Taro, commonly known as arbi in the Indian subcontinent, is a starchy root vegetable. It is grown all-year-round and comes in a number of varieties depending on the region where it is grown. Although the thick tuber or corm is the most commonly used part of the taro plant, taro leaves are also very popular in the Indian subcontinent and are used to make iconic dishes like patra from Gujarat and patrode from Karnataka. 

Because it is a starchy vegetable, it’s very easy to assume that taro roots aren’t all that healthy. But in reality, taro roots are very nutritious and are a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Taro roots have a very low protein content, but the leaves are rich in protein - so inclusion of both in your diet is important.

Did you know?

Taro roots and leaves are poisonous if eaten raw. This is because they contain calcium oxalate, which can only be destroyed by applying heat. This makes cooking them a must before consumption. Cooked taro roots are also used as baby food in some cultures. According to a study published in 1971, taro roots make a viable baby food option when prepared the right way, and can help keep issues like diarrhea, pneumonia, enteritis and beriberi away in infants.

  • Botanical name: Colocasia esculenta
  • Family: Araceae (Arum family)
  • Common name: Colocasia, taro, arbi 
  • Sanskrit name: Kachu, alupam
  • Parts used: Leaves, roots
  • Native region and geographical distribution: Nigeria is the world’s largest taro producer, followed by China, Cameroon, Ghana and Papua New Guinea. It is grown in large parts of Asia, Africa and South America too.
  • Interesting facts: Taro is a staple food in many countries, including India, because it grows easily in tropical regions. In Hawaii, taro is eaten ritually and worshipped because Hawaiians believe that all humans are descended from kalo or taro.
  1. Taro (arbi) nutrition facts
  2. Health benefits of taro (arbi)
  3. Side effects of taro (arbi)
  4. Takeaway

Taro is a very nutritious plant, and both its leaves and tubers are important parts of South Asian diets.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the following are the nutritional values of taro leaves:

Nutrient Value per 100g
Water 85.66 g
Energy 42 kcal
Protein 4.98 g
Ash 1.92 g
Carbohydrate 6.7 g
Dietary fiber 3.7 g
Sugar 3.01 g
Vitamin A 241 µg
Vitamin C 52 mg
Vitamin E 2.02 mg
Vitamin K 108.6 µg
Niacin 1.513 mg
Folate 126 µg
Beta carotene 2895 µg
Calcium 107 mg
Iron 2.25 mg
Magnesium 45 mg
Phosphorus 60 mg
Potassium 648 mg
Sodium 3 mg


According to the USDA, the following are the nutritional values of cooked taro roots:

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Water 63.8 g
Energy 142 kcal
Carbohydrate 34.6 g
Dietary fiber 5.1 g
Vitamin A 4 µg
Vitamin C 5 mg
Vitamin E 2.93 mg
Vitamin K 1.2 µg
Folate 19 µg
Beta carotene 39 µg
Beta cryptoxanthin 22 µg
Calcium 18 mg
Magnesium 30 mg
Phosphorus 76 mg
Potassium 484 mg
Sodium 15 mg

Despite the fact that taro is a starchy vegetable, it is highly beneficial for your health because of its high nutrient content. It’s important to remember that taro has very low calories and no cholesterol, which makes it perfect for a plant-based diet. Since it’s a good source of energy, taro leaves and roots should ideally be consumed year-round. The following are some of the benefits you can get from eating properly cooked taro leaves and roots.

Taro is good for digestion

Like most vegetables, taro is rich in dietary fiber and therefore very good for your digestion. Eating taro can also boost your gut health, and help keep indigestion, bloating, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and constipation away. The starch in taro is highly digestible (98.8% digestible, according to the USDA), so it can be eaten by people who suffer from some digestive health issues too.

Taro is a good baby food

Since taro is so easily digestible and a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water, it is also used to make formula food and canned baby foods. But you should consult a doctor before introducing taro or any other semi-solid foods to your baby. It’s also important to cook taro completely until it softens, otherwise the calcium oxalate in it can irritate your baby’s throat and respiratory organs.

