Did you know that you can eat roots of lotus plant? Yes the same plant which bears beautiful lotus flower. Long under water rhizomes of lotus plant are often known as lotus roots and are not only edible but also delicious. Common Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is also known as Indian lotus, Chinese water lilly, sacred lotus or bean of India. It is native to Asia and national flower of India and Vietnam. Lotus holds special place in spiritual texts of Asia. Lotus is often considered symbol of purity.
While only the leaves and flowers float above water, inside water lotus is rooted to soil by long porous stem or rhizome. Almost all parts of lotus have some health benefits. Root, young flower stalk and lotus seeds are edible and consumed in various countries in Asia.
Lotus rhizome or lotus roots are long and hollow tubes. They appear similar to long squash, outer skin is dark brown in colour. With crunchy white texture inside, they are mild sweet in taste like coconut. Lets look at nutrient content of lotus root.
[Read more about health benefits of watermelon seeds]
Nutritional value of lotus root
80% of lotus root by weight is water, which makes it juicy and hydrating. Around 5% by weight are dietary fibers. Thus a 100 gm serving of lotus root can suffice to one fifth of your daily dietary fiber requirement. Another 10-12% by weight of lotus roots are carbohydrates which is the key source of energy. Around 3% by weight of lotus roots are proteins which contains almost all amino acids in varied proportion. Small amount of fats present in lotus roots are mostly omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The vegetable is source of most water soluble vitamins like Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Thiamin and other Vitamin B. Infact 150 gm of lotus roots have enough Vitamin C to meet your daily requirement. Lotus roots also supplies almost all key minerals in different proportions, more abundantly potassium, copper, manganese and phosphorus. Most of the health benefits of lotus root can be attributed to presence of these nutrients. Various alkaloids and flavanoids have been isolated from lotus root which have health and medicinal benefits.
Health benefits of Lotus roots
In traditional Korean medicine, lotus has been used as cure of bleeding, antidiabetic, antipyretic and antiproliferative. Parts of lotus are used in treatment of diarrhea, tissue inflammation and hemostasis. Chinese herbal medicines also use lotus roots for reducing tissue inflammation and liver damage. Lotus root is used in Ayurveda for treating worms and urinary tract infections. In oriental medicine, lotus seeds have health benefits in increasing stamina and aiding digestion. Overall lotus root has benefits as antioxidant, increasing immunity, protecting kidney and liver, preventing infections and others.
[Read more about healthy way to gain weight]
Lotus roots provides good supply of dietary fibers
If you suffer from bad digestion or constipation, lotus roots should work well for you. They contain high amount of dietary fibers which are required for smooth bowel movements. Dietary fibers also help in removal of toxic substances from body. They help in blocking absorption of harmful cholesterol in intestine. A 100 gram serving provides one fifth of your daily dietary fiber requirement.
Include Lotus root salad in your weight loss diet
Lotus roots are low in calories, provides only 75 calories per 100g. Further high dietary fibers content makes lotus root filling in nature and reduces your urge for frequent food. The vegetable has high potassium content as compared to sodium, which means your body will retain less fluid and weigh less. Dietary fibers also slows down digestion of carbohydrates and is good for a weight loss diet.
Anti-oxidant properties of lotus roots
High vitamin C content in Lotus roots makes it good anti-oxidant food. It shall protect your body cells from impact of free radicals. It is because of this antioxidant property that research has confirmed its health benefit in protection of kidney and liver. Further various other polyphenolic compounds have been identified in lotus roots which also have anti oxidant properties.
Lotus root to detox your liver and kidney
Lotus root with its anti oxidant activity and mineral supply is believed to detox your liver and kidney. Ancient Chinese herbal medicines use lotus root to treat liver cirrhosis. Lotus root extracts have strong antioxidant activity and protects liver and kidney cells from damage by free radicals.
Lotus root good for lung disorders
Lotus root juice is considered good for treating lung related disorders such as tuberculosis, asthma, cough and cold. Lotus root tea is considered effective over cough, congestion and cold and associated fever and stomach problem. Lotus Root Powder along with ginger juice is a folk medicine for decongestion and inflammation. Lotus root plasters are helpful in sinus congestion and dislodging mucus from bronchi and sinus cavities.
