Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Taro (and more)

This article on the benefits of taro will be an eye opener for readers unfamiliar with this tropical vegetable, as it delves into why you may be killing yourself unknowingly. Simply exchanging your wheat based foods with taro improves your chances of a healthier life. Yes, really.

The benefits of taro over potatoes and wheat products include....

  • higher in calories
  • gluten free
  • low in sodium cholesterol and saturated fat
  • good source of dietary fibre
  • high in vitamin E, vitamin B6, and managanese
  • low in sodium cholesterol and saturated fat

So what's so great about taro? We're glad you asked!

The Taro plant is a very vigorous perennial, native to Asia. In many parts of the world, it is grown as a commercial crop in flooded land, much the same as rice. However, as long as there is sufficient rainfall, it will grow in drier ground. Taro is a staple food for much of the Pacific region, Hawaii Samoa and Fiji in particular.

High in vitamin A and C, calcium and iron, it also has good levels of protein. Both the root and leaves are edible. The leaves can be used in much the same manner as spinnach (with a similar taste), and the root is cooked and used as you would a potato. With plenty of starch and carbohydates this really is a nutritious food.

Calories are heat energy we all need in going about our daily lives. Low caloric intake forces more frequent visits to the fast food counter or opening that refrigerator once too often and thereby developing a pattern of binge eating.

Dining on taro instead keeps you feeling full for a lot longer, just don't overindulge creating that unwanted fat! Taro is also delicious with various cultivars (white, yellow, green, purple, black) and cross-breeds to choose from.

Taro Is Gluten Free

Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye, oats and invariably bread. Present also in pizza, pasta, rolls and most processed foods, it causes serious health complications for many.

Taro is gluten free, and therefore suited for celiac disease sufferers or those with a chronic disorder of damage to the lining of the small intestine causing malabsorption of minerals and nutrients.

The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten, including; osteoporosis, irritable and inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. You can visit this website to read more about the dangers of gluten.

Note the prevalence of celiac disease in the United States is similar to that of Europe at about one in every 300 people suffering from it (estimated 750,000 to a third of the US population costing the healthcare system millions of dollars).

An alarming finding is that 30 percent of European descendants carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8) which raises the susceptibility of health problems from ingesting gluten.

Also alarming is the fact that American strains of wheat have much higher gluten content (needed for the light, fluffy giant bagels) than traditional varieties consumed since the middle ages.

Gluten also plays a hand in psychiatric and neurological diseases, like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, neuropathy and autism.

The downside on taro is when raw, it contains the toxic oxalic acid. Cooking until soft destroys this poison making taro safe for consumption. However, don't let this put you off taro. Many leafy green plants contain oxalic acid. The highest concentrations are found in rhubarb leaves. But even things like chives and parsley have much higher concentrations that taro. Its just that as those are used so sparingly, you never need to worry about the acid.

Health problems from gluten sensitivity can only be treated by eliminating ALL gluten from your diet - never better medication. So seek out that exotic food store and get the full benefits of taro NOW. Bread just ain't so wholesome after all.

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