Vanuatu has the biggest variety of Taro in the whole of the South Pacific. Produced by over 1000 farmers throught the 83 islands of Vanuatu, the Taro is also the most consumed and most caltivated crop in Vanuatu.
One cup (132 grams) of cooked taro has 187 calories — mostly from carbs — and fewer than one gram each of protein and fat (1).
It also contains the following:
- Fiber: 6.7 grams
- Manganese: 30% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin B6: 22% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 19% of the DV
- Potassium: 18% of the DV
- Copper: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 11% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
- Magnesium: 10% of the DV
Although taro root is a starchy vegetable, it contains two types of carbohydrates that are beneficial for blood sugar management: fiber and resistant starch.
Fiber is a carbohydrate that humans can’t digest. Since it’s not absorbed, it has no impact on blood sugar levels.
Studies have found that high-fiber diets — containing up to 42 grams per day — can reduce blood sugar levels by roughly 10 mg/dl in people with type 2 diabetes (4Trusted Source).
Taro also contains a special type of starch, known as resistant starch, that humans cannot digest and thus does not raise blood sugar levels. Roughly 12% of the starch in cooked taro root is resistant starch, making it one of the better sources of this nutrient (5Trusted Source).
The fiber and resistant starch in taro root may also help reduce your risk of heart disease.
One study found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, the risk of dying from heart disease decreased by 17% (9Trusted Source).
Taro root contains plant-based compounds called polyphenols that have various health benefits, including the potential to reduce cancer risk.
Test-tube and animal studies have found that quercetin can trigger cancer cell death and slow the growth of several types of cancers (15Trusted Source).
One test-tube study found that taro extract was able to stop the spread of some types of breast and prostate cancer cells, but no human research has been conducted (17Trusted Source).
While early studies are promising, more research is needed to better understand the anticancer properties of taro.
Taro root is a good source of fiber, containing 6.7 grams per cup (132 grams) (1).
Research has found that people who eat more fiber tend to have lower body weight and less body fat (18).
This may be because fiber slows stomach emptying, which keeps you fuller longer and reduces the number of calories you eat throughout the day. Over time, this may lead to weight loss(19Trusted Source).
The resistant starch in taro root may have similar effects.
One study found that men who took a supplement containing 24 grams of resistant starch before meals consumed roughly 6% fewer calories and had lower insulin levels after the meal, compared to the control group (20Trusted Source).
Animal studies have also shown that rats fed diets high in resistant starch had less total body fat and belly fat. It’s hypothesized that this is partially due to resistant starch increasing fat-burning in your body, but further research is needed (21Trusted Source).
Since taro root contains plenty of fiber and resistant starch, it may be beneficial to gut health.
Your body does not digest or absorb fiber and resistant starch, so they remain in your intestines. When they reach your colon, they become food for the microbes in your gut and promote the growth of good bacteria (22Trusted Source).
One study in pigs found that diets rich in resistant starch improved colon health by boosting short-chain fatty acid production and decreasing damage to colon cells (24Trusted Source).
Interestingly, human studies have found that people with inflammatory intestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, tend to have lower levels of short-chain fatty acids in their guts (25Trusted Source).
Some research suggests that consuming fiber and resistant starch can boost these levels and help protect against inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer (26Trusted Source).
Taro root has a starchy texture and mild, slightly sweet taste, similar to sweet potato. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Some popular ways to enjoy it include:
- Taro chips: Thinly slice taro and bake or fry into chips.
- Hawaiian poi: Steam and mash taro into a purple-hued puree.
- Taro tea: Blend taro or use taro powder in boba tea for a beautiful purple drink.
- Taro buns: Bake sweetened taro paste inside buttery pastry dough for dessert.
- Taro cakes: Mix cooked taro with seasonings and pan fry until crispy.
- In soups and stews: Cut taro into chunks and use in brothy dishes.
It’s important to note that taro root should only be eaten cooked.
Taro root is a starchy root vegetable with a mildly sweet taste.
It’s a great source of various nutrients that many people don’t get enough of, including fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and E.
Taro is also an excellent source of fiber and resistant starch, which account for many of its health benefits, such as improved heart health, blood sugar levels, body weight and gut health.
Taro also contains a variety of antioxidants and polyphenols that protect against free radical damage and potentially cancer.
Always cook the root before eating it to neutralize compounds that can cause unpleasant stinging sensations in the mouth.
When cooked, taro is a nutritious addition to both sweet and savory meals.
This category is empty! Please try another category or use our search function to find what you are looking for. If you require further assistance please contact us.