[Read more about home remedies for bad breath]
Lotus root helps stop bleeding
Lotus root is effective in treating bleeding disorders like bleeding of nose, uterus, gums, stomach or intestine linings and rectum. Drinking of lotus root juice is considered good in treating such symptoms. Chinese traditional medicine have been using lotus root juice for treating internal bleeding.
Lotus root and treatment of HIV
Various flavanoids and alkaloid have been extracted from leaves and rhizome of lotus which have shown anti HIV activity in lab. These phytochemicals are believed to have property to prevent propagation of HIV virus and thus makes Nelumbo nucifera a potential candidate for development of anti-AIDS agents.
Lotus root and Diabetes
With high dietary fibers, lotus root reduces digestion of carbohydrates in body and thus slows down process of sugar absorption in body. This makes lotus root a good diabetic food. Research has also found that lotus root extract is anti-diabetic in nature and can be used in treatment of diabetes. Lotus root with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property help fight symptoms of diabetes.
Anti Inflammatory property of Lotus root
Lotus root extract have shown strong anti-inflammatory property. It is because of this property is has been traditionally used in treatment of Odema and inflammation.
Lotus root juice for treating diarrhea
Lotus root juice is considered soothing for stomach. Further lotus root contains large quantities of water and electrolytic minerals like potassium and sodium which helps in keeping fluid balance in body. This makes it good food for treating diarrhea and severe dysentery.
Lotus root for skin problems
Lotus root has strong anti microbial action and is used in treatment of skin diseases like ringworms, small pox, leprosy, leucoderma and other. Paste of lotus root is applied externally to treat scabies and ringworm. In Japan, lotus root has been considered remedy for sensitive skin and soothe rashes and prickly heat. Combined with high moisture content, they offer moisturizing effect to skin. Here is a skin tonic from ‘The Japanese Way of Beauty’ by Michelle Dominique Leigh. Soak small pieces of lotus root in cold water, preferably in non metallic bowl for a day. Heat the mixture over gentle flame till water reduces to half. Filter and squeeze out the mixture to discard all solids. The solution can be stored in refrigerator and applied to your skin as beauty tonic.
Lotus root is also good source of vitamin C which is required for development of collagen in skin. It protects your skin from aging.
[Read more about 26 natural ways for winter skin care]
Health benefits of lotus root for skin
Along with ylang-ylang essential oil, lotus root powder is considered good for hair. Washing hair with lotus root powder is believed to help growth of hair and stop hair loss and graying. Some ayurvedic formulations for hair include amla, shikakai and lotus powder. With anti microbial action and cooling effect lotus root powder helps in protection of scalp.
Lotus root for women health
If you are women fighting with regular anemia, painful menstruation or heavy bleeding, drinking lotus root juice is good for you. Lotus root helps in regulating menstrual cycle in women. Consuming lotus root soup is alternate way of fighting post menopausal symptoms. With its antioxidant and anti inflammatory property it also keeps reproductive system in women healthy. Lotus root is considered good for pregnant women. It can help alleviate discomfort during pregnancy.
Lotus root in preventing Cancer
Research on rats has found that lotus root extracts prevents growth of cancerous cells in body. This makes it potent natural food for fighting and preventing cancer.
Lotus root to regulate body temperature
Lotus root posses antipyretic effect and help in regulating body temperature. Lotus root soup is considered home remedy for cold, cough and associated fever in China. In some Asian countries, Lotus root and leaf paste is applied to body during fever.
Lotus root aids in digestion
With wonderful source of dietary fibers, minerals and vitamins, it helps keep body digestive system in good order. Various minerals in lotus root help in body metabolism and healthy functioning of vital organs like heart, liver, kidney and brain.
Culinary uses of lotus
All the parts of the lotus plant, can be consumed. Lotus stem can be consumed raw. It can be baked, boiled, steamed or fried. Soup, stir and stew are common forms in which it is consumed. You can watch this wonderful lotus root soup recipe online and enjoy its health benefits.
Precautions – Lotus root is often house for parasites like fasciolopsisbuski, a trematode common in aquatic plants like the lotus. Hence before consuming lotus root should be cut in pieces and thoroughly washed and cooked. Eating raw can be avoided, as cooking helps remove such parasites which may cause stomach ailments.
Also read: Lotus – A potential nutraceutical source , Journal of Agriculture TechnologyImage Credits: Flickr - FotoosVanRobin