The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Cocoyam
As a relatively known staple crop in the underdeveloped and developing countries, it can serve as a weaning food and its own leaves are sometimes used as vegetable for cooking.
It is an aroid because it is grown mainly for its edible corms; however their leaves can also be used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.
Cocoyam has more calories than potatoes. 100 g provides 112 calories. Its calories mainly come from complex carbohydrates known as amylose and amylopectin. However, the roots are very low in fats and protein than in cereals and pulses. Their protein levels can be comparable to that of other tropical food sources like yam, cassava, potato, banana, etc.
Cocoyam, however, are free from gluten. They feature high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fibre, and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals, and vitamins.
It is one of the finest source dietary fibres; 100 g flesh provides 4.1 g or 11% of daily-requirement of dietary fibre. Together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates, moderate amounts of fibre in the food help gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
Here are the benefits:
- Cancer Prevention
Taro root plays an important part for the antioxidant activity in our body. High levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and various other phenolic antioxidants found in taro root helps to boost immune system and help eliminate dangerous free radicals from our system. Free radicals are actually the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that may result in healthy cells to mutate and turn into cancerous cells. By eliminating these free radicals, our general health is almost guaranteed! Cryptoxanthin, which is found in taro root, is directly related to a lowered chance of developing both lung and oral cancers.(1)
- Reduce Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cocoyam is extremely beneficial for overcoming rheumatoid arthritis because low levels of vitamin B6 are related with increased signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), like more severe pain. Several researchers conclude that people with RA require comparatively more vitamin B6 than healthy people because they experience constant muscle aches and joint pain due to chronic inflammation. Vitamin B6 benefits include curbing pain and can be useful in supplement form for controlling aches in the muscles and joints due to arthritis.
- Blood Pressure and Heart Health
Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium which is considered other essential minerals that are essential to remain healthy and efficient. Potassium not only enables healthy fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body, but also helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries. By relaxing the veins and blood vessels, blood pressure can be reduced and stress on the overall cardiovascular system is reduced. Potassium is related to increased cognitive function because neural connections can be boosted when blood pressure is reduced and fluid transfer between neural membranes is optimized!
- Immune System Health
Cocoyam plays an important role in the immune system. Vitamin C is found in taro roots which help to encourage immune system to create more white blood cells which help to defend the body from foreign pathogens and agents. Additionally vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which moderately prevents the development of conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Consuming high potassium foods is directly related with decreased muscle cramping and improved muscle strength. Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium 615 mg which is 13.09% of the daily recommended value. Muscle cramps are one of the common side effects of low potassium levels. This happens when athlete becomes dehydrated and isn’t consuming enough potassium rich foods before and after exercise.
- Digestive Health
Cocoyam plays an important role in digestion because it consists of high level of dietary fiber (a single serving contains 11.32% of the daily requirement of dietary fiber) Fiber is very important for supporting our gastrointestinal health. Fiber helps to add bulk to our bowel movements, thus helping food move through the digestive tract and facilitating improved digestion. Apart from that it can help to prevent certain conditions like excess gas, cramping, bloating, constipation and even diarrhea. A healthy, regulated gastrointestinal system can significantly boost your overall health and reduce your chances of various types of cancer.
- Enhances Learning
Cocoyam consists of Vitamin B1 which is also known as thiamine is a crucial vitamin for increasing focus, energy, fighting chronic stress, and perhaps preventing memory loss. Several researches have linked thiamine deficiency to problems learning and retaining information. One study showed that thiamine caused quick reaction times and feelings of clear-headedness in those taking tests. Cocoyam consists of 0.099 mg of vitamin b1 which is 8.25% of the daily recommended value.
- Boosts Vision
As we have previously mentioned, Cocoyam is loaded with several antioxidants, like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants can also help to improve vision as well, by preventing the free radicals from attacking ocular cells and causing macular degeneration or cataracts!
- Helps Maintain Dental Health
Cocoyam consists of phosphorus which is essential for both bone health as well as maintaining teeth and gum health. Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus all play an important role in the formation and maintenance of dental health by supporting tooth enamel, jaw-bone mineral density and holding the teeth in place, too — therefore, these minerals and vitamins can also help heal tooth decay.
Apart from proper bowel movement dietary fiber can also help lower the chances of developing diabetes because it helps to regulate the release of insulin and glucose in the body. If you consume sufficient amount of Cocoyam in your regular diet then you can manage your glycemic levels and lower your chances of developing diabetes. If you have diabetes, then fiber-rich foods like taro root can help prevent the spikes and plunges in blood sugar that can be so hazardous.
- Thickens Hair
Cocoyam consists of significant amount of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to decrease environmental damage to your hair. It also promotes circulation to the scalp. Vitamin E oil can retain the natural moisture in your skin, which help your scalp from becoming dry and flakey. This oil will also make your hair look healthier and fresher. You can use a few drops of vitamin E oil on your hair, especially if it is looking dry and dull.
- Circulation Stimulation
Cocoyam consists of several mineral contents. But the presence of iron and copper in Cocoyam make it an important food to prevent anemia and boost circulation throughout the body. Both Iron and copper are essential for the production of red blood cells that carry the all-important oxygen to our body’s systems and cells. By decreasing the chances of anemia (iron deficiency) and boost the flow of blood through the body, you can speed overall metabolism, growth of new cells, and general oxygenation of the body that is always a good idea to keep organs and systems functioning at their optimal levels!
- Prevent Bone Loss
Copper present in taro roots plays an important role in slow down bone loss and osteoporosis in older women when taken in combination with other important minerals like zinc, calcium and manganese. Copper has bone-strengthening properties and its collagen-forming qualities encourage strong bones and connective tissues. Cocoyam consists of 0.179 mg of copper which is 19.89% of the daily recommended value.
- Skin Health
Cocoyam is extremely beneficial to those who wish to keep their skin hydrated as well as protected since it consists of sufficient amount of vitamin A and vitamin E. Each of these vitamin helps to eliminate skin problems and boost overall cellular health. Regular consumption of Cocoyam helps to heal wounds and blemishes faster, wrinkles will be diminished and you can get a healthy and glowing skin.