Taro root (Lat. Colocasia Esculenta) is an edible corm, and belongs to the family of Araceae plants. It is also known as albi, arbi, talo, dalo, kalo, aba, and aro.
It is grown mainly in tropical regions like Southern India, Southeast Asia, Japan, Hawaii, and Polynesia. It is a rich source of nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, C, as well as complex carbohydrates and fiber.
About 12% of the carbohydrate content of the taro root is from dietary fibre, or non-digestible carbohydrates that regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism, digestion, and improve cardiovascular function.
The ratio of 6:1 for starch/fibre is good as it is low in sugar but high in slow-digesting carbohydrates. The average taro root provides about ¼ of the daily fiber intake recommendation for an adult.
A portion of 100g of cooked, unseasoned taro root provides:
- Vitamin B1: 9% RDA
- Vitamin B2: 2% RDA
- Vitamin B3: 3% RDA
- Vitamin B5: 7% RDA
- Vitamin B6: 25% RDA
- Vitamin B9: 5%
- Vitamin C: 6% RDA
- Vitamin E: 20% RDA
- Vitamin K: trace
- Calcium: 2% RDA
- Iron: 6% RDA
- Magnesium: 8% RDA
- Manganese: 21% RDA
- Phosphorous: 11% RDA
- Potassium: 10% RDA
- Zinc: 3% RDA
- Energy: 142 calories
- Protein: 0.5g
- Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 34.60g
- Fiber: 5.1g
- Sugars: 0.5g
Also, it contains numerous antioxidants such as beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin.
It is a healthier alternative carbohydrate to potato, as it can be used in a similar way, but is higher in nutrients, and has a lower Glycemic Index. It also has about three times more fiber and 30% less fat than potato.
This healthy root improving the chances of dietary success boosts digestive health, metabolic efficiency and nutrient absorption, strengthens the immune function and supporting blood health.
Moreover, it enhances bone and heart health, fights anemia, provides energy and strength for good aerobic exercise, and improves enzyme function.
Taro root has been traditionally used to eliminate toxins and poisonous waste from the body.
In the form of a pack compress, it can be applied to treat:
- cysts, fibromas (benign tumors) and lymphatic swelling
- Ear infections
- Inflammation of any kind
- strains, sprains, and edema
Here is how to use it topically:
— Taro Root Plaster Bandage To Treat Joint And Arthritis Pains And Earaches
To relieve the pain, peel a taro root, grate the white interior, and apply it on the skin. Cover with cotton gauze, and leave it to act for 2 hours.
— Taro Root and Ginger Plaster to Cure Cysts And Fibromas
To heal fibromas and cysts, peel a taro root, grate the white interior, and mix it with 5% grated fresh ginger. Then, spread the combination directly on the skin on the cyst, cover with cotton gauze and leave it to act for four hours. If you feel the skin burning, reduce the ginger quantity. Repeat daily for two weeks.
Additionally, the consumption of taro root has been found to:
- Prevent menstrual and other muscle cramps
- Strengthen the bones and connective tissues
- Improve vision and treat cataracts and macular degeneration
- Improve digestion and ensure regular bowel movements
However, the taro root cannot be eaten raw, since it is rich in calcium oxalate. It would be best to soak it in water overnight before cooking.
It has a sweet, mild, nutty and earthy taste. You can slice it and bake it in order to prepare delicious chips, or cut it into cubes for cooking in curry.
You can also boil, roast, or cook the taro leaves and root and add them to soups or meat dishes. You might also juice it, but note that the juice can momentarily sting the skin for some, but this is completely harmless.