We are talking about a starchy root vegetable originally grown in Asia but now enjoyed all over the world.
It has a brown outer skin and white flesh with purple flecks. When cooked, it has a slightly sweet taste and a potato-like texture.
Taro root is a great source of fiber and other nutrients and offers a variety of potential health benefits, including better blood sugar management, gut and heart health.
7 health benefits of taro root
1. Rich in fiber and other important nutrients
One cup (132 grams) of cooked taro has 187 calories, mostly from carbohydrates, and less than one gram from protein and fat.
It also contains the following:
- Fiber: 6.7 grams.
- Manganese: 30% of the Daily Value (DV).
- Vitamin B6: 22% of the DV.
- Vitamin E: 19% of the DV.
- Potassium: 18% of DV.
- Copper: 13% of DV.
- Vitamin C: 11% of the DV.
- Fósforo: 10% of the DV.
- Magnesium: 10% of the DV.
Therefore, taro root has a good amount of various nutrients that people often do not consume, such as fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E.
Taro root is a good source of fiber and many vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in the standard American diet.
2. May help control blood sugar
Although taro root is a starchy vegetable, it contains two types of carbohydrates that are beneficial for blood sugar control: fiber and resistant starch.
Fiber is a carbohydrate that humans cannot digest. Since it is not absorbed, it has no impact on blood sugar levels.
It also helps decrease the digestion and absorption of other carbohydrates, preventing spikes in blood sugar after meals.
Studies have found that high-fiber diets, containing up to 42 grams per day, can lower blood sugar levels by about 10 mg / dl in people with type 2 diabetes.
Taro also contains a special type of starch, known as resistant starch, that humans cannot digest and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels.
About 12% of the starch in cooked taro root is resistant starch, making it one of the best sources of this nutrient.
This combination of starch and resistant fiber makes taro root a good carbohydrate option, especially for people with diabetes.
Taro root contains fiber and resistant starch, which slows digestion and reduces blood sugar spikes after meals.
3. May reduce the risk of heart disease
The fiber and resistant starch in taro root can also help lower your risk of heart disease.
Substantial research has found that people who eat more fiber tend to have lower rates of heart disease.
One study found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, the risk of dying from heart disease decreased by 17%.
This is believed to be partly due to the cholesterol-lowering effects of fiber, but research is ongoing.
Taro root contains more than 6 grams of fiber per cup (132 grams), more than double the amount found in a comparable 138-gram serving of potatoes, making it an excellent source of fiber.
Taro root also provides resistant starch, which lowers cholesterol and has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Taro root is rich in fiber and resistant starch, which helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
4. Contains anti-cancer properties
Taro root contains plant-based compounds called polyphenols that have several health benefits, including the potential to reduce the risk of cancer.
The main polyphenol found in taro root is quercetin, which also exists in large quantities in onions, apples, and tea.
Test-tube and animal studies have found that quercetin can trigger cancer cell death and slow the growth of various types of cancer.
It is also a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from excessive free radical damage that has been linked to cancer.
A test-tube study found that taro extract was able to stop the spread of some types of breast and prostate cancer cells, but no human research has been done.
While initial studies are promising, more research is needed to better understand taro’s anticancer properties.
Taro root contains polyphenols and antioxidants that can fight cancer growth and protect your body from oxidative stress. However, more research is needed in this area.
5. It can help you lose weight
Taro root is a good source of fiber, containing 6.7 grams per cup (132 grams).
Research has found that people who eat more fiber tend to have less body weight and less body fat.
This may be because fiber slows stomach emptying, keeping you full longer and reducing the number of calories you eat throughout the day. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
The resistant starch in taro root can have similar effects.
One study found that men who took a supplement containing 24 grams of resistant starch before meals consumed about 6% fewer calories and had lower levels of insulin after meals, compared to the control group.
Animal studies have also shown that rats fed diets rich in resistant starch had less total body fat and abdominal fat.
It is hypothesized that this is in part because resistant starch increases fat burning in your body, but more research is needed.
Due to its high fiber and resistant starch content, taro root can increase feelings of fullness, reduce total calorie intake, and increase fat burning, potentially leading to weight loss and reducing body fat.
6. It’s good for your intestines
Since taro root contains a lot of fiber and resistant starch, it can be beneficial for gut health.
Your body does not digest or absorb fiber and resistant starch, so they remain in your intestines. When they reach your colon, they become food for the microbes in your gut and promote the growth of good bacteria.
When gut bacteria ferment these fibers, they create short-chain fatty acids that nourish the cells that line the intestines and keep them healthy and strong.
A study in pigs found that diets rich in resistant starch improved colon health by increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids and decreasing damage to colon cells.
Interestingly, human studies have found that people with inflammatory bowel disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, tend to have lower levels of short-chain fatty acids in their intestines.
Some research suggests that consuming fiber and resistant starch can increase these levels and help protect against inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.
The fiber and resistant starch in taro root are fermented by intestinal bacteria to form short-chain fatty acids, which can protect against colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
7. Versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet
Taro root has a starchy texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor, similar to sweet potato. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Some popular ways to enjoy it include:
- Taro chips: Thinly slice the taro and bake or fry into small pieces.
- Hawaiian Poi: Steam and mash taro in a purple mash.
- Taro Tea – Mix taro or use taro powder in boba tea for a beautiful purple drink.
- Taro Buns : Bake the sweetened taro paste inside the dough dough for dessert.
- Taro cakes: Mix the cooked taro with the seasonings and fry until crisp.
- In soups and stews : Cut the taro into chunks and use it in sparkling dishes.
It is important to note that taro root should only be eaten cooked.
Raw taro contains proteases and oxalates that can cause a stinging or burning sensation in the mouth. Cooking deactivates these compounds.
Taro root has a smooth, starchy texture and a slightly sweet taste. It can be cooked and enjoyed in both sweet and savory dishes.
You should not eat raw taro root as it contains compounds that can cause a stinging or burning sensation in your mouth.
The bottom line
Taro root is a starchy root vegetable with a slightly sweet taste.
It is a great source of various nutrients that many people do not get enough of, such as fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E.
Taro is also an excellent source of fiber and resistant starch, which accounts for many of its health benefits, such as improved heart health, blood sugar levels, body weight, and gut health.
Taro also contains a variety of antioxidants and polyphenols that protect against free radical damage and potentially cancer.
Always cook the root before eating it to neutralize compounds that can cause unpleasant itchy sensations in the mouth.
When cooked, taro is a nutritious addition to sweet and savory foods.