This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more information.
Taro root looks like a mini hairy coconut, until you peel it and slice into to it to reveal a milky-white root with purple streaks.
If you’ve ever had a taro root chip you’ll know exactly what I am describing with the purple streaks.
Taro is very high in starch content, and it has three times the amount of fiber than a potato. Taro root is naturally sweet, and it even tastes a little nutty when cooked.
Taro root is very nutritious, and a rich source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, taro root is highly valued because it’s considered easy to digest, and it’s highly soothing to the digestive tract due to its slippery demulcent qualities.
If your digestive tract is in any way inflamed or irritated, then taro root would be a good choice to help heal that.
Taro root’s qualities (known as “gunas” in Ayurveda) are heavy and gooey, and its taste is primarily sweet.
These qualities are all highly pacifying for vata dosha, somewhat pacifying for pitta, and potentially aggravating for kapha.
When enjoying taro root, those with kapha dosha should make sure to include a sufficient amount of energizing spices—such as red chili, turmeric, and cumin—to balance out the heavy qualities of taro.
The soup recipe below contains these spices, and is designed to be balancing for all doshas.
Taro root also has nutritive qualities that support ojas. In Ayurveda, ojas means “vigor,” or the “essence of vitality.”
RECOMMENDED RECIPE: Creamy Cauliflower with Taro Root
How is taro root beneficial for gut health?
1. High in prebiotic fiber
Taro root is high in fiber, specifically a type of prebiotic fiber known as resistant starch (12 percent), which is literally nourishment for the friendly bacteria in your gut.
This type of fiber in taro is particularly helpful for promoting healthy and regular stools.
2. Removes toxins from the body
Additionally, taro helps with the removal of toxins from the body.
The way it does so is that its slippery or demulcent quality coaxes toxins out from the blood and colon and binds them, so toxins can be carried out of the body through elimination.
This makes taro a very important vegetable to include during a seasonal cleanse, or even regularly.
3. Balances blood sugar
Taro is incredibly supportive in the prevention of diabetes, because it regulates insulin levels and promotes healthy blood and blood sugar levels.
Healthy blood is critical for good gut health, while gut dysbiosis that leads to spoiled blood is one of the major factors affecting gut health.
How does taro root assist with weight loss?
Including taro in your diet—like all foods high in fiber—can help you to feel fuller for longer, because it slows stomach emptying.
The first time I cooked with taro, and made this cauliflower soup recipe with taro below, I felt incredibly full and satiated. My husband also felt the same.
This feeling actually prompted me to look more into taro in order to understand why taro had such a powerful impact.
What we’ve learned here today really suggests to me that taro, along with other high fiber foods, can really assist with weight loss.
Not only will you feel full after less food, but that feeling lasts longer, and the associated benefit of regularized blood sugar is going to help reduce sugar cravings.
Taro is an especially good source of fiber, because it is so easy to digest, and comes with beneficial gut-soothing properties.
Fun Facts About Taro Root
- One of the oldest cultivated plants in the world
- Has origins in the Bay of Bengal region of Southeast Asia, and then spread throughout Oceania by Polynesians, where it became a staple food.
- Taro leaves can be eaten like spinach
- There is a roundish variety and also a long root variety. The roundish variety is easier to digest.
How Do You Cook With Taro Root?
There are a couple extremely unique points to know about cooking with taro.
The first is that you should NEVER eat raw taro root, because it is toxic. After cooking it is totally fine, and even easy to digest.
The second point is that it is a good idea to use gloves when handling taro, because the hairs on the skin and the juice can be irritating.
I didn’t know this, and I went and peeled raw taro with my hands. Later, for a couple days I noticed some tingling in my fingers.
After I realized the connection, I knew the cause. It wasn’t a big discomfort. I have a garden, and I often get slight reactions from various plants. It is pretty normal, but its definitely good to take extra precaution with taro root.
When you are selecting taro root, go for the smaller and rounder ones if you can. They should not look dried out.
You can store them in the fridge for weeks, which is what I did, but others recommend a cool, dry place.
My mom always stored potatoes and onions outside of the fridge, but I never do because they last longer in the fridge.
Popular dishes made from taro
Taro chips: Thinly slice taro and bake or fry into chips.
Hawaiian poi: Steam and mash taro into a purple-hued puree.
Taro tea: Blend taro or use taro powder in boba tea for a beautiful purple drink.
Taro buns: Bake sweetened taro paste inside buttery pastry dough for dessert.
Taro cakes: Mix cooked taro with seasonings and pan fry until crispy.
In soups and stews: Cut taro into chunks and use in brothy dishes.