Taro nutrition facts. Taro root is not a very widely known food in the United States, but hopefully that will change soon. This nutritious root vegetable is not only a nutritional powerhouse, but it’s also delicious, with a great taste and texture. It’s certainly a welcome change from the same old, boring potatoes that are our normal source of starch, and adding a little taro nutrition is a great way to prepare more healthy nutritional meals.
What is Taro?
Before we get to the taro nutrition facts, let's talk about what it is first. Taro is a starchy root vegetable, like potatoes. The taro plant, from which we get taro root, is grown in tropical climates. There are over 350 varieties of this plant in Hawaii, where it is a culturally important food. The taste of taro is sometimes described as being “nutty,” although I don’t personally agree. It is good, though, however you describe it.
Taro Nutrition Facts
Like potatoes, it’s high in carbohydrates; almost all of the calories in taro come from carbs, although there’s almost no sugar and a lot of fiber (7 grams per serving, over 25% of the daily recommended amount—three times more than a potato). As far as taro nutrition goes, it's a good source of vitamins E and B6 and the mineral manganese. Taro is fairly high in calories, so you don’t want to overdo it; after all, too many carbs is too many carbs. But it’s low on the glycemic index, due to the high fiber and low sugar, so you shouldn’t have any after-meal crashes with taro.
A Word of Caution
Despite all the taro nutrition to be gained from eating this food, it can actually be toxic if eaten raw, so make sure to cook it well! It contains calcium oxalate that will be leached out after cooking (calcium oxalate can contribute to gout or kidney stones, which I’ve never had before but which sound really painful). To further reduce the calcium oxalate, you can steep it in cold water overnight and eat other calcium-containing foods, like vegetables and dairy, to block your body’s absorption of the calcium oxalate. In fact, you shouldn’t even peel taro before you cook it, because the calcium oxalate crystals can apparently irritate your skin.
While this is a concern, keep in mind that taro is a staple food for many people around the world. The legitimacy of taro nutrition is not up for debate, and it’s not going to kill you. Just cook it thoroughly, and you’ll be fine.
How the Heck Do You Cook This?
As we just said, in order to get the benefits of taro nutrition, you have to cook it fist. You can steam taro, or put it in the oven…all kinds of options here. Personally, I like to boil it in water for 20-30 minutes. Taro can be made into poi, table taro, taro chips, and lu’au leaf…even ice cream! I usually just boil mine, though, slice it in half, and squeeze the skin to push out the starchy inside. Then I add some cream cheese and dig in. Delish.