Lotus root has a wide range of health benefits owing to its rich nutritional composition. The benefits include its ability to improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, prevent various forms of cancer, balance mood and relieve depression, increase the blood circulation, and maintain proper enzymatic activity in the body.
What is Lotus Root?
Lotus root, as the name implies, is the root of the lotus flower, which is an aquatic plant of the Nelumbonaceae family. The lotus flower has been a powerful element of numerous Asian countries for thousands of years and represents purity, sexual innocence, and divine beauty. It is an important element in numerous cultural practices and religions. However, it is also a stunningly beautiful flower that embeds its roots in the bottom of the lake, stream, river, etc. while the pad and the emerging flower float on top of the water. They are aquatic perennials, and the seeds can germinate long after falling dormant. A seed more than 1,300 years old was once brought “back from the dead” and flowered in a laboratory.
The lotus root (or rhizome) is a long, woody object that attaches to the bottom of the pad and can stretch up to 4 feet. It can be washed, sliced, and then prepared. It is frequently used as a vegetable in Asian cuisines within soups, or it can be deep-fried, stir-fried, braised, or cooked in other interesting ways. It is also used in the natural or powdered form in traditional herbal medicine.
It is commonly pickled as snacks and is included in dishes with prawns, or as salad toppings because of the tangy and slightly sweet taste, particularly after being pickled. It has the texture of a potato and tastes slightly like coconuts before any extra flavoring is added.
Lotus Root Nutrition Facts
Before we delve into the health benefits that lotus roots can bestow on us, let’s explore the nutritional components that make it such a healthy delicacy.
The health benefits of lotus root can be attributed to its unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including potassium, phosphorous, copper, iron, and manganese, as well as thiamin, pantothenic acid, zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. It is also a very significant source of dietary fiber and a decent source of protein.
Health Benefits of Lotus Root
Lotus root is rich in nutrients that benefit our body in many ways. Let’s have a look at them in detail.
Improves Blood Circulation
Lotus root can be a wonderful way to stimulate the circulation of blood to increase oxygenation of the organs and increase the functionality and energy levels. The iron and copper content in lotus roots is significant, and they are both integral parts of red blood cell production, helping in reducing chances of developing anemic symptoms and increasing vitality and blood flow.
One of the elements of vitamin B complex is pyridoxine. It directly interacts with neural receptors in the brain that influence mood and mental states. It controls irritability, headaches, and stress levels. Lotus flowers are often connected with peace and tranquility but it is the lotus root which delivers the peace people are looking for.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The significant levels of potassium found in lotus root ensure a proper balance between the fluids in the body and also counteract the effects of sodium in our bloodstream. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes blood vessels. Thus, by lessening the contraction and rigidity, it increases blood flow and reduces the strain on the cardiovascular system. Potassium is also an essential component of neural activity and the passage of fluid and blood in the brain.
The woody, fleshy lotus root is packed with dietary fiber, which is known to bulk up the stool and expedite bowel movements. Lotus root can reduce symptoms of constipation while optimizing nutrient absorption. This is done by increasing the secretion of digestive and gastric juices and stimulating peristaltic motion in the intestinal muscles to facilitate easy and regular bowel movements.
Rich in Vitamin C
When we talk about the nutrient content of lotus root, vitamin C is certainly the most prominent. 100 grams of lotus root contains 73% of your daily requirement of this powerful antioxidant vitamin. Vitamin C is an important component of collagen, which maintains the integrity and strength of our blood vessels, organs, and skin, and is also a major stimulant for the immune system. Furthermore, vitamin C can neutralize free radicals in the body, which are dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism connected to causing conditions like cancer and heart diseases.
Improves Heart Health
Along with the vasodilation potential of potassium and the cholesterol-scrubbing ability of dietary fiber, the pyridoxine content in lotus root controls the levels of homocysteine in the blood, which is directly connected to causing a heart attack.
Lotus roots are a good option for people trying to manage their weight. By including low-calorie foods that are high in nutrients and fiber, you are able to get all the nutrients you need, and still feel full, so you reduce the chances of overeating and thereby, manage obesity.
Rich in Vitamin A
This is another essential vitamin found in lotus roots, which has been proven to improve the health of the skin, hair, and eyes. Vitamin A has antioxidant capabilities and can prevent macular degeneration and other ocular conditions. It also helps to speed up wound healing and treat skin conditions and inflammation.
Word of Caution: There are no inherent risks but some people choose to eat lotus roots raw, which can spread parasites or bacterial infections. Therefore, always cook lotus roots before eating or adding them to your diet.