Lotus Root health benefits includes improving bowel regularity, regulating blood pressure, supporting weight management, preserving heart health, boosting body immune system, boosting mood, treating anemia and preventing cancer. Other benefits includes providing diabetic support, treating diarrhea and reducing inflammation.
What is Lotus Root?
The lotus flower is regarded as sacred to many Asians, especially Indians. Not considered edible by most, Lotus root is actually a very nutritious and edible rhizome, being extremely versatile and easy to include in many native dishes. The lotus rhizome / root is attached to the bottom of the aquatic leaf pad, and may grow to be as long as up to four feet.
The Lotus belongs to the family Nelumbonaceae, with the root having a distinct tangy or slightly sweet taste. Found in many places throughout the globe, the Lotus is believed to have originated in or around India, due to the historical records that precede those of any other location.
Many people use lotus root as a substitute to white potatoes, and this is good, as its nutritional density is far superior.
Nutrition Info (per 100g serving, cooked)
Calories-66 3% RDA
Dietary Fiber-3g 12% RDA
Vitamin C- 27.5mg 46% RDA
Thiamin-0.1mg 8% RDA
Vitamin B6-0.25mg 11% RDA
Folate-8mcg 2% RDA
Pantothenic Acid-0.3mg 3% RDA
Calcium-26mg 3% RDA
Iron-0.9mg 5% RDA
Magnesium-22mg 5% RDA
Phosphorus-78mg 8% RDA
Potassium-360mg 10% RDA
Zinc-0.3mg 2% RDA
Copper-0.2mg 11% RDA
Manganese-0.2mg 11% RDA
Health Benefits of Lotus Root
1. Improves Bowel Regularity
Lotus root can be considered woody and fibrous, which is exactly what you need to prevent constipation. Lotus root consists primarily of insoluble fiber, which transits the intestinal tract relatively unchanged, helping to bulk stool and keep them moving through the digestive tract with optimal speed. Insoluble fiber also helps stimulate the urge to poop, can relieve discomfort and reduce the likelihood of colon polyp formation. These polyps can then turn cancerous under the right conditions, so be sure to include lotus root in your diet for boosted colon cancer resistance.
2. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
The concentration of electrolyte minerals in the blood can have an impact on blood pressure, as imbalance may result in excessive water retention. In particular, are the minerals sodium and potassium, which are integral in regulating blood pressure and fluid balance. The high potassium content of lotus root helps counteract the possibly adverse effects of excessive sodium, which include water retention and blood vessel constriction. Potassium helps facilitate blood vessel dilation, promote excessive water and sodium elimination- all of which help to reduce the workload of the heart.
3. Assist In Weight Management
Consuming foods that help to keep us full for longer periods of time can help in the weight loss process. This characteristic makes lotus root perfect, as its high insoluble fiber content can keep hunger on the run for hours. But this is not all lotus root does to help with weight loss. It is also very low in sugar, which helps keep insulin levels low and allows fat oxidation to occur more often. Diets high in carbs shut down much of the fat burning potential of exercise and caloric restriction, so consuming lotus root can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
4. Help Preserve Heart Health
While lotus root consumption is associated with improved blood pressure and blood vessel health, it does directly help to preserve the health of your heart. It does this by being able to break down homocysteine levels, which is an indicator of heart disease risk. Homocysteine is broken down into methionine under the action of pyridoxine and folate, helping keep the heart muscle healthy.
5. Boosts The Immune System
Lotus root is actually extremely rich in Vitamin C, which is something not expected of typically consumed roots. However, this is a good thing, as its consumption helps to bolster the immune system and reduce the likelihood of picking up illnesses. This can help safeguard you from especially respiratory tract infections, which are commonly air borne and highly contagious. Vitamin C also increases production of white blood cells, which is the body’s defense system for tackling pathogens that may cause infections.
6. Lotus Root Can Boost Your Mood
Lotus root, among many other beneficial effects on the brain, can help to improve your mood and wellbeing. This is due especially to the presence of Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, which is involved in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine. Increased consumption of this vitamin is associated with greater brain levels of these important neurotransmitters.
7. Lotus Root Can Help Treat Anemia
Lotus root contains decent amounts of the minerals iron and copper, both of which are necessary for the synthesis of blood. While it may require more iron to treat anemia effectively, ensuring you get at least some iron in your diet can offset the development from the inception. Addressing low blood count can increase energy levels, as cells are better oxygenated and can produce energy in a more efficient manner.
8. Can Aid Cancer Prevention
Cancer development is complex- we get that. But there are definite things that you can do- foods that you can consume which have been positively associated with reduced incidence. One such of these nutrients is Vitamin C, which helps to preserve DNA structure and reduces anomalies which can result in mutated cells being produced. This is thought to be due to the buffering of damage caused by free radicals, as Vitamin C can help stabilize these reactive oxygen species (and others), promoting their excretion.
9. Excellent For Diabetic Support
Diabetics have it hard finding food options, or even more so replacements for commonly consumed foods. Lotus root is said to have a potato-ish taste, which can help you overcome your cravings for this starch. But lotus root is much more helpful, as it is rich in fiber, and low in carbohydrates, helping you to achieve optimal blood sugar levels. Reducing the frequency of blood sugar spikes also allows your weakened insulin to perform more efficiently, as it is not called upon 24 hours a day to process sugar. Consume lotus root when you need a filling meal to keep you satisfied before your next meal- which can be hours away.
10. Can Help Treat Diarrhea
While diarrhea can have many causes, it seems frequently that is associated with intestinal malabsorption or bacterial infection of the digestive tract. Instead of opting for drug based anti-diarrheal agents, consume some lotus root. Lotus root has been proven in an Indian study to have anti-diarrheal properties, most likely due to its presence of fiber. While fiber helps transit of waste through the digestive tract, it will also prolong the time nutrients spend in the small intestine as a larger surface area offers more opportunity for absorption.
11. Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a necessary body process, but can get out of hand and cause undue swelling in various parts of our body. This is especially bad since many diseases have an inflammatory component, which if controlled slow down or remedy the condition altogether. Lotus root can help you manage the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, muscle aches and pains and even inflammatory bowel diseases.
Lotus root is far more than meets the eye. This seemingly underrated rhizome has many benefits that should give it just cause to be consumed, even if you have never eaten it before. There must be a reason some cultures consider the lotus sacred after all, and it’s nutritional and health prowess may very well be part of the answer