Colocasia esculenta popularly known as cocoyam is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corms. The root vegetable is most commonly known as taro in Hawaiian. It is the most widely cultivated species of several plants in the Araceae family, which are used as vegetables for their corms, leaves, and petioles.
A recent study shows that the leaves of cocoyam are the most useful part of the plant, the fact that cocoyam leaves are edible often comes as a surprise for those who have only known this plant as a tuber.
The leaves are not just good food commodity, but they are also able to provide one with plenty of useful vitamins and minerals like any leafy green vegetables, cocoyam leaves are as healthy and helpful to the body, most especially for those who want to lose fat and improve health conditions, the study revealed.
According to several studies, cocoyam root and tuber crops are well known for their high nutrition contents. Quite many of them offer high nutritional benefits that can help bridge the gaps and balance certain dietary requirements. Among these beneficial root and tuber crops is the cocoyam.
Cocoyam is a root food that boasts of many benefits for a healthy living. It has properties that prevent, fight and cure many diseases. Health experts have also warned against eating raw cocoyam leaves and recommended how to cook cocoyam to yield highest benefits to consumers.
Cancer prevention: Taro root plays an important part in the antioxidant activity in our bodies. High level of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and various other phenolic antioxidants found in taro root help to boost immune system and help eliminate dangerous free radicals from our system.
Free radicals are actually the dangerous by-products 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.
Reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: Cocoyam is extremely beneficial for overcoming rheumatoid arthritis because low levels of Vitamin B6 are related to increased signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), like more severe pains.
Several researchers conclude that people with RA require comparatively more Vitamin B6 than healthy people because they experience constant muscle aches and joint pain, owing to chronic inflammation.
Blood pressure and heart health: Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium, which is considered essential minerals that are needed 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.
Immune system health: Cocoyam plays an important role in the immune system. Vitamin C is found in taro roots, which helps to encourage immune system to create more white blood cells, thereby shielding 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.
Cramps: consumption of high potassium foods is directly related to decreased muscle cramping and improved muscle strength. Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium 615 mg, which is 13.09 percent 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 is also crucial in digestion because it consists of high level of dietary fiber (a single serving contains 11.32 percent of the daily requirement of dietary fiber)
Fiber is 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.
Boost 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!
Cautions about cocoyam
Eating of raw cocoyam can lead to kidney stones and gout as well as other health complications if it is not prepared properly by boiling for the recommended amount of time.
It can also be steeped in water overnight before cooking to further reduce the amount of oxalates.
To absolutely minimize risk, milk or other calcium-rich foods should be eaten with cocoyam in order to block oxalate absorption. However, cocoyam is a staple food for many people around the world and should not be considered a high risk food after it is cooked.