Taro can prevent diabetes

Taro is full of carbs, but it’s important to know that these carbs are basically sourced from dietary fiber and resistant starch. Both these types of nutrients are not broken down by stomach acids and so prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal. Eating taro is, therefore, a good way of managing your glycemic levels, and is a great source of nutrients if you have diabetes.

Taro may reduce risk of heart disease

Apart from being rich in fiber and vitamins - which play a role in improving heart health - taro is exceptionally rich in potassium. Adequate potassium levels can relieve the pressure on arteries and veins to improve blood circulation. Improved blood circulation suggests improved cardiovascular health and lower chances of heart diseases.

myUpchar doctors after many years of research have created myUpchar Ayurveda Hridyas Capsule by using 100% original and pure herbs of Ayurveda. This Ayurvedic medicine has been recommended by our doctors to lakhs of people for problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, with good results.
BP Tablet
₹899  ₹999  10% OFF

Taro can help weight loss

Taro is a great source of energy, it is low in calories and has no cholesterol. Since taro is also a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, eating it can help you maintain a healthy weight. Including taro in your diet can facilitate weight loss as well.

If you are tired of dieting and exercising and are not able to lose weight, then use myUpchar Ayurveda Medarodh Fat Burner Capsule, it has no side effects, order it today and avail the benefits.

Taro may help fight cancer

Taro isn’t just a rich source of essential nutrients but is also rich in antioxidants. It has a high content of polyphenols, especially a type called quercetin. Quercetin can help fight cancer cells and protect the body from free radical damage too. Research published in Anticancer Drugs in 2012 revealed that taro might help fight breast cancer and prostate cancer. Taro is also loaded with cryptoxanthin, which, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, is directly related to lowering the risk of lung cancer and oral cancer.

Taro can improve eyesight

Taro is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotenes and cryptoxanthin. These nutrients play a vital role in preventing free radicals from attacking and damaging the cells of the eyes. Eating taro can, therefore, help improve vision and keep cataracts and macular degeneration at bay.

Taro can prevent anemia

Like a number of vegetables, taro is high in iron and potassium, both of which are very important for the immune system. These two nutrients are particularly important for the prevention of anemia, which occurs due to an iron deficiency in the body.

Although taro is rich in a number of nutrients that are vital for your immunity, eating too much taro can have a number of harmful side effects too. Taro is rich in calcium oxalate, which means eating too much taro can lead to the following complications:

  • You should not have taro raw since the presence of calcium oxalate can irritate your throat and skin, and lead to itchy throat and inflammation. Always cook taro properly before consuming it.
  • You should not overeat taro since calcium oxalate can also cause kidney stones which can lead to pain in the abdomen. Passing stones can be quite difficult and painful too.
  • Calcium oxalate is also linked to vulvodynia, a chronic pain or discomfort around the vaginal opening. Women who have been diagnosed with vulvodynia are recommended a low-oxalate diet.

Taro is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that has been cultivated and consumed all over the world, and especially in Asian countries like India, for a long time. Taro roots and leaves are rich in dietary fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols - all of which are highly beneficial for your health. Taro roots are highly digestible and are sometimes used in baby foods. From helping you lose weight to keeping diabetes and cancers at bay, eating taro has many benefits. But because of the presence of calcium oxalate, eating taro raw or when it’s undercooked can be hazardous. It’s best to boil or properly cook taro before eating it to minimise the risk of these side effects.


  1. DR Rashmi. et al. Taro (Colocasia esculenta): An overview. Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2018; 6(4): 156-161.
  2. Plant Guide. Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Washington D.C. USA; TARO Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott
  3. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture. Washington D.C. USA; Taro, cooked, without salt
  4. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture. Washington D.C. USA; Taro leaves, raw
  5. Kundu N. et al. Antimetastatic activity isolated from Colocasia esculenta (taro).. Anticancer Drugs. 2012 Feb;23(2):200-11. PMID: 21934603
  6. Marickar YM. Calcium oxalate stone and gout.. Urol Res. 2009 Dec;37(6):345-7. PMID: 19779706
  7. Brown, Amy C. and Valiere, Anna. The Medicinal Uses of Poi. Nutr Clin Care. 2004; 7(2): 69–74. PMID: 15481740
Read on app