The lotus root is a vegetable root with therapeutic benefits. It has been used in Asian traditional medicine for centuries. Lotus root benefits your health in a number of ways, thanks to its rich nutrition profile. It is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants that help treat many ailments.
This nutritional food source is used to add seasoning to foods and has several culinary applications too. This article explores the nutritional breakdown of lotus root, its health benefits, how to include it in your diet, and its possible side effects. Keep reading.
In This Article
What Is Lotus Root?
Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) belongs to the aquatic flowering plants family Nelumbonaceae. It is widely cultivated in China, Korea, Japan, and India as an ornamental plant for food and medicinal purposes (1). Lotus roots are its submerged stems. They are cylindrical and segmented (like connected sausages). The tubular roots have air channels running along their lengths, and when you cut them, you will see holes (2).
Elliot Reimers, CISSN, CNC, says, “Lotus root is a plant mostly found in lakes and rivers. There are a number of uses to the lotus root in regards to medicine, and almost the entire plant has different medicinal qualities.”
The roots of its use in traditional medicine could be traced to its nutritional value.
He adds, “Lotus root is full of many important minerals, nutrients, and vitamins, and it is also an amazing source of fiber.” Scroll down to check the wide range of nutrients it contains.
Lotus Root Nutritional Information
A hundred grams of cooked lotus root contains (3):
Total lipids (Fat)
Reimers adds, “The fiber that comes from the lotus root has been said to help our bodies with the regulation of blood sugar and can also help improve our digestion.” Here are some other reasons to eat lotus root.
Health Benefits Of Lotus Root
1. May Protect The Liver
A mice study found that oral lotus root powder could prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Researchers found that lotus roots could suppress inflammatory gene expression associated with the condition, increase serum adiponectin levels, and protect the liver (4).
2. May Protect Against Stomach Ulcers
A study on rats showed that fermented lotus root could protect the stomach against stomach ulcers. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that add to its gastroprotective effects and speed up the recovery of the mucous layer of the stomach (gastric mucosa) (5).
3. May Reduce Inflammation
Fermented lotus roots contain linoleic acid. This fatty acid can reduce inflammatory responses within the body and help prevent acute inflammatory conditions like acute hepatitis and autoimmune diseases (6).
4. May Help Manage Diabetes
An animal study found that lotus root extract could significantly reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic and normal rats. Researchers also observed improved glucose tolerance and insulin action (7). Consuming lotus root extract may have a similar effect in humans. However, more human studies are required to substantiate the effect.
5. May Treat Allergy
A mice study found that lotus root powder could reduce nasal allergy symptoms in mice. It contains vitamin C and other polyphenolic compounds that can reduce serum histamine (a compound released by cells that triggers allergic reactions) levels and other inflammatory parameters (8).
6. May Promote Gut Health
7. May Control Weight Gain
Lotus root extract can reduce fat tissue weight (adipocytes) and have anti-obesity effects in human cells. It prevents lipid accumulation in cells and may lower blood cholesterol levels (10). This may also help prevent obesity-related conditions.
Reimers says, “Some of the other reasons lotus root is good for you to include that it’s not a common food allergen, it has a low water footprint, and it is naturally gluten-free.” These benefits make it worthwhile to include lotus root in your diet. Here’s how you can do it.
How To Add Lotus Root To Your Diet: Popular Recipes
Lotus root is mildly sweet and has a crunchy, starchy texture. As it cooks, it softens without losing its crunch and flavor. The vegetable is versatile – it is crisp when stir-fried and tender and creamy when baked.
You cannot consume raw lotus root; you need to either boil or steam it. Peel off its skin and rinse it thoroughly before boiling for 10 minutes. However, if you want to soften its texture, boil the roots for not more than 20 minutes. Here are a few recipes to try.
1. Lotus Root Stir-Fry
Make your lunchtime a little more exciting with this savory side dish.
