Taro or dasheen as it is known in St. Lucia, is a starchy globular fleshy taproot of aroid family. Its crunchy, underground root, known
as corm, is one of the popular edible root vegetables in large parts Asia, Pacific islands, West Africa, and Amazonian regions of South America. Some of the common names are cocoyam, dasheen, colocasia, elephant’s ear (plant and leaves), kalo etc.
Binomially, it belongs to the Araceae (aroid) family in the large genus: Colocasia.
Health benefits of Taro
- Taro or dasheen corms have more calories than potatoes. 100 g provides 112 calories. Their calorie mainly comes from complex carbohydrates known as amylose and amylopectin. However, the roots are very low in fats and protein than in cereals and pulses. Their protein levels can be comparable to that of other tropical food sources like yam, cassava, potato, banana, etc.
- The corms, however, are free from gluten. They feature high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fiber, and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals, and vitamins.
- It is one of the finest source dietary fibers; 100 g flesh provides 4.1 g or 11% of daily-requirement of dietary fiber. Together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates, moderate amounts of fiber in the food help gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
- Taro leaves as well as yellow-fleshed roots have significant levels of phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants such as ß-carotenes, and cryptoxanthin along with vitamin A. 100 g fresh taro leaves provide 4825 IU or 161% of RDA of vitamin A. Altogether; these compounds are required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin and vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as pyridoxine(vitamin B-6), folates, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin.
Further, the corms provide healthy amounts of some important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. In addition, the root has very good amounts of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
OLT Digital via Nutrition&You