If you live in the mainland United States, you have probably not tried taro root, but this little tuber is popular throughout Southeast Asia and Polynesian and poi, made from these roots, is a staple of the native Hawaiian diet. This tuber is considered a starchy vegetable and can often be used in place of potatoes or parsnips; in regards to preparation, it is a versatile veggie and tastes great when fried, grilled, baked or boiled. Below is a breakdown of its nutritional value, so you can decide if it is a food that could fit comfortably into your diet.
A two-thirds cup serving of taro roots will give you 80 calories, or approximately 4 percent of your daily caloric intake. Seventy-six of these calories come from carbohydrates, so taro is best taken in with a good amount of protein to keep the blood sugar from spiking up and maintain overall even levels.
Taro root is not a food that you eat for its protein content, as it only contains about 1 gram per two-third cup serving. However, it is often made into dishes with meats such as a soup or stew and can even be used instead of potatoes in high-protein dishes such as pot roasts. You can even prepare it the way you would French fries and have it alongside a meat dish.
Taro is considered a starchy vegetable with good reason: it contains 20 mg of carbohydrates in just one serving, most of it in the form of starches and fiber. Therefore, if you are on a low carbohydrate, diabetic or low glycemic index diet, you will have to eat only very moderate amounts of this food. However, if you are not on these restrictions, eating taro before a workout can give you a quick burst of energy and it can be whipped into a nutritious, filling smoothie along with milk and your favorite fruit.
Taro root is a good source of Vitamin A that helps to nourish the linings of your respiratory and digestive tracts and also promotes eye health. It also contains Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help strengthen your immune system and make it easier for your body to fend off illness and disease.
Consuming taro will give you small amounts of important minerals like calcium (good for strong teeth and bones), iron (which helps build your blood and can prevent conditions like anemia), and sodium (which helps to regulate your body’s fluids).
So if you are wanting to try out a new vegetable or just looking for an occasional substitute for the standard potato, consider adding taro root to your cart the next time you are shopping. Provided you are not on a low-carb or low glycemic index diet, you might find this a welcome change!