Cocoyam or commonly called taro, has been one of the very popular starchy root crop varieties found in the tropics like Asia. It is vastly propagated and has several medicinal properties that have been known in the olden times and are regularly used in different cuisines and cooking approaches. Cocoyam can be added to many dishes and may be incorporated as a dessert ingredient and flavoring. Some popular dishes in Asia which contain taro are cocoyam donuts, taro buchi, braised pork ribs stew with taro, taro milk tea, taro bread, and many more. But did you know that there are many untapped benefits of cocoyam?
Cocoyam has a nutty and sweet taste. It can be compared with the camote tops taste and palatability. It is often in white and purplish tones and has a similar texture to potatoes, cassava, and camote tops. Most methods of cooking and preparing cocoyam can be easily done. You can have it boiled, have it roasted, grounded, or simply cut it into thin strips and make some cocoyam chips. But how does cocoyam nourish our bodies? What are the health benefits of cocoyam?
1. Cocoyam is known to prevent certain cancers.
Some health nourishing properties of cocoyam are its high content of vitamins A and C. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants that help to fight free radicals and carcinogenic factors that can cause severe illnesses and cancer. Lack of vitamin C can cause a weak immune system, delayed wound recovery, gingivitis, and several body inflammations. While vitamin A is essential to protect and boost eye health too. We also need it for cellular repair and reproduction. Vitamin A has been known to support a healthy immune system and it may reduce the cellular mutation that can cause cancerous cell proliferation.
2. Cocoyam has rich potassium properties.
Ever felt weak, swelling, dizzy, or inflamed with your joints? The reason is a low potassium count in your body. Potassium has a significant role in maintaining bodily fluids transport and blood pressure levels. Enough supply of potassium in the body can help maintain heart health and prevent the sudden elevation of blood pressure. This can also help lubricate and strengthen joints and cartilages in the body for a healthy muscular and skeletal system. Consuming cocoyam regularly can provide the body with a viable potassium supply to help maintain your regulated blood pressure, joint health, and sinus drainage.
3. Eating cocoyam can boost immunity.
Cocoyam has a rich vitamin C content, which makes it an excellent immunity booster. Our body needs enough production of T-cells or white blood cells to fight infections. A stronger immune system can help defend the body against viruses and sickness-causing agents found everywhere. Therefore, eating taro or cocoyam can increase our vitamin C absorption and antioxidant levels in the body.
4. Cocoyam consumption can aid in the proper blood circulation process.
Suffering from anemia or similar blood-related disorders? Cocoyam can save the day. Iron deficiency anemia affects most women, the elderly, and children. This can result in a poor supply of oxygenated blood circulating throughout the body. It is the lack or less supply of red blood cells which causes anemia. Cocoyam’s beneficial enzymes have iron contents necessary in the production of red blood cells in the body to combat anemia and other chronic blood ailments.
5. Cocoyam is good for digestion.
Several people suffer from digestion problems that greatly affect their daily lives. Being unable to enjoy life to the fullest because of indigestion and gastric issues can be a serious issue. Cocoyam has a rich dietary fiber content that helps to prevent certain conditions. Cocoyam’s fiber content helps the digestive system to function properly to fully digest the food we eat and absorb important nutrients to nourish our bodies. The natural fibers can also help to flush toxins out of our system to maintain great gut health and overall wellness. And what’s great is people allergic to gluten can have cocoyam, since it has been found gluten-free.
6. Cocoyam can help enhance learning and comprehension.
Want to prep for an upcoming exam? Many people would suggest eating brain foods like nuts and greens. But do you know that eating cocoyam can help enhance learning and develop the cognitive functions of the brain? Cocoyam is rich in vitamin B1 or thiamine, a potent brain-enhancing vitamin that speeds up the transport of brain signals and maintains healthy neurons that result in faster learning and memory retention. It will also help in focusing and analyzing information that the visual senses ask to interpret.
7. Cocoyam can help regulate blood sugar levels.
There are so many cases of diabetes globally. Adults and children suffer from the disease because of unbalanced insulin in the body and unregulated blood sugar levels. Diabetes can cause eye disorders, low energy levels, delayed wound healing process, and several chronic conditions that can affect the heart and kidneys. Cocoyam’s insulin-regulating properties help the body to maintain a good level of glucose in the body, thus preventing the unexpected switch and rise of blood sugar in the body. Regular consumption of cocoyam helps to manage your blood glucose levels and may even prevent the start of diabetes.
8. Cocoyam can do wonders for weight loss.
Losing extra pounds off the scale can be quite hard for people who aren’t active. Imagine sitting all day on your 9 – 5 grinds; this can actually make the fat stay on your belly and elsewhere. Studies have proven that eating fiber-rich food can help stay full for a bit longer, hence the delay of and prevention of eating from time to time. We all know that cutting on your cravings can be really hard. So eating foods with dietary fiber content like with cocoyam can help since it has a low calorie and fat content but high in fiber and starch that can slow stomach emptying duration. The weight loss benefits of cocoyam seem to be very effective.
9. It is good for muscular strength and cell repair.
Cocoyam is rich in phosphorous and potassium. These two minerals can help strengthen muscles and aids in the cell renewal and regeneration. Muscular strength is definitely important since we do several tasks like lifting, pushing, pulling, and other strength and endurance requiring locomotive movements every single day. The potassium found in taro can help repair worn-out muscles and develop muscle mass together with the help of protein intake. We also need phosphorus for healthy ligaments and dental health.
10. Cocoyam can help with your vision.
Eye health is really important. But these days, due to several factors like stress, pollution, too much screen time, radiation, and even dehydration can severely affect our eyes. Wearing corrective eyeglasses can be very inconvenient most times, that’s why prevention is better than cure. Avoiding too much UV light and radiation-emitting equipment and gadgets together with a healthy diet can help maintain good eyesight. Cocoyam’s eye beneficial properties include antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C and protein components can do great wonders for your eye health. These are effectively blocking and preventing macular deterioration and improves ocular and visual health.
You see, we can all have and enjoy the health benefits of cocoyam every day. It can be added to everyday viands, desserts, and other culinary choices. And its health-enriching potential is still yet to discover and develop to further enhance its medicinal value.