HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE COCOYAM
The botanical name, Colocasia esculenta, is popularly known as cocoyam. It is identified as a tropical perenial plant that produces starchy tuber crop with three parts namely: corm, stem and leaves.
It is grown basically for its edible root. It can however, be grown as an ornamental plant for the beautification of the environment as well as a medicinal plant.
Much as the cocoyam tuber has a lot of nutrients that nourish the human body, they also assist the body in coping with some health conditions as they present. The leaves are also good in handling other conditions.
*Reduces your cholesterol level.
*Aids in weight loss.
*Helps control blood pressure.
*Helps the development of the fetal brain and nervous system.
*Helps prevent anaemia.
*Helps reduce wrinkly skin.
*Helps Increase sperm production
For the cocoyam corm, it is instrumental in alleviating a wide range of diseases/illnesses considering the chemical content.
Cocoyam root is important for the antioxidant activity in our body. With the high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and various other phenolic antioxidants contained in the root, it assists in boosting the immune system of the human body. Experts say that it helps in eliminating dangerous free radicals from the body system. Actually, free radicals are described as the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that may result in healthy cells to mutate and turn into cancerous cells. When eliminated, the general health of the body is almost guaranteed. One of the components of the cocoyam root is Cryptoxanthin, which is said to bring about a lowered chance of developing both lung and oral cancers.
Reducing Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cocoyam has been found to be extremely beneficial for averting rheumatoid arthritis because low levels of vitamin B6 are said to worsen the indications of rheumatoid arthritis like more severe pain. Several studies and researchers conclude that people with rheumatoid arthritis require considerably, more vitamin B6 than healthy people because they experience constant muscle aches and joint pains due to chronic inflammation. Vitamin B6 is also instrumental in curbing pain and can be helpful in supplement form for controlling aches in the muscles and joints as a result of arthritis.
Blood Pressure and Healthy Heart
Cocoyam contains an appreciable amount of potassium which is considered essential to remain healthy and efficient. Potassium not only enables healthy fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body, it also helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries. When the veins and blood vessels are relaxed, blood pressure can be reduced and stress on the overall cardiovascular system reduces. Potassium is related to increased cognitive function because neural connections can be boosted when blood pressure is reduced and fluid transfer between neural membranes is brought to optimal.
Immune System Health
Cocoyam plays an important role in the immune system. Vitamin C is found in cocoyam roots which assist the immune system to create more white blood cells which help to defend the body from foreign pathogens and agents. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, which moderately prevents the development of severe health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Consuming high potassium foods encourages decreased muscle cramping and improved muscle strength. Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium, 615 mg which is 13.09% of the daily recommended value. Muscle cramps are one of the regular indications of low potassium levels. This happens when an athlete becomes dehydrated and has not been consuming enough potassium rich foods before and after exercise.
Cocoyam plays an important role in digestion because it consists of high level of dietary fiber (a single serving contains 11.32% of the daily requirement of dietary fiber) Fiber is very important for encouraging the human gastrointestinal health. Fiber helps to add bulk to the bowel movements, thus helping food move through the digestive tract and facilitating improved digestion. Beyond helping to prevent certain conditions like excess gas, cramping, bloating, constipation and even diarrhea, cocoyam aids healthy, regulated gastrointestinal system which can significantly boost the overall health and reduce the chances of various types of cancer.
Vitamin B1 which is also known as thiamine is a crucial vitamin for increasing focus, energy, fighting chronic stress, and perhaps preventing memory loss. Cocoyam contains an appreciable quantity which many researches have linked its deficiency to problems of learning and retaining information. One study showed that thiamine caused quick reaction times and feelings of clear-headedness in those taking tests.
Cocoyam helps to improve the sight as it is loaded with several antioxidants, like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants can also help to improve vision as well, by preventing the free radicals from attacking ocular cells and causing macular degeneration or cataracts!
Helps Maintain Dental Health
Cocoyam contains phosphorus which is essential for both bone health and maintaining teeth and gum health. Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus all play an important role in the formation and maintenance of dental health by supporting tooth enamel, jaw-bone mineral density and also holding the teeth in place. Given these qualities, these minerals and vitamins can also help heal tooth decay.
Besides proper bowel movement, dietary fiber can as well help in lowering the chances of developing diabetes because it helps to regulate the release of insulin and glucose in the body. When a person consumes sufficient amount of Cocoyam in their regular diet then the person can manage his/her glycemic levels and lower their chances of developing diabetes. For diabetics, fiber-rich foods like cocoyam can help stop the spikes and plunges in blood sugar that can be very dangerous.
Cocoyam contains a substantial quantity of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to decrease environmental damage to the hair. It also promotes circulation to the scalp. Vitamin E oil helps to retain the natural moisture in the skin, which prevents the scalp from becoming dry and flakey. This oil also helps in making the hair look healthier and fresher. Applying some drops of vitamin E oil on the hair, especially if it is looking dry and dull is good for its overall health.
Cocoyam consists of many mineral contents. But the presence of iron and copper in Cocoyam make it a crucial food in the prevention of anemia and boosting circulation all over the body. Iron and copper are both essential for the production of red blood cells that carry the all-important oxygen to our body’s systems and cells. When the chances of anemia (iron deficiency) is decreased and the flow of blood through the body is increased, you can speed up overall metabolism, growth of new cells, and general oxygenation of the body. It is always a good idea to keep organs and systems functioning at their optimal levels!
Prevents Bone Loss
Copper, which is present in cocoyam plays a vital role in slowing down bone loss and osteoporosis in older women. This proves more effective when taken in combination with other important minerals like zinc, calcium and manganese. Copper has bone-strengthening qualities and its collagen-forming qualities encourage strong bones and connective tissues.
Regular consumption of Cocoyam helps to heal wounds and blemishes faster, it also makes wrinkles to diminish, leaving the person with a healthy and glowing skin. Cocoyam is extremely beneficial to those who wish to keep their skin hydrated as well as protected since it contains a sufficient amount of vitamin A and vitamin E. Each of these vitamins help address skin problems and boost overall cellular health.
As common as the cocoyam is, even to the extent of wearing some form of derogatory veil as the food of the poor and indigent, the health benefits are enormous. It is hereby advised that the cocoyam should be eaten more regularly, possibly made a family staple so as to build on the numerous health benefits.