What You Need
- 300 g lotus root
- 1 cup of mushrooms (chopped)
- ½ cup of red bell pepper (chopped)
- ¼ cup of chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 6 slices of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 scallions (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
- Salt, as needed
How To Prepare
- Blanch lotus roots, mushrooms, and bell peppers for 45 seconds and set aside.
- Mix the chicken stock, oyster sauce, salt, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl to make the sauce mixture.
- Sauté ginger, garlic, and scallions for a minute over medium heat.
- Add the blanched vegetables and stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Add dry sherry around the edge of the wok, followed by the sauce mixture.
- Add the cornstarch-water mix and cook for 30 seconds until the sauce is simmering.
- Stir-fry for another 20-30 seconds until the sauce coats the vegetables, and serve.
2. Baked Lotus Root Chips
Replace the potato chips with this tasty snack! Create your flavor by mixing different spices.
What You Need
- 200 g lotus roots
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper (freshly ground)
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
How To Prepare
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Drizzle oil and arrange the sliced roots on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Drain on a paper towel. Serve with a dip or add your blend of spices.
3. Pork And Lotus Root Soup
This hearty, flavorful soup will satisfy your soul and hunger.
What You Need
- 500 g lotus root
- 500 g pork ribs
- 100 g peanuts
- 1 carrot (peeled and chopped)
- 1 dried cuttlefish, rinsed (optional)
- 8 dates (dried, deseeded)
- Salt, as needed
How To Prepare
- Soak peanuts in boiling water for 30 minutes.
- Blanch pork ribs for 5 minutes and set aside.
- Slice the lotus roots into bite-sized pieces.
- Add all the ingredients to a soup pot and add water to cover them.
- Boil the soup. Cook it for 2-3 hours on low heat or until the meat is tender.
- Add salt and serve hot.
It is always best to consume fresh lotus roots. However, you can also store them for later use. Here are a few tips.
Tips To Store Lotus Root
You can refrigerate lotus roots for up to a week. Ensure to store peeled and sliced roots in an airtight container. Sliced lotus roots are prone to browning. You can soak them in vinegar to prevent browning. Discard the roots if they develop black spots or an unpleasant smell.
Lotus roots are delicious and healthy. However, you have to be careful while consuming them.
Side Effects And Allergies
Though it is rare, people can be allergic to lotus roots. There has been a case where a 6-year-old girl experienced allergic reactions after consuming fried lotus roots (11).
Reimers adds, “Some of the possible side effects of lotus root include bad breath, fever, diarrhea, and problems with the liver. While it is plant-based and has many health benefits, individuals should speak with their doctor before incorporating it into their diet too quickly.”
The Final Word
Lotus roots frequently feature in Asian cuisines. They have a mild sweet taste and crunchy texture. The root vegetable has fiber and other nutrients, which are crucial for our health in many ways. It also contains vitamin C and other polyphenols that boost your immune system. However, before consuming lotus roots, ensure you are not allergic to them to prevent undesired health issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is lotus root high in carbs?
No. Lotus roots have a moderate level of carbs.
Is lotus root a nightshade plant?
No. The plants of the Solanum and Capsicum families belong to the nightshade family.
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- Effects of Lotus Root (the Edible Rhizome of Nelumbo nucifera) on the Deveolopment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Obese Diabetic db/db Mice
- Gastroprotective Effects of Fermented Lotus Root against Ethanol/HCl-Induced Gastric Mucosal Acute Toxicity in Rats
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Fermented Lotus Root and Linoleic Acid in Lipopolysaccharide-Induced RAW 264.7 Cells
- Effect of Nelumbo nucifera rhizome extract on blood sugar level in rats
- Anti-allergic activity of lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera) powder in TDI-sensitized nasal allergy model mice
- Dietary fiber and digestive health in children
- Ethanol extract of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) root exhibits an anti-adipogenic effect in human pre-adipocytes and anti-obesity and antioxidant effects in rats fed a high-fat diet
- Identification of a novel food allergen in lotus root