There is existing confusion between cocoyam and Taro. Cocoyam is a common name for more than one tropical root crop and vegetable crop belonging to the Arum family (also known as Aroids and by the family name Araceae) and may refer to: Taro (Colocasia esculenta) - old cocoyam. Malanga (Xanthosoma spp.) Higher classification: Colocasia according to Wikipedia
taro (Colocasiaesculenta (L.) Schott)
cocoyam (Xanthosomasagittifolium (L.)
Cocoyam (Xanthosomasagittifolium) is among the world's six most important root and tuber crops and also known as the New Cocoyam. Africa is the major producer with West and Central Africa, notably, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon contributing to over 60% of the total African production (Onyeka, 2014).
Xanthosoma spp. originate from tropical America (Crop Trust 2010); most probably, Central and South America (Ramanatha et al., 2010), where the species are believed to have been domesticated from the wild (Bermejo & León, 1994). Xanthosoma spp. are listed as invasive in many areas of the world (French Polynesia, Florida, the Galápagos Islands, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica) in addition to being intentionally introduced to several other regions including Africa and Asia (Crop Trust 2010). It is a more recent introduction to Ghana and West Africa compared with the other prominent genus, Colocassia, which is speculated as being native to the subregion (Doku, 1966), since there is no known period of introduction of the crop. Xanthosoma is therefore referred to as “new cocoyam” in West Africa.Xanthosoma is believed to have been first planted in AkropongAkwapim in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The root known as Mankeni in the dagnme dialect.
Cocoyam and Leaves
Perhaps the most standout quality of this root crop is their high fiber content. Fiber is essential to the digestive health, as it can help add bulk to the stools, allowing them to pass easily through the digestive system. Getting enough fiber may also help prevent constipation, control hunger and manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
The greens are a wonderful source of fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate.
Summary of cooked root and leaves nutrients profile:
45.7 grams carbohydrates
0.7 grams protein
0.1 grams fat
6.7 grams dietary fiber
0.6 milligrams manganese (30 percent Daily Value)
0.4 milligrams vitamin B6 (22 percent DV)
3.9 milligrams vitamin E (19 percent DV)
639 milligrams potassium (18 percent DV)
0.3 milligrams copper (13 percent DV)
6.6 milligrams vitamin C (11 percent DV)
39.6 milligrams magnesium (10 percent DV)
100 milligrams phosphorus (10 percent DV)
0.1 milligrams thiamine (9 percent DV)
25.1 micrograms folate (6 percent DV)
1 milligram iron (5 percent DV)
Each serving of theroot also contains a small amount of pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin A and calcium.Due to its outstanding nutrient profile, it’s no surprise that both its root and leaves — offers health-promoting benefits, such as
Scientific Studies on benefits:
Promote Weight Loss
Though the root contains calories, it can definitely be incorporated into a healthy weight loss diet. It’s particularly rich in fiber, which slows the emptying of the stomach to keep you feeling full between meals.
one study conducted by Tucker and Thomas, 2009to determine whether changes in fiber intake (total, soluble, and insoluble) influence risk of gaining weight and body fat over time. Another objective was to examine the influence of age, energy intake, activity, season, and other potential confounders. each gram of fiber consumed daily was associated with half a pound of weight loss and a 0.25 percent decrease in body fat among women over a 20-month period.
Taro is also a great source of resistant starch, which is a type of starch that resists digestion in the body. For instance, One study conducted byBodinham et al 2010 at the University of Surrey found that consumption of resistant starch was effective at reducing food intake, which could potentially help bump up weight loss. The study involved an acute randomised, single-blind crossover study, aimed to determine the effects of consumption of 48 g Resistant starch on appetite compared to energy and available carbohydrate-matched placebo. Twenty young healthy adult males consumed either 48 g resistant starch or the placebo divided equally between two mixed meals on two separate occasions. Effects on appetite were assessed, using an ad libitum test meal and 24-h diet diaries for energy intake, and using visual analogue scales for subjective measures
supports Heart Health
for those with cardiovascular problems, taro is just another addition to a heart-healthy diet due to the fiber content. For instance, a 2003 study by Bazzano et al examined the relationship between total and soluble dietary fiber intake and the risk of Cardiovascular heart disease(CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 9776 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study and were free of Cardiovascular disase(CVD) at baseline. The study concluded that fiber intake linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. A 2009 study by Anderson et al also revealed that fiber may also help decrease levels of blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
Taro is also loaded with antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that can help combat free radical damage and protect against disease. A 2016 research by Jane A. Leopold suggests that intake of antioxidants can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to heart disease and atherosclerosis, or fatty plaque buildup in the arteries.
