Taro – An Anti-Cancer Vegetable with Lots of Vitamins and Minerals

You must have heard of Taro, the root crop famously known as “Gabi” in the Philippines. More popularly consumed in the provinces, taro is also well known for its leaves and stalks which are usually cooked mixed with coconut milk, mixed with garlic and sardines and made into a “Laing” dish. In Southern Luzon, taro or gabi stalks (or stems) are gathered together, cooked in coconut milk, garlic, a bit of onions and some small, dried fish or “dilis” to make a “Paklang” dish.

But, do you know taro has a plethora of health benefits for you including anti-cancer benefits when consumed? Here are the reasons why you should have taro on your daily diet:

It has Antioxidants that protect against dangerous diseases like Cancer

Taro is rich in Vitamin C which is a protective and potent antioxidant that can prevent viral ailments like coughs and colds. It also helps in strengthening the immunity of the body, facilitates the healing of injuries and the growth of connective tissue like ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

Helps you develop better eyesight

Taro leaves are rich in Vitamin A which assists in promoting better eyesight, helps in maintaining vision acuity and prevents myopia, cataract, blindness and other eye disorders.

Prevents High Cholesterol

Taro leaves have 0% cholesterol while its fat content is only 1%. Therefore, this is one of the best super foods to eat when you want to lower your cholesterol level. Additionally, the twin compound methionine and dietary fiber in the leaves effectively lower cholesterol.

Maintains Healthy Digestion

Taro leaves when cooked are a great boon to the digestive system because of the presence of dietary fiber. Fiber in taro helps in normalizing and easing bowel movements. Those with digestive problems like constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can benefit greatly from taro. It also reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.

Prevents Heart Disease problems

With low levels of saturated fat, taro is a “superfood” for the heart. Its fiber content prevents accumulation of cholesterol and fat, while its potassium content also helps in maintaining normal blood pressure. Likewise, it tends to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, thereby preventing strokes and heart disease.

Promotes cell protection

Large amounts of phenolic and carotenoid compounds in taro leaves act as antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body and provides protection against cell damage and oxidative stress.

Addresses Anemia problems

People who are short of red blood cells (RBCs), in short, anemic, should consume taro. It contains lots of iron which is needed by our red blood cells. It also prevents fatigue and general weaknesses.

Helps in Fetal Development

Largely helpful to pregnant women for the folate it contains, taro leaves are a good source of this vitamin. Folate is necessary for fetal development and prevention of birth defects. Folate is also necessary for DNA synthesis and purported to be helpful in preventing colon and rectal cancer.

Promotes healing of the skin and bones

Taro leaves contain an important amino acid called leucine which promotes skin and bone healing through the release of a natural painkiller called enkephalins. It also not just heals but relieves pain.

Reduces inflammation and controls blood pressure

The Omega-3 fatty acid present in taro leaves assist in containing inflammation in diseases like gastritis, arthritis and lupus. Also, the Omega-3 fatty acid maintains blood pressure by managing hormones that control the relaxation and contraction of artery walls.

Shields the nervous system

The Vitamin B complex that includes riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, and Vitamin B6 of taro leaves help in protecting our nervous system. If you experience numbness, tingling or pain in the limbs, it is advisable to eat taro leaves. It also enhances your immune system.

Builds healthy bones

The presence of calcium in taro leaves help in boosting calcium to make healthy bones in the body. Calcium works with phosphorous to fortify teeth and bones.

So, do you have an interesting story about taro and its healthy benefits? Share in the comments below!

Image by pisauikan / CC BY 2.0