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Cocoyam Nutrition Preparation.

Dr Ignatius O. Onah.

Common Names in Igboland: EDE, NKASHI, OGUNTA, ORKPAKARA,etc.

 Part One: Cocoyam Constituents.

 * Cocoyam possesses high nutritional values when compared with others like cassava and yam , with substantial vitamins , minerals and proteinous contents.

 * it can serve as a weaning food and its own leaves are sometimes used as vegetable for cooking .

 * It is an aroid because it is grown mainly for its edible corms; however their leaves can also be used for both medicinal and culinary purposes .

 * Cocoyam has more calories than potatoes . 100 g provides 112 calories. Its calories mainly come from complex carbohydrates known as amylose and amylopectin .

 * Their protein levels can be comparable to that of other tropical food sources like yam, cassava , potato , banana , etc .

 * Cocoyams are free from gluten. They feature high-quality phyto -nutrition profile comprising of dietary fibre, and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals , and vitamins .

 * It is one of the finest source dietary fibres; 100 g flesh provides 4. 1 g or 11 % of daily- requirement of dietary fibre. Together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates , moderate amounts of fibre in the food help gradual rise in blood sugar levels .

  Part Two : Health benefits.

1. Cancer Prevention

Taro root plays an important part for the antioxidant activity in our body . High levels of vitamin A , vitamin C , and various other phenolic antioxidants found in taro root helps to boost immune system and help eliminate dangerous free radicals from our system. Free radicals are actually the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that may result in healthy cells to mutate and turn into cancerous cells. By eliminating these free radicals, our general health is almost guaranteed !

 # Cryptoxanthin, which is found in taro root , is directly related to a lowered chance of developing both lung and oral cancers . ( 1)

2. Reduce Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cocoyam is extremely beneficial for overcoming rheumatoid arthritis because low levels of vitamin B 6 are related with increased signs of rheumatoid arthritis ( RA ) , like more severe pain. Several researchers conclude that people with RA require comparatively more vitamin B 6 than healthy people because they experience constant muscle aches and joint pain due to chronic inflammation. Vitamin B 6 benefits include curbing pain and can be useful in supplement form for controlling aches in the muscles and joints due to arthritis.

3. Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium which is considered other essential minerals that are essential to remain healthy and efficient . Potassium not only enables healthy fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body , but also helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries . By relaxing the veins and blood vessels, blood pressure can be reduced and stress on the overall cardiovascular system is reduced. 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 optimized !

4. Immune System Health

Cocoyam plays an important role in the immune system. Vitamin C is found in taro roots which help to encourage immune system to create more white blood cells which help to defend the body from foreign pathogens and agents . Additionally vitamin C acts as an antioxidant , which moderately prevents the development of conditions such as heart disease and cancer .

5. Cramps

Consuming high potassium foods is directly related with 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 common side effects of low potassium levels . This happens when athlete becomes dehydrated and isn ’t consuming enough potassium rich foods before and after exercise.

6. Digestive Health

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 supporting our gastrointestinal health. Fiber helps to add bulk to our bowel movements, thus helping food move through the digestive tract and facilitating improved digestion . Apart from that it can help to prevent certain conditions like excess gas, cramping , bloating, constipation and even diarrhea . A healthy , regