Taro Root for Immune Health

Taro root


Taro Root for Immune Health

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Vicky Chan - April 25, 2014

 

Taro is a widely cultivated tropical Asian plant with edible broad peltate leaves and a large starchy tuber. It is also widely grown in the Pacific islands, West Africa and Amazonian regions of South America.

Taro root is high in calories, low in fats and protein, free from gluten, high in dietary fiber and antioxidants. It contains B-complex vitamins such as B-6, folates, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin. It provides healthy amounts of  important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. In addition, the root has high amounts of potassium, an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Taro is very starchy but it has slow digesting complex carbohydrates therefore can help gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Cooked taro is also high in vitamin E, which can protect cells from oxidation by free radicals, protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Raw taro is slightly toxic. When cutting the root, the white starch can cause skin irritation and itchiness to some people. Therefore, it is recommended to handle taro wearing gloves and never eat taro raw. When selecting taro root, pick the ones lighter in weight because they are starchier, cook faster and melt easily which is ideal for certain dishes such as stuffings and desserts.

Chinese medicine regards taro as neutral in nature, sweet and pungent in taste and it acts on stomach and large intestine. Its health benefits include improving the immune system, reducing signs of aging, improving lung health and reducing abnormal cell growth. Therefore, it is commonly used for preventing and treating tumor growth. It is also highly recommended for people going through chemo therapy or radio-therapy to help in detoxification and recovery.

Taro root is very common in Asian cuisine and can be found in most Asian grocery stores. It is used in making chips, fries, taro net, bread, desserts, stews, soups, fried rice, stuffing and even ice cream. The best way to prepare taro is to cut it into the size and shape according to your recipe and then put it on a plate to steam or just cook. You can then add taro to mix in with the rest of the recipe towards the end and the taro will turn out perfectly. The following is a recipe to show you how to prepare a quick and delicious dish, that also happens to be great for your health.

 

Taro Chicken in Coconut Cream

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Therapeutic effects

Detoxifies, improves complexion, boosts the immune system, improves overall health.

Ingredients:  (3 to 4 servings)

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  • Taro root – 600 gm

  • Boneless and skinless chicken thigh – 2 pieces

  • Coconut cream – one cup

  • Minced ginger – one spoonful

  • Minced garlic – one spoonful

  • Green onion – 2 (chopped)

  • Cooking wine – 2 spoonfuls

Instructions

1.  Wash chicken, cut into bite size pieces, rinse and drain. Mix chicken with salt, pepper, one spoonful of cooking wine, a pinch of potato starch and one spoonful of oil.

2.  Cut off taro skin, rinse and cut into match-box size pieces. Put taro on a plate and steam over high heat for about 10 minutes to taro is cooked. You can test by sticking a chop stick or a fork through a few pieces. If it can get through easily, it is cooked. Remove from heat and put aside.

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3.  Warm 2 to 3 spoonfuls of oil in a non-stick skillet. Add ginger and garlic and stir until golden brown. Remove skillet from heat, discard the brown ginger and garlic and keep the oil. Reheat skillet with oil and add in chicken pieces to slightly brown on both sides. Then add one spoonful of cooking wine and half a cup of water. Cover with lid and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

4.  Mix in coconut cream and taro and let it cook for a few more minutes to mix well.

5.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle in green onion to serve.

Usage

For people with weak digestive systems, eat taro sparingly because it takes longer to digest.