You may have seen more taro root lately available in supermarkets and in coffee shops, as beverages, but maybe you aren’t quite sure what it is or how to even enjoy it.
First off, taro root is a starchy root vegetable originating in Asia. When cooked, taro has a slightly sweet taste and a texture similar to a potato.
Taro root is high in fiber along with other nutrients, making it a great health food to add to your diet. Here are five benefits of taro root and why you should eat more of it.
5 Benefits of Taro Root
High in fiber and nutrients. Fiber is essential for bowel regularity, and it is also key in managing cholesterol levels. Taro has a large amount of fiber. One cup of cooked taro root has 187 calories, less than one gram of protein and fat, 6.7 grams of fiber, 30 percent of your daily intake of manganese, vitamin B6, E, potassium, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus, and magnesium.
May aid in blood sugar control. The fiber and resistant starch in taro root both help prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. This is important for your pancreas, which has to respond to blood sugar spikes by working harder to produce insulin.
May reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber and resistant starch are also beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that persons who consume high amounts of starch have lower rates of heart disease. Resistant starch has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels, which is important to protect the heart.
Aids in weight loss. Studies have shown that people who consume high amounts of fiber tend to weigh less than those who don’t consume as much. These persons also tend to have lower body fat. Consuming resistant starch has also been linked to consuming fewer calories throughout the day.
Good for gut health. Because fiber and resistant starch aren’t absorbed, they stay in the intestines, where they become food for gut microbiomes. This helps promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
How to Incorporate Taro Root Into Your Diet
Taro is much better consumed cooked because when raw, it contains protease, which can sting or burn the mouth. This deactivates when cooked. If you want to start benefiting from all this root has to offer, here is how you can incorporate it into your diet:
- Make taro chips by slicing it and baking it.
- Steam and mash it like you would mashed potatoes.
- Blend it into a drink, or steep taro powder like tea.
- Mix taro with seasonings and fry it as a fritter.
- Add it to stews and soups.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s of forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Andre is a journalist for BelMarraHealth, which first published this article.