Supports Blood Sugar Control
the taro root carbs in each serving are classified as fiber and resistant starch, both of which can help support better blood sugar control. Post et al 2012 study demonstrates that increasing your intake of fiber can reduce fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1C, which is a marker of long-term blood sugar control.Additionally, resistant starch has been shown in research studies by Bindes et al 2017 to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that is used to transport sugar from the bloodstream to the cells. Increased insulin sensitivity can help the body use this hormone more effectively, which can promote better blood sugar control.
Supports Digestive Function
According to studies, high-fiber foods in the diet can have a huge impact on digestive health. Warren et al 2018 study demonstrates that increased fiber intake can benefit several conditions and may improve symptoms of acid reflux, constipation, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers and diverticulitis.
Warren et al 2018 study posits that resistant starch is also fermented in the colon, which can increase the growth of the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Kechagia et al 2013 study also demonstrates that improving the health of your gut microbiome can boost immune function, enhance nutrient absorption and support better overall gut health.
The leaf and root are both excellent sources of antioxidants, including several specific types that have been tied to a lower risk of chronic disease. One study by Baião et al found that quercetin , for instance, is a polyphenol found in taro that’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and cancer-fighting properties.
Interestingly enough, one in vitro study by Kundu et al 2012found that taro extract was effective at reducing the growth and spread of breast and prostate cancer cells, which may be due to its powerful antioxidant properties. However, more research is needed to determine whether it offers the same benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Improving vision health — Antioxidants such as cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene in taro help keep free radicals at bay, reducing your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Helping keep skin healthy — Vitamins A and E are vital to skin health. Adding taro to your diet may help reduce blemishes and wrinkles, and give your complexion a healthy glow.
Bolstering your immunity — according to study by Anitra C. Carr1, and Silvia Maggini2017, the high vitamin C levels in taro can help improve immune function by supporting cellular functions of the innate and adaptive immune systems
Wiwanitkit, 2005 study reported cases of allergic reactions caused by this root vegetable. Another one of the top taro root disadvantages is its content of calcium oxalate, a naturally occurring compound that can build up in the body, triggering gout and contributing to kidney stones. Because of its oxalate content, eating raw taro can also irritate your throat and cause your mouth to feel numb.Fortunately, soaking and cooking taro can significantly reduce its oxalate content, making it safe to consume.
Additionally, keep in mind that taro root is also relatively high in carbohydrates. Although it’s also rich in beneficial fiber and resistant starch, those on a low-carb or ketogenic diet should moderate their intake to maximize the potential taro leaves benefits.Those with diabetes should also consume in moderation alongside a variety of other non-starchy vegetables to help keep blood sugar levels in check.
Cayenne Pepper and Immunity
Cayenne pepper can stimulate your body’s circulation and reduce acidity; it’s a powerful, spicy little pepper that offers many health benefits. The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a chemical called capsaicin. Cayenne pepper benefits are many. It’s used to help digestion, including heal upset stomach, slow intestinal gas, stop stomach pain, stop diarrhea and as a natural remedy for cramps.
It’s also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels — including to improve poor circulation, reverse excessive blood clotting, lower high cholesterol and prevent heart disease. cayenne pepper has the power to relieve a toothache, seasickness, alcoholism, malaria and fever. It’s also used to help people who have difficulty swallowing. If topically applied, cayenne pepper benefits the skin, too.
There is ongoing research study to test its ability to reduce pain sensations when applied to the skin, and research indicates that it would be effective as a remedy for headaches (including migraines), potential solution for osteoarthritis and other painful conditions. The health benefits are due to the plant’s active compound capsaicin.It works by binding to a vanilloid receptor known as TRPV1, which triggers a mild inflammatory reaction that’s meant to repair injured cells.
