Most people know of the lotus flower, which sits beautifully atop pond water. To this day, the lotus flower symbolizes beauty and rebirth. It’s not often that people think about the lotus roots, which stretch deep into the mud of the ponds they grown in. The lotus root is not only edible and popular in Asian cuisine, but also a great source of various health properties.
Similar to burdock root, lotus rhizomes contain antioxidants that help fight against free radicals and protect cells in the body. Studies have shown that compounds in lotus root may aid digestion, improve cardiovascular function, support brain health, and reduce inflammation. It exhibits a crunchy texture and nutty flavor, and you can incorporate it into salads, soups, and stir-fries. The nutritional profile of lotus root is almost as distinct as its appearance. For example, one raw lotus root provides:
- Calories: 85.1
- Protein: 3 gram (g)
- Carbohydrates: 19.8 g
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 46 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 56% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin B6: 18% of the DV
- Copper: 33% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 23% of the DV
Thiamine: 17% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 9% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- Manganese: 13% of the DV
Boosts Brain Function
Lotus root, along with sunflower seeds and cashews, is an excellent plant-based source of copper. Researchers note that copper strengthens bones, improves energy levels, supports metabolism, and enables the function of neural pathways. One study suggests that the polyphenolic compounds in lotus root improve neural function by boosting the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors in glial cells. These are the most abundant type of cells in the central nervous system.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
In addition to the antioxidant compounds, lotus root is rich in fiber and potassium, both of which improve cardiovascular function. People with low potassium levels have a higher risk of heart disease, especially stroke. Potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals prevent the buildup of fluids in cells. That means potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of other cardiovascular issues. Research also notes an inverse association between people who eat foods higher in insoluble fiber and cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Reduce Risk Of Birth Defects
Lotus root is a great source of beneficial nutrients (primarily folate) for pregnant women. Women in their childbearing age should be mindful of the amount of folate they consume. The reason for that is sufficient folate intake can help prevent neural tube defects, which can occur during early pregnancy. The calcium, choline, and iron in lotus root also support a healthy pregnancy.
Promotes Glowing Skin
Vitamin C benefits the skin in several different ways, and lotus root happens to be a great source of this nutrient. The skin has high concentrations of vitamin C, which promotes collagen synthesis and helps protect the skin from damaging free radicals. Vitamin C also works to reduce the signs of aging, dark patches, and skin discoloration. Preliminary studies note that lotus root may possess anti-aging and anti-wrinkling effects.
Supports Energy Levels
Regular lotus root consumption may increase iron levels, and iron supports ongoing energy by helping oxygen reach cells. Iron-deficient people tend to feel tired, sluggish, and have difficult concentration. When you eat iron-rich foods, you help increase oxygen to cells and muscles. It also helps iron promote the proper absorption of nutrients and digestion of proteins. Other iron-rich foods include spinach, lentils, tempeh, beans, and Swiss chard.
Aids Digestion And Weight Management
Lotus root contains quite a bit of fiber, which aids digestion by bulking up stool. A diet rich in fiber can make you feel satiated for a longer period of time, meaning you won’t overeat or eat for no reason. According to research, fiber helps reduce hunger, in addition to relieving constipation. By reducing hunger, you reduce your total caloric intake and prevent gain. Additionally, fermented lotus root exhibits gastroprotective effects in a study with rats. The antioxidants in lotus root also aid the digestive process.