Lotus root has a wide range of health benefits owing to its rich nutritional composition, and some of the benefits include its ability to improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, prevent various forms of cancer, balances mood and relieves depression, increases circulation, and maintain proper enzymatic activity in the body.
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 their seeds can actually 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. Then, they can be washed, sliced, and prepared. It is frequently used as a vegetable in Asian cuisines within soups, or it can be deep-fried, stir-fried, braised, and other interesting ways of cooking this healthy food. It is also used in natural or powdered form in traditional herbal medicine.
They are also commonly pickled as snacks, and are included in dishes with prawns, or as a salad topping because of its tangy and slightly sweet taste, particularly after being pickled. They have the texture of a potato, and taste slightly like coconuts before any extra flavoring is added. 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!
Nutritional Value of Lotus Root
The many 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, vitamin C. It is also a very significant source of dietary fiber and a decent source of protein.
Health Benefits of Lotus Root
Blood Circulation: Lotus root can be a wonderful way to stimulate the circulation of your blood to increase oxygenation of your organs and generally increase 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, reducing chances of developing anemic symptoms and increasing vitality and blood flow.
Mental Clarity and Mood: One of the elements of the vitamin B complex is pyridoxine. It directly interacts with neural receptors in the brain that influence mood and mental states. It also controls irritability, headaches, and stress levels. Lotus flowers are often connected with peace and tranquility, but it is the lotus root which really delivers the peace people are looking for!
Blood Pressure: The significant levels of potassium found in lotus root ensures a proper balance between the fluids in the body and also counteracts the effects of sodium in our bloodstream. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it relaxes blood vessels and 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.
Digestion: The woody, fleshy lotus root is packed with dietary fiber, which is known to bulk up stool and expedite bowel movements. Lotus root can reduce symptoms of constipation, while optimizing nutrient absorption through the secretion of digestive and gastric juices and stimulating peristaltic motion in the smooth intestinal muscles to facilitate easy and regular bowel movements.
Vitamin C Content: When we talk about the vitamin 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 byproducts of cellular metabolism connected to causing conditions like cancer and heart disease!
Heart Health: Along with the vasodilating potential of potassium and the cholesterol-scrubbing ability of dietary fiber, the pyridoxine content in lotus root also controls the levels of homocysteine in the blood, which is directly connected to causing heart attacks!
Weight Regulation: 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 chances of overeating and can manage obesity.
Vitamin A Content: This is another essential vitamin found in lotus roots, which has been proven to improve the health of the skin, hair, and eyes. It has major antioxidant capabilities and can prevent macular degeneration and other ocular conditions, help wounds heal faster, and clear up skin conditions and inflammation. Lotus roots are an all around bonus for your health!
A Few Words 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 preparing them in other forms.