Enjoy The Health Benefits and Flavor Of Taro, The Tropical Tuber

One of the oldest crops on our planet is also a super-nutritious, high fiber food. Taro, often called the “potato of the tropics,” is commonly consumed in hot and humid regions of the world, where the plant naturally thrives.

Peeled taro roots look much like peeled potatoes, but have purple flecks and streaks, and we can use taro much as we would a potato. Their flavor is mild, described as being similar to water chestnuts.

Taro must be cooked to remove the skin-irritating oxalic acid it contains. The tuber is excellent in stews, or curries, and can be boiled, roasted, steamed, mashed, or fried. The plant’s large “elephant ear” leaves can also be cooked and consumed; they reportedly taste something like cabbage.

Taro and Diabetes

Not only is taro root an economical food, the nutritional content makes it a good fit for people managing diabetes:

    Glucose Control. Because it breaks down in the body slowly, taro is a good veggie choice for glucose control, and weight loss. The high fiber content of taro also keeps us feeling full longer after a meal.

    Heart Health. Taro provides vitamins A and E, omega-3, and omega-6 oils, plus potassium, and magnesium—nutrients essential for cardiovascular health, including the normalizing of our blood pressure. These nutrients also strengthen our bones, muscles, and nerves.

    Immune System. Taro’s rich nutrient load, including vitamin C, and B vitamins supports our immune system, helping to prevent and fight the infections those with diabetes are prone to developing. Plus, the copper and iron in taro aids blood circulation, the production of oxygen carrying red blood cells, and wards off anemia.

    Vision Perks. Our vision gets a protective boost from taro owed to its abundance of beta-carotenes.

Taro is available in many supermarkets, and in ethnic food stores. Other names for taro root include yautia, dasheen, and eddoe.

Making Taro Chips

We can make taro part of a complete meal, or turn the tropical spud into a healthy, crunchy snack:

  1. Thinly slice taro - using some type of food slicer works best - and place the slices on a baking sheet.
  2. Brush the slices with coconut oil and bake them until crisp, about 15 minutes, in a 350 degree F oven.
  3. Put the chips on a paper towel to cool, and sprinkle them with sea salt, or regular salt if preferred.

Taro chips are great stand alone snacks, or go well with dips, such as hummus.

Whatever way we decide to use taro, it can add a bit of gustatory adventure to our usual dietary routine. It’s always fun to try something new and interesting, especially when the nutritional benefits are outstanding.

Sources: Dr. Paul Haider/Om Times; Mercola
Photo credit: missieramirez

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