gives only 20 milligrams of sodium that aids in maintaining kidney issues and fluid retention.
Ascorbic acid in taro is useful in regenerative roles and boosts our immunity of the body.
Taro is among the best sources of Ascorbic acid since a cup of taro can provide 11 percent of your daily requirement of Ascorbic acid. This acts as a great antioxidant to get rid of toxins from your body and also detoxifies them.
13) Helps Manage Diabetes
Should you get a sufficient level of dietary fiber in taro root, then you can manage your glycemic levels effectively and lower your risk of developing diabetes. If you are diabetic, then fibrous foods like taro root may help prevent the harm plunges and studs in blood sugar as well as improving satiety.
14) Visual Strength
Taro root crop contains a lot of antioxidants, such as cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene. These antioxidants help to enhance vision as well by preventing harmful free radicals from attacking cells of the eyes (ocular cells) and cataracts or triggering macular degeneration!
15) Skin Care
Between vitamin A and vitamin E, our skin is well-shielded when we add this root crop to our diets. Both of these vital vitamins work to eradicate skin conditions and enhance overall cellular health, meaning that blemishes and wounds heal faster, and a healthy glow can be reclaimed to the skin.
16) Low Glycemic Index Food
Taro root has a very Low GI (Glycemic Index). This helps to split glucose in the liver gently and aids in weight loss, and reduces blood sugar. This is also beneficial for hypoglycemia as it provides long-lasting energy.
17) Increased Circulation
The mineral content of this root crop has a lot of important applications, but the dual presence of both copper and iron in it makes it a very vital food to help prevent anemia and enhance circulation throughout the body. Copper and iron are both vital for the generation of red blood cells, which convey the all-important oxygen to target organs of the body. This, in turn, prevent fatigue, aid to increase metabolism, allow the growth of cells, and overall oxygenation of the body, which leads to the proper functioning of organs and systems at their optimal levels!
18) Muscle Health
Taro roots contain magnesium and Vitamin E that can shield you from heart and cancerous diseases. This also aids in maintaining the body’s blood pressure and is beneficial for fluid regulation. It also contains magnesium which is pertinent for bone, muscle, and nerve health.