Cocoyam or Taro (Colocasia esculenta) is a starchy edible tuber and bears broad greenish leaves. It is grown in several places around the world. We usually consume the roots tubers or its leaves, locally called kontomire. Both the root and leaves have many health benefits for the body because they are rich in nutrients.
Now let us go through what we found out as some of the amazing benefits of kontomire.
Boost immune system
One (1) cup of cocoyam leaves contains about 145mg of Vitamin C, about 86% of our body’s daily requirement. This will help boost your immune system effectively.
Prevention of cancer
Cocoyam leaves are rich in vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant. This fights against free radicals that cause cancer and help to prevent many diseases.
Cocoyam leaves are rich in vitamin A in addition to the vitamin C. The amount of vitamin A can be as high as 123% of our daily requirement. It is very good for eyes to stay healthy, maintain the visual acuity, and prevent the eyes diseases such as myopia, cataract and blindness.
Aid digestion and prevents digestive problems
The high dietary fibre in cocoyam leaves helps in food digestion and absorption. Cocoyam leaves can prevent digestive problems such as indigestion, constipation, and diarrhoea.
Cholesterol level reduction
Cocoyam leaves have no cholesterol and only 1% of total fat, and so, is the best diet for reducing cholesterol. The dietary fibre and methionine contained in cocoyam leaves can reduce the cholesterol effectively. They bind and break down fat and cholesterol especially triglyceride.
Help in weight loss
Cocoyam leaves are low in fat and high in protein. It is therefore, the best diet to reduce your fat and get your muscle mass.
Cocoyam leaves contain Omega 3 which plays a role in inflammation process and can inhibit the release of inflammatory substances. It can help to treat diseases like arthritis, gastritis, or lupus disease.
Protect the nervous system
Are you feeling the symptoms of tingling, numbness, or pain in your limb? You can eat taro leaves to reduce those symptoms. The vitamin B complex including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 in cocoyam leaves protect the nervous system. They also boost the immune system.
Control the blood pressure
The Omega 3, an essential fatty acid, help produce hormones to control the contraction and relaxation of arteries wall. If this mechanism is going well, the blood pressure can be kept at a normal level.
Cocoyam leaves also contain calcium which is good for the formation and maintenance of healthy bone. It works with phosphorous to strengthen the bone and teeth.
Fetal brain and nervous system development
Besides its rich nutrients content, the leaves also contain folate which is essential for the development of your fetal brain and nervous system. It is, therefore, good to consume cocoyam leaves when you are pregnant. However, be sure to cook them well before you eat.
Cocoyam leaves diet is recommended in the prevention of anaemia. This is because they contain iron mineral which helps in red blood cell formation. The vitamin C content additionally helps to absorb the iron well.
Fetal bone and teeth development
Additionally, the manganese in cocoyam leaves helps in the fetal cartilage, bone, and teeth formation during pregnancy
Prevention of preeclampsia in pregnancy
The consumption cocoyam leaves help to prevent preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys) during pregnancy. The magnesium mineral helps in muscle relaxation and can be used to prevent preeclampsia.
Reduce wrinkles on the skin
Cocoyam leaves also contain the amino acid called threonine. The threonine helps in the formation of elastin and collagen which are good for the healthy skin. They prevent the skin from wrinkle and rejuvenate skin.
Quick treatment for diarrhoea
The zinc in cocoyam leaves protects intestinal mucosa. When you get diarrhoea, the intestine wall loses its mucosa. Zinc helps to release the mucosa quickly to immediately stop the diarrhoea.
Very good energy source
Cocoyam leaves present one of the best energy sources for the body through its essential amino acid called isoleucine. This protein regulates the blood sugar and increases the muscle strength and energy levels. This is the best diet for people who love to work out.
Promote the bone and skin healing
An essential amino acid called leucine is contained by cocoyam leaves. It promotes the bone and skin healing by releasing the natural painkiller called enkephalins. It does not only facilitate the bone healing but also relieve the pain as well.
Enhance the memory and mood
Cocoyam leaves release dopamine (a monoamine neurotransmitter found in the brain and essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system) which acts in the brain and nervous system. Synthesized by phenylalanine, it enhances your brain memory and controls your mood.
Help to treat nicotine addiction
Cocoyam leaves contain tyrosine, a crucial amino acid in the human body. It becomes an adaptogen substance which helps to minimize the effect of nicotine, cocaine, and coffee addiction.
Increase sperm production
Cocoyam leaves contain arginine, an amino acid which helps to increase sperm production. This makes it good for men.
A detoxification agent
Histidine, one of the essential amino acids is also contained in cocoyam leaves. It serves as a detoxification agent that helps to remove the heavy metals from the body and protect the body from damage from radiation.
You shouldn’t consume cocoyam leaves in a raw condition because it has a dangerous toxin. Please soak them first in the clean water for about 10-15 minutes. After that, cook them well to remove its toxic substance. It is usually itchy in the throat if not well cooked.
Kontonmire Stew or Palaver Sauce
½ cup Palm Oil or Crisco Oil
2 pounds Kontonmire, or any Cooked Green Leaf Vegetable (turnip greens, kale, or spinach, for example)
6 – 8 Shallots
1 ½ pound Flaked Fish, Corned Beef, or Stewed Meat
3 Tomatoes or 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
½ pint Water
4 ounces Pine Nuts, optional
4 ounces Shrimp, Scallops, or other Shellfish, cooked
Salt & Pepper
Boil leaves until soft (save liquid); mash to pulp & set aside. Soak Agusi in a small amount of water for 5 minutes. Fry onion and tomato puree in oil. Add Agusi and simmer 10 minutes. Add fish or meat, lobster, a small amount of the leaf liquid and mashed leaves. Season.
Serve hot with rice, yam, or potatoes, or as a meat sauce.