Taro root is a thick stalk of the taro plant (Colocasia esculenta) that is native to Asia. However, it is now cultivated and used in many places worldwide.

Over one thousand years, taro root has been a staple of the Polynesian diet. Due to the petioles, it is one of the few crops that can grow in flooded areas.

This vegetable comes with brown skin and white flesh with purple specs throughout. It has a potato-like texture and a mildly sweet taste when cooked.

The health benefits of taro root are quite impressive, considering its ability to improve digestion, control your blood sugar level, improve your eye health, and many more.

This article looks into some potential health benefits and side effects of taro root you may experience.

health benefits of taro

Nutritional Profile of Taro Root

Taro root contains a significant amount of dietary fiber, carbohydrates, vitamin A, B6, C, E, and folate that can benefit your health in many ways. [1]

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 100 gram serving of taro root provide the following nutrients: [2]

  • Fiber: 4.1 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 26.46 grams
  • Calories: 112
  • Vitamin B6: 0.283 mg
  • Vitamin E: 2.38 mg
  • Potassium: 591 mg
  • Vitamin C: 4.5 mg
  • Phosphorus: 84 mg
  • Magnesium: 33 mg

Health Benefits of Taro Root

1. Taro Root Helps in Proper Digestion.

The high content of dietary fiber found in taro root plays a vital role in supporting your gastrointestinal health. [3]

Fiber can help to add bulk to your stool, thus helping the food move through your digestive tract and facilitating digestion. 

Taro root may also prevent certain conditions such as bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea, and improve your overall health.

2. It May Control Your Blood Sugar.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrates that your body can’t digest. Since it cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, it doesn’t have any impact of blood sugar level. 

As taro root contains a significant amount of fiber, it can prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal. The root can slow down the absorption and digestion of other carbs as well. [4]

A research published in Nutritional Reviews concludes that a diet consists of up to 42 grams fiber per day can lower blood sugar level by 9.95 mg/dL in people suffering from type-2 diabetes. [5]

Taro contains another particular type of carbohydrate named resistant starch that also resists digestion. The combination of these two carbohydrates makes taro a good choice of food for people with diabetes. [6, 7]

3. Taro Root May Promote Healthy Heart.

Research has shown that people who consume fiber on a regular basis tend to have less heart disease. [8]

The risk of dying in heart disease can be reduced by 17% for every additional fiber eaten per day. [9]

A cup of taro root contains more than 6 grams of fiber, which is enough to make it a heart-friendly food. 

Besides, the resistant starch found in taro root can also lower the cholesterol level, thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. [10]


4. It May Improve Your EyeSight.

Taro root is a good source of different types of antioxidants, including cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene. These antioxidants are incredibly beneficial for your vision and overall eye health. [11]

Regular consumption of taro root may prevent free radicals from attacking your ocular cells, as well as causing macular degeneration or cataract.

5. Taro Root May Prevent Cancer.

The high levels of phenolic antioxidants and vitamin A and C can boost your immune system and fight free radicals.

Quercetin, the main polyphenol found in this vegetable has shown to trigger cancer cell death, as well as to slow down their growth. [12]

This potent antioxidant can also protect your body from free radical damage that can cause cancer. [13]

In fact, a test-tube study published in 2012 shows that taro extract could stop some types of prostate and breast cancer cells. [14]

As most of these test were done in test-tube, human research is needed for better understanding of its anticancer activities.

6. It is Good for Your Gut.

Eating taro root may improve your gut health as it contains plenty of resistant starch and fiber.

As fiber and resistant starch do not get absorbed by your body, they can reach the colon and become the food for microbes in your gut, thus promote good bacteria. [15]

Once the fibers get fermented, they create short-chain fatty acids that can keep your gut healthy by nourishing the cells that line your intestines. [16]

Studies show those who have inflammatory intestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, may lack short-chain fatty acids in their guts. [17]

A 2007 animal study shows that long-term intake of resistant starch could improve colon health by reducing damage to colon cells and boosting production of short-chain fatty acids. [18]


7. Taro Root May Promote Weight Loss.

Eating an adequate amount of dietary fiber is crucial if you want to maintain lower body weight and less body fat. [19]

Since taro root has high fiber content, adding it in your regular diet may help you lose weight.

It works by slowing the process of stomach emptying, meaning that you will be less hungry and eat less amount of carbs throughout the day. [20]

The resistant starch found in this vegetable can also aid in weight loss.

Research published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that taking a supplement containing 24 grams of resistant starch could significantly reduce the calorie intake by 6%. [21]

The study also reported that the supplement helped maintain a lower insulin level after a meal. [21]

Taro Root: Side Effects and Risk Factors

While consuming taro root may help you lose weight, overconsumption of this vegetable may do the opposite.

It’s because taro root is high in calories — a 100-gram serving contains 112 calories and more carbohydrates than potatoes. It means eating taro may contribute to obesity if you are not careful.

Do not eat taro root without cooking as it is toxic in raw form and may cause burning or stinging sensation in your mouth.

Oxalates and proteases, these two components in this vegetable are responsible for this toxic effect. [22, 23]

Before eating, always cook them properly to deactivate these components.

Bottom Line

Taro root is quite versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Hawaiian poi, chips, buns, cakes are some of the foods where you can put this vegetable.

However, remember to cook them properly to avoid toxicity and unpleasant side effects. Besides, if you are already overweight, eat them in moderation.

Being an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber, taro can be a nutritious addition in your daily meal.

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