Taro root, a staple food in the Pacific islands, can be boiled and mashed to form poi, or it can be roasted, baked or boiled and added to soups, salads, main dishes or puddings. It provides a number of essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamins and minerals, but isn't a good source of protein or fat.
Calories and Macronutrients
A cup of sliced, cooked taro has 187 calories, which come from the 0.2 gram of fat, 0.7 gram of protein and 45.7 grams of carbohydrates it contains. The carbohydrates in taro root include 6.7 grams of fiber, which is 27 percent of the daily value. Fiber may help lower your cholesterol and your risk for cancer and heart disease, decrease your risk for constipation and help you control your blood sugar levels and your weight.
Each 1-cup serving of taro root provides 11 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C, 19 percent of the DV for vitamin E and 22 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6. Eat your taro root along with at least a small amount of fat to help ensure that the vitamin E is absorbed, as you need this vitamin for proper immune function, and it also acts as an antioxidant to help limit damage to your cells. Vitamin B-6 helps turn the food you eat into energy and produce certain hormones, and vitamin C is an antioxidant essential for forming collagen and healing wounds.
Taro is a good source of minerals, providing 30 percent of the DV for manganese, 18 percent of the DV for potassium, 13 percent of the DV for copper and 10 percent of the DV for magnesium and phosphorus. Magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese help form bones. Copper is also essential for forming new blood cells. Potassium is important for contracting your muscles and keeping your blood pressure from becoming too high. You need magnesium for producing energy and phosphorus for forming DNA.
Make sure you fully cook your taro root before you eat it. Taro contains calcium oxalate, which forms crystals that can make your mouth and throat itch when you eat taro that isn't cooked all the way. The leaves and stalks of the taro plant are also nutritious foods, providing vitamins A and C as well as riboflavin and thiamine, but only the leaves with pink or green stalks are edible. Like the root, the leaves and stalks need to be properly cooked so they don't make your mouth itch.