Cayenne pepper contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids – which provide its powerful antioxidant properties.On the Scoville Rating Scale, cayenne pepper is rated typically anywhere from 30,000 to 190,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). (Pure capsaicin has the highest SHU rating.)cayenne pepper nutrition facts, listed in recommended daily values. One teaspoon (about two grams) of cayenne pepper contains roughly:
1 gram carbohydrates
0.2 grams protein
0.3 grams fat
0.5 grams fiber
728 international units vitamin A (15 percent DV)
0.5 milligrams vitamin E (3 percent DV)
1.3 milligrams vitamin C (2 percent DV)
1.4 micrograms vitamin K (2 percent DV)
Studies on Health Benefits
One of the major cayenne pepper benefits is the positive effect it has on the digestive system. Cayenne pepper helps produce saliva, which is significant for good digestion as well as preventing bad breath. One study by Shin et al 2016 demonstrates that taking cayenne pepper stimulates the salivary glands, which is needed to begin the digestive process.
Cayenne pepper also stimulates the flow of enzyme production, which is essential for our digestive system to work properly. This was demonstrated in a study by Wang et al 2012 as it also stimulates gastric juices that aid the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins.
Fights Migraine Pain
A 2010 study by Cianchetti involving 23 migraineurs showing pain at pressure on scalp arteries, administered topical capsaicin 0.1% or vaseline jelly on painful arteries in absence of migraine attack. In those having pain reduction > 50%, the authors made the same comparison during a migraine attack. The data show that topical capsaicin may relieve arterial pain in absence of and during a migraine attack in a substantial number of patients experiencing scalp arterial tenderness.
Avert Blood Clots
Cayenne boosts fibrinolytic activity and helps avert blood clots. This is also the reason why cayenne pepper is effective in preventing heart attacks. For instance, one 2009 study by Adams et al demonstrates that the capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots.Blood clots are blockages in the arteries and blood vessels that limit blood flow through the circulatory system.
Provides Detox Support
Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to encourage circulation and eliminate acidity. One 2016 study by Srinivasan showscayenne pepper restores the circulatory system by opening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar; it also helps the digestive system that moves bacteria and toxins out of the body. Another 2013 study by Janssen et al investigated the 24 h effects of Capsaicin on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation and blood pressure during 25% negative energy balance in Netherland suggests that cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts the metabolism.
Helps Joint and Nerve Pain
Cayenne is a very potent pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. In fact, it is recognized as a natural pain killer! It does this by reducing the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain and you feel relief.
For instance, one study by Anand and Bley 2011 found that cayenne pepper relieves pain after surgery, such as a mastectomy or an amputation. It also alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, neuropathy, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia symptoms like joint or muscle pain.
Helps Weight Loss
A 2013 significant by Jansen et al found that consuming cayenne pepper for breakfast creates less appetite, so people eat less calories during the day. It also burns excess fat because it’s a metabolic booster. As one of the key anti-inflammatory foods, cayenne pepper benefits also include weight loss.Cayenne pepper has the power to soothe inflammation and bloating that comes from allergies, food sensitivities and infections.
Functions as Anti-Irritant
Cayenne pepper also acts as anti-irritant properties, making it effective in easing ulcers, upset stomachs, cough and even potentially stop diarrhea.The previous notion is that cayenne pepper, taken in excessive amounts, leads to gastric ulcers because of its irritant and acid-secreting nature.So then, people with ulcers are actually advised to limit or avoid using cayenne pepper; however, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that chili, or its active principle “capsaicin,” is not the cause for the formation of ulcer symptoms but a benefactor.
This was addressed in one study in a 2006 bySatyanarayana. The study found that cayenne pepper does not stimulate, but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow, which helps in the prevention and healing of ulcers.
Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, and it results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production.Two trials according to Philip D. Shenefelt in his book titled Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition” ch.18 showed that 0.025 percent capsaicin (cayenne pepper) cream used topically is effective in treating psoriasis.
The first study showed a significant decrease in scaling and redness during a six-week period in 44 patients with moderate and severe psoriasis.The second was a double-blind study of 197 patients, which found that psoriasis was treated with the capsaicin cream four times daily for six weeks, with a significant decrease in scaling, thickness, redness and itching.
