Taro is one of the most popular ingredients in health food stores, not only because of its delicious sweet taste, but also because its benefits do not go unnoticed, which is why we find it in various sweets, ice creams, smoothies and even milkshakes, whose color is between lilac-purple. What is taro and what are its properties?
What is taro?
Taro, also known as malanga, bituca, pituca, kalo or cará, is a brown tuber very similar to sweet potato, produced by a plant called Colocasia esculenta.
Where does taro come from?
According to the British Library, taro is native to Southeast Asia, but it became popular in French Polynesian cuisine, where the taro root is used in all kinds of dishes.
Although the exterior of this tuber is similar to sweet potato, when cut in half, its color is very different because it has a beautiful tone between white or pink, almost purple, hence the hue that we appreciate in taro ice cream, for example. In addition to its color, it has beneficial properties for health, not for nothing is it a food that you should include in your diet.
What does taro taste like?
Taro has a sweeter taste like potatoes can have, but with a slightly sour note. It is usually served with salads and other ingredients such as tofu and quinoa, but we can also find taro in soups and even in a variety of desserts such as ice cream, cakes, or mousse, to name a few.
What are the properties of Taro?
Taro is a tuber rich in vitamins A, C, E, B6 and folate, and is a source of minerals such as potassium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, iron and magnesium. According to Starch in Food magazine, raw taro contains sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein.
Taro Health Benefits
This tuber is rich in nutrients that can provide great health benefits, for example, one serving of a cup of taro has ⅓ of the recommended daily intake of manganese, a mineral that the body needs to stay healthy, essential to improve bone health as well as blood coagulation.
On the other hand, its antioxidant capacity of polyphenols stands out, which can improve the efficiency of fat metabolism to reduce liver inflammation, a complication that in the long term can be considered dangerous to health, describes information from the National Library of Medicine.
1. Taro reduces the risk of cancer
It is believed that its regular consumption is of great help because it provides antioxidants to the body; for its high content of vitamins A and C, which strengthens the immune system.
A study published in 2020 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences also shows that taro root “contains valuable bioactive molecules effective against cancer and related risk factors,” such as oxidative stress and inflammation, due to the fact that taro root is rich in antioxidants.
Quercetin, which comes from the purple pigment of this tuber, is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals, which are molecules that accumulate in the body over time and cause cell damage, one of the risk factors for developing cancer, specialists describe.
2. Taro protects blood pressure
Taro contains potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and lower blood sugar, according to the study “Nutritional Potential, Health Benefits, and Food Safety of Colocasia Taro,” published by the Food Center of Addis Ababa University.
A taro tea, infusion, or smoothie helps reduce stress and could lower your blood pressure.
3. Taro Can Regulate Glucose
According to an article published in the scientific journal Nutrients, the polyphenols found in taro root can facilitate the management of diabetes by helping to regulate blood glucose levels.
On the other hand, the fiber contained in taro helps regulate the release of insulin and glucose in the body. However, these results have only been obtained in clinical studies conducted on laboratory rats.
4. Taro reduces heart disease
Thanks to its composition rich in flavonoids, regular consumption of taro is associated with a decrease in the oxidation rate of VLDL lipoprotein, i.e. there is a lower probability of developing atherosclerotic plaques, which appear when there is a large amount of cholesterol accumulated in the walls of the arteries.
How to use taro root?
This tuber should never be eaten raw because it contains a compound called calcium oxalate, which has a bitter taste and can cause itching in the mouth and throat, so it should be washed and disinfected well before cooking.
A quick way to consume taro is as a drink, you can buy organic taro which comes as a powder and contains no sweeteners.
All you need is
- 15 grams of taro (or add the concentration you prefer)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/2 glass of ice
- Sweetener (like stevia)
Method of preparation:
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until blended. Pour into a glass and ready. Enjoy the benefits!
Now that you know what taro is and what its benefits are, don’t hesitate to consume it to stay healthy. Take care of yourself!