Much of the world’s population eats taro in one way or another, so there’s nothing inherently Asian about this week’s ingredient. But here in the U.S., more likely than not, we find taro in an Asian preparation because we don’t always have wide access to African cookery or those of the Oceanic and South American cultures that also use the root.
There are many varieties of taro, the root of a perennial plant with large, elephantine leaves. Some are small, round, and hairy, like rodents, others are larger and elongated, like daikon. Inside, the flesh ranges pure white to ivory with streaks of pale purple.
You may be thinking that with the abundance of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash available during the fall and winter, you’re already happy with your repertoire of starches. Why add taro to that list, given that its furry brown surface is actually an irritant to our skin? And its raw flesh is mildly toxic? What’s more, like okra, taro flesh is slimy when boiled. Admittedly, taro is not the friendliest of edible roots, but it’s well worth the effort.
Here are some benefits of this delicious root vegetable:
Blood pressure and heart health: Taro root is low in sodium content and fat, but contains minerals like potassium and magnesium which help in fluid retention. It also helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries.
Cancer: Taro root is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and other phenolic antioxidants, which help in the elimination of free radicals that cause several cancers in the body.
Diabetes: Dietary fiber found in taro root lowers the risk of developing diabetes as it helps in regulating the glucose and insulin in the body. Taro root is also a great alternative for diabetics due to its low glycaemic index.
Weight loss: Since taro root has a low caloric content, it can be very beneficail for the ones who want to lose weight.
Skin health: Taro root conatins vitamins A and E, which are a secret for a healthier skin. These vitamins help in healing wounds and blemishes faster, boost overall cellular health thereby giving a healthy radiant glow to the skin.