It’s also regulate the metabolism, in a review study by McCarty et al 2015. Henry and Emery, 1986 study to effectively suppress hunger and normalize glucose levels. It also keeps blood pressure levels normalized, and helps the body lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Fights Cold and Flu
Cayenne pepper has abundant of beta carotene and antioxidants that support the immune system. It helps in breaking up and moving congested mucus, and once this nasty mucus leaves the body, the symptoms of the flu or cold will diminish.Besides helping as a natural remedy for the flu, cayenne pepper also raises the body temperature, which promotes sweat and increases the activity of the immune system. Its vitamin C content, also help to kick that cold.
Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays an integral role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin; it is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by fighting free radicals.A 2001 study by Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group demonstrated that antioxidants like vitamin A are vital to good health and longevity; they benefit eye health, boost immunity and foster cell growth.Interestingly, cayenne pepper is a great source of vitamin A; in fact, with just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, you are getting your vitamin A for the day!
Contains Vitamin E
Vitamin E benefits include helping many organs in the body function properly and is extremely useful in naturally slowing the aging process.This important and beneficial vitamin has the power to balance cholesterol, fight free radicals, repair damaged skin, balance hormones, repair damaged skin and hair, improve vision and increase energy levels … and cayenne pepper is an important provider of vitamin E.
Because cayenne is an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the power to prevent allergies and the symptoms related to allergies. A food allergy, for example, is a measurable response to consuming a specific food.Food allergies, or intolerances, can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles pass through the gut and cause systemic body inflammation.Leaky gut is like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream so that toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can now get through. When this happens, it causes inflammation throughout your body, leading to a variety of diseases.
Possible Anti-Cancer Agent
Cancer Treatment Centers of Americalisted 11 foods with cancer-fighting properties, and placed cayenne pepper near the top. There are reasons for that. Studies suggest that capsaicin may have a role as a natural remedy for cancer, including in the management of prostate cancer.Morie et al 2006 study conducted at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that this important ingredient in cayenne pepper is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the activation of new dangerous formations.
There is also data from California’s Loma Linda University that suggests that cayenne pepper benefits include being effective in helping prevent lung cancer in smokers.Cayenne pepper’s high amounts of capsaicin serves as a substance that can stop the formation of tobacco induced tumors in the lung. Similar effects have also been found in liver tumors when they were exposed to cayenne pepper.
It has the ability to kill fungus and prevent the formation of fungal pathogens. Renault et al 2003 study investigated thevitro antifungal activity, and the results found that it was active against 16 different fungal strains, including Candida.Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces, however, the typical candida symptoms may appear.This includes hormone imbalance, joint pain, digestive problems and a weak immune system.
Risks, Side Effects and Interactions
According to Christine Ruggeri,Medicinal lotions and creams that contain capsicum extract are known to be safe for most adults when applied to the skin and consumed. The active chemical in capsicum, capsaicin, is approved by the FDA as an over-the-counter product, so it can be sold without a prescription.When applied topically, cayenne pepper side effects may include skin irritation, burning and itching. It can also be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat, so be careful when using cayenne pepper on sensitive skin or around the eyes.
When consumed in moderate doses, side effects can include upset stomach and irritation, sweating, flushing and runny nose.Because cayenne pepper may increase bleeding during and after surgery, it’s best to stop using cayenne pepper as a natural medication at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.Medications that slow blood clotting, such as anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, interact with cayenne pepper and should be avoided if you are using cayenne pepper as a natural health remedy.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include:
Capsicum can also increase how much theophylline — a bronchodilator that can treat asthma and other lung problems — the body can absorb. Therefore, taking capsicum alongside theophylline might increase the effects and side effects of theophylline.It’s wise not to use cayenne pepper on children under the age of two. It can be irritating and may lead to a negative reaction, especially on the skin.
DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
The writer is an honorary Professor of Holistic Medicine-Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine and currently, LLB law/MBA Student. He is the formulator of FDA approved Nyarkotey Hibiscus Tea for Cardiovascular Support and wellness, Men’s Formula for Prostate Health and Women’s Formula for wellness. Contact: 0241083423/0541234556