Consuming taro leaves can provide a nutritious boost to your diet, but they also need to be prepared properly to avoid unwanted side effects.
What Are Taro Leaves?
Taro leaves are the edible leaves of the taro plant, which bears the scientific name Colocasia esculenta and is often cultivated for its roots. Taro leaves can also be consumed, provided they are prepared correctly. The surface of the leaves can be highly allergenic and result in skin irritation. Eating the leaves raw can also be toxic, so they must be boiled and properly prepared before adding into any other recipes.
Nutritionally speaking, taro leaves are extremely high in vitamin A, delivering more than 100% of your daily requirement in a single cup. These leaves are also high in vitamin C and various B vitamins, such as thiamine, riboflavin, and folate. There are also significant levels of manganese, copper, potassium, iron, and calcium. A 1-cup serving of these leaves contains only 35 calories, good amounts of dietary fiber, and low levels of fats.
There are many impressive benefits of taro leaves, particularly because of its dense vitamin and antioxidant levels:
- They can prevent cancer, boost the immune system and protect vision health.
- The fiber in these leaves makes it an excellent option for people who want to treat their digestive problems, as well as reduce their cholesterol levels.
- These leaves are commonly used for weight loss diets, since they have so few calories, but can fill you up and deliver necessary nutrients.
- Taro leaves can also reduce chronic inflammation and lower the blood pressure, thanks to potassium and various anti-inflammatory compounds.
- With high levels of B vitamins, these leaves are associated with the proper development of the fetal brain and strengthening the nervous system.
- High mineral levels mean healthier bones and teeth, and a lower risk of osteoporosis.
- In female reproductive health, these leaves are known to reduce preeclampsia symptoms, and can also help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- The vitamins and antioxidants in these leaves can also improve the appearance of the skin and help with withdrawal symptoms from nicotine.
How to Make Taro Leaves
If you want to make taro leaves or a recipe using them, you will need to make sure you don’t make yourself sick first! While some cultures let their chosen recipe cook the leaves, other cultures prefer to boil the leaves first to ensure all the toxins have been removed.
- Step 1: Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove.
- Step 2: Add your desired amount of leaves to the boiling water.
- Step 3: Allow the leaves to boil for 10-15 minutes.
- Step 4: Drain the leaves thoroughly.
- Step 5: Add them to your recipe as planned!
If not prepared properly, these leaves can be toxic, and if you are using the leaves on the skin, you may experience topical inflammation. Putting the leaves on open wounds can also cause irritation, itchiness, and redness.