Vegetable of the Orient…Why is lotus root good for you?
Updated: Mar 31
Foodpairing with Purpose® for Lotus Root
Lotus roots are very versatile. They can be eaten stir-fried, deep fried, boiled, steamed, baked, and in many other ways. In several East Asian cuisines, lotus root is very popular. Its flavor changes depending on how it is prepared, though it typically has a mildly sweet and starchy taste. This makes it a good choice for many meals.
A History of Lotus Root
Lotus root is the edible subterranean stem of the lotus plant, which is found in Asia, Australia, New Guinea and parts of the Middle East. The roots are typically harvested from August until fall. Almost all parts of the lotus plant are edible[i].
It is believed that lotus roots have been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years. In the 6th century BCE, plant was then transported along trade routes and introduced to ancient Egypt[ii]. There are many reasons why lotus root is such a popular item, and one of the main reasons is its many health benefits.
Lotus Root Health Benefits
Lotus root is low in sodium, free of fat and cholesterol, and a good source of source of carbohydrates and fiber[iii]. Since it is high in fiber, lotus root boosts digestion, helps relieve constipation, and ensures nutrient absorption through the secretion of gastric juices[iv].
It also has flavonoid and alkaloid compounds that may act as antioxidants[v]. Antioxidants are important for many reasons. Firstly, they protect your cells against free radicals, which are produced by your body when it is exposed to toxins such as smoke or pollution. This can give you protection against heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases[vi]. Eating antioxidants can also reduce your risk of risk of autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease[vii].
Free radicals can also break down collagen in the skin, which can result in sagging, wrinkles, and skin damage. Therefore, consuming antioxidants, such as those in lotus roots, can help your skin stay healthy and youthful[viii].
Lotus root also contains important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, calcium, and potassium[ix]. In fact, one lotus root contains 52mg of vitamin C. This is about 69 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 58 percent for men[x].
Getting enough vitamin C is important for several reasons. It helps protect against immune system deficiencies, eye diseases, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, and more[xi]. Your body needs vitamin C to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscles, and collagen[xii].
Since there are so many benefits to lotus root, it is very common in southern and East Asian cooking as well as dishes made in place around the world. However, there are some food combinations that are especially beneficial for your health.
Food Pairing for Lotus Root
At Foodpairing with Purpose, our goal is to provide information on the health benefits of foods as well as how you can pair foods together to improve health and wellness. Here are some food combinations that complement lotus root.
Lotus root + shrimp
o There are many nutritional benefits to eating shrimp. It is a good source of iodine and omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein[xiii]. When eaten with lotus root, it can boost the body’s immunity.
Lotus root + pork
o Eating lotus root and pork together is good for your body and helps improve the health of your muscles and blood. This is because pork contains many vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, such as iron and zinc[xiv].
Lotus root + burdock root
o This combination is good for detoxifying the body. That’s because there are active ingredients in the root system of burdock that can remove toxins from the bloodstream and promote circulation[xv]. It also contains many antioxidants which, combined with those in lotus root, make it a strong choice for your health.
Who Should Not Eat Lotus Root?
While there are many health benefits to lotus root, there are some people who should avoid it, such as those who have sensitive stomachs or who are prone to diarrhea.
It’s also important to note that lotus root should be cooked (boiled, steamed, baked, fried,
etc.) since consuming raw lotus roots can have an increase in bacterial infections[xvi].
In addition, some lotus root food pairings should be avoided:
Lotus root + white radish
o Radish and lotus root are both cooling foods, meaning they can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea if eaten together.
Lotus root + Soy bean
Soy bean are rich in
iron and lotus root is rich in cellulose. Cellulose can affect absorption of iron in the body.
Reference: [i] Food Literacy Center. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Lotus Root. https://www.foodliteracycenter.org/food-wiki/lotus-root [ii] Specialty Produce. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Lotus Root. https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Lotus_Root_910.php [iii] Very Well Fit. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Lotus Root Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits https://www.verywellfit.com/lotus-root-nutrition-facts-calories-carbs-and-health-benefits-4772425 [iv] NDTV Food. Retrieved 2022 September 12. 6 Lotus Root (Kamal Kakdi) Benefits: From Weight Loss to Reducing Stress and More! https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/6-lotus-root-kamal-kakdi-benefits-from-weight-loss-to-reducing-stress-and-more-1755346 [v] Healthline. Retrieved 2022 September 23. 5 Unique Health Benefits of Lotus https://www.healthline.com/health/8-uses-for-lotus [vi] Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Antioxidants. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428 [vii] Everyday Health. Retrieved 2022 September 23. A Detailed Guide to Antioxidants: Why They’re Beneficial and the Best Sources https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/antioxidants-health-benefits-best-sources-side-effects-more/ [viii] Live Science. Retrieved 2022 September 23. What do antioxidants do for your skin? https://www.livescience.com/what-do-antioxidants-do-for-your-skin [ix] Times Foodie. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Lotus root benefits and nutrition facts (kamal kakadi). https://www.timesfoodie.com/nutritional-facts/lotus-root-benefits-and-nutrition-facts-kamal-kakadi/89774850.cms [x] SFGate. Retrieved 2022 September 23. In What Nutrients Are Lotus Roots High? https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrients-lotus-roots-high-3520.html [xi] WebMD. Retrieved 2022 September 23. The Benefits of Vitamin C. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c [xii] Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Vitamin C. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932 [xiii] Healthline. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Is Shrimp Healthy? Nutrition, Calories, and Morehttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-shrimp-healthy [xiv] WebMD. Retrieved 2022 September 23. Pork: Is It Good for You? https://www.webmd.com/diet/pork-good-for-you [xv] Healthline. Retrieved 2022 September 23. https://www.healthline.com/health/burdock-roothttps://www.healthline.com/health/burdock-root https://www.healthline.com/health/burdock-root [xvi] Style Craze. Retrieved 2022 September 23. 9 Amazing Lotus Root Health Benefits You Need To Know. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/lotus-root/