Taro root is a root vegetable also known as Arbi and is known for its excellent healing properties that are essential for getting rid of several diseases.
These root vegetables originate from India and Malaysia, but grows wild in dry or wet places.(1) Taro roots are starchy root vegetables having brown outer skin but white flesh with purple specks throughout. It tastes mildly sweet with a texture quite similar to potato when it is cooked. These root vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and many other essential nutrients and they offer a lot of significant health benefits like improved heart health, gut health, blood sugar management, and many more. Now, let’s take a closer look at various health benefits of taro roots.
Nutritional Profile Of Taro Roots:
Taro roots have got an impressive nutritional profile and they primarily consists of fiber and several essential nutrients like manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium; and vitamins like vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E.
One cup or 132 grams of cooked taro offers 187 calories, less than 1 gram of protein and fat, 6.7 grams of fiber, 22% of the Daily value of Vitamin B6, 11% of the Daily value of Vitamin C, 19% of the DV of Vitamin E, 30% of the DV of manganese, 18% of the DV potassium, 13% of the DV of copper, 10% of the DV of phosphorus, 10% of the DV of Magnesium.(1)
So, taro roots or arbi have fair amounts of various nutrients like potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins C and vitamin E, that people usually do not get enough from their diet. (2)
10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Taro Roots or Arbi
They Might Help In Controlling Blood Sugar:
Though taro roots are starchy vegetable, they contain two types of carbohydrates that are quite essential for the management of blood sugar; and they are the fiber and resistant starch. Being a carbohydrate that cannot be digested by humans, fiber has got no impact on blood sugar levels.
It also aids slow down the digestion as well as absorption of other carbohydrates, thus preventing large blood sugar spikes after meals.(3)
Studies have shown that diets containing high fiber, up to 42 grams per day, can actually reduce the levels of blood sugar by around 10 mg/dl in people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.(4)
Taro roots are also known to contain a special type of starch, the resistant starch, that cannot be digested by humans and thus it does not increase the blood sugar levels. Roughly 12% of the starch that is present in cooked taro roots are resistant starch, thus making the root vegetable one of the best sources of this important nutrient.(5)
The combination of resistant starch and fiber in taro root makes it a good option of carbohydrate, especially for those suffering from diabetes.(6,7)
Taro Roots or Arbi are Beneficial in Slowing Down the Aging Process:
Taro roots are very nutritious and contain several vitamins including vitamin A, B and C; minerals such as manganese, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, selenium, beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin. All these are known to be good antioxidants that are beneficial at protecting against diseases and slow down the process of aging. This also comprise of protein and it is gluten-free, cholesterol free and also low in sodium content.
Benefits of Taro Roots in Reducing Fatigue:
Taro roots are primarily consumed by athletes or sportsmen for long lasting energy and because they reduce fatigue. These root vegetables contain a low glycemic index in them which is good for athletes.
Taro Roots Might Offer You Anti-Cancer Properties:
One of the most important health benefits of taro roots is that they might offer you anti-cancer properties.
The plant-based compounds known as polyphenols present in taro roots have several health benefits, including the potential ability to reduce cancer risk. Quercetin is the main polyphenol present in taro root, which is even present in large amounts in apples, onions, and tea.
Test-tube as well as animal studies have found that quercetin can actually trigger cancer cell death and slow down the growth of various types of cancer.(8)
It is also a potential antioxidant that protects our body from excess of free radical damage that is known to be linked with cancer.(9)
A test-tube study has found that taro root extract was able to stop the spreading of some types of prostate and breast cancer cells; however, no human research has been conducted on this.(10)
Though early studies are quite promising, more research is still required to understand the anticancer properties of taro roots.
Taro Roots Might Be Beneficial In Your Weight Loss Mission:
Are you on a weight loss mission? If yes, then probably Taro roots or Arbi could help you in losing some extra pounds. These roots are a good source of fiber, containing around 6.7 grams in every 132 grams or one cup of serving.
Research has found that those who consume more fiber, tend to have lower body weight and also less body fat.
This might be because fiber slows the emptying of your stomach and keeps you full for a long time and also reduces the number of calories that you eat all throughout the day. This, might result in weight loss overtime.(11)
In addition, the resistant starch found in Taro Roots or Arbi might also have similar effects.
A study found that men those who took a supplement containing 24 grams of resistant starch before meals consumed around 6% fewer calories and had lower levels of insulin after the meals, as compared to the controlled group.(12)
Animal studies even showed that rats those were fed with diets rich in resistant starch had less total body fat and belly fat. It is hypothesized that this might be partially because of the resistant starch increasing the burning of fat in your body; however, further research on this is required.(13)
Muscle Health Benefits Of Taro Roots:
It is also known that taro roots help in improving your muscle health. Taro roots or Arbi have vitamin A and magnesium in them and they can protect you from heart diseases and cancer. They even help you in maintaining your blood pressure and it is even essential for fluid regulation. These root vegetables contain magnesium which is quite essential for muscle, nerve and bone health.
Taro Roots Are Good For Your Gut:
Taro roots have plenty of fiber and resistant starch in them, and this might be beneficial for your gut health.
We already mentioned that our body does not digest or absorb fiber and resistant starch, and thus they remain in the intestines. When they reach our colon, they become food for the microorganisms in the gut and promote the growth of good gut bacteria.(14)
When the gut bacteria ferment these fibers, they are known to create short-chain fatty acids that actually nourish the cells lining your intestines and keep them strong and healthy.(15)
A study in pigs have found that diets that are rich in resistant starch improved colon health by enhancing the production of short-chain fatty acid and decreasing the damage to colon cells.(16)
However, interestingly, human studies have found that people having inflammatory intestinal disorders, like ulcerative colitis, are known to have quite lower levels of short-chain fatty acids in their guts.(17)
There are some research that suggests that consuming fiber and resistant starch can boost these levels and can help in protecting your body against inflammatory bowel diseases and colon cancer.
Taro Roots Might Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease:
Taro roots have fiber and resistant starch in them that might help in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Substantial research has found that those individuals who eat more fiber tend to have lower rates of heart disease.(18)
A study has found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber that is consumed per day, the risk of dying from heart disease is reduced by 17%.(19)
Taro roots also provide resistant starch, which lowers your cholesterol levels and is also known to be linked with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Digestive Health Benefits of Taro Roots:
These root vegetables have fair amount of fiber in them and this makes it beneficial for the digestive process. The fiber content makes you feel being full for a long period of time even after a small meal. So, eating taro roots can also be useful to lose extra pounds and maintain body weight, because it has low calories and high fiber.(20)
Apart from this, these taro roots also clear your stomach. Because they assist in a better digestion, they are known to eliminate the wastes from your body, prevent re-occurrence and clear the stomach.
They Are Good For Immunity:
Taro roots or Arbi are also known to be good for immunity. The vitamin C present in taro is essential in regenerative functions and it also boosts the body’s immunity.
One of the important benefits of taro roots is that they have a starchy texture, slightly sweet in taste, and can be easily added to your diet in various ways such as taro chips, taro tea, taro cakes, and also in soups and stews. So, with all these above mentioned health benefits and also the benefits of preparing taro roots in a much easier way, it is obvious that you would want to add this healthy and nutritious root vegetable to your daily diet.
However, you need to keep in mind that taro roots must always be consumed by cooking, as raw taro contains oxalates and proteases that can actually cause burning or stinging sensation in your mouth. Cooking these taro roots actually deactivates these compounds.