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Health Benefits of Colocasia Roots ‘Arbi’

Finding its roots in Asian regions of Malaysia and India, Colocasia Roots, also known as ‘Taro root’ or ‘Arbi’ in India, offers some potentially amazing health benefits like keeping weight in check, keeping blood sugar levels in control, improves heart health and reduces risk of cancer.

Colocasia Roots ‘Taro root’ or ‘Arbi’ is a starchy root vegetable that is utilized in several cuisines all over the world. The outer skin of Arbi is brown while the inner flesh is white. It has a slightly nutty taste. Both leaves and roots of arbi are used for cooking. It possesses several health benefits. 

Nutritional Facts of Arbi

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 100 gm of arbi contains 142 kcals, 0.5 gm of proteins, 34.6 gm of carbohydrates, 5.1 gm of fibre, 18 mg of calcium,  0.72 mg of iron, 30 mg of magnesium, 76 mg of phosphorus, 484 mg of potassium, 15 mg of sodium, 0.4 mg of manganese, 0.9 mcg of selenium, 5 mg of vitamin C, 19 mcg of folates, 21.3 mg of choline, and 2.93 mg of vitamin E. 

Potential Health Benefits of Arbi ‘Taro Root’

1/5. Promotes Heart Health

1. The high potassium content of arbi decreases the stress on the heart thus, prevents the development of heart complaints.

2. The low content of fat and cholesterol in arbi prevents the hardening of arteries thus, preventsatherosclerosis.

3. The resistant starch and fibre present in arbi help decrease the risk of heart disease.

4. Taro root is rich in vitamin E which fights against cardiovascular diseases. 

2/5. Prevents Aging

1. Taro root is rich in antioxidants which aid in slowing down the aging process and aids in rejuvenating the damaged cells thus, keeping the body youthful for longer durations. Antioxidants help in delaying ageing and in decreasing the signs of aging. 

2. The presence of Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, beta-carotene, and zinc in arbi is effective in slowing down the ageing process.

3/5. Prevents Cancer

1. Taro root contains a high amount of Quercetin, an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage which can lead to cancer. Quercetin prevents the development of cancers.

2. The plant-based compounds, polyphenols present in taro roots decrease the risk of developing few types of cancers.

3. Arbi also contains high traces of vitamin A, which inhibits the growth of growth. 

4. Cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant present in arbi lowers the risk of lung and mouth cancer.

4/5. Lowers Blood Pressure

1. The high potassium content of arbi, breaks down excess salt, controlling elevated blood pressure.

2. The low sodium, low fat, and high content of minerals such as potassium and magnesium help in regulating fluid retention in the body thereby preventing high blood pressure.

5/5. Other potential Benefits of Taro Root

Colocasia roots produce several other health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces a few more such as improves digestion,promotes weight loss, cleanses the stomach, strengthens bones, promotes teeth health, controls blood sugar levels, improves vision, boosts immunity, improves blood circulation, enhances hair growth, promotesskin health, reduces fatigue, promotes muscle health, and reduces anxiety.

Colocasia Roots ‘Taro root’ or ‘Arbi’ should be handled with care as it can produce a burning sensation and irritation when handled with bare hands. Arbi also has other side health effects. It should not be consumed by people who have chronic gastric issues, as it can also tigger indegestation, formation of gout and kidney stones. The raw leaves of Arbi plant are poisonous as they contain high levels of oxalates, so the arbi pakoda ‘fritters’ should only be consumed when fully cooked.

How to incorporate Taro Root into the diet?

Taro root is consumed only when cooked. It is never consumed raw as it can cause itching in the mouth and throat if taken raw. Arbi can be roasted, boiled, braised, fried, stir-fried, or baked to prepare several different dishes. It can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes.

Here are some ways by which arbi can be added to our diet:

  • Used to prepare taro chips.
  • Grated into crispy pancakes or crepes.
  • Taro root powder is added to milk to prepare sweet tea. 
  • Used to bake taro chips.
  • Taro flour is used to prepare baked goods. 
  • Used in soups and stews.
  • Used to prepare taro buns and taro cakes.

How to prepare Chatpati Arbi – Spicy Colocasia roots?

Take approximately 4 cups of water in a pressure cooker and place the washed Arbi into it. Pressure cook it for 1-2 whistles.

After the arbi cools, drain the water and peel the skin of arbi. Cut the arbi into thick slices. 

Heat oil in a pan and add ¼ teaspoon of asafoetida. Add ½ teaspoon of caraway and ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle and are golden brown then, add ¼ cup of gram flour and roast it on a slow flame.

Add 2 green chilies, when the gram flour turns red. Stir it. Once the gram flour is roasted well, add 2 teaspoons of coriander powder, ¼ teaspoon of red chilly powder, and 2 teaspoons of dry mango powder. Stir it thoroughly. 

Add the sliced Arbi and salt and stir it till the gram flour and the entire spices coat the arbi slices well. 

Squeeze ½ a lemon and garnish it with mint.

Serve with paratha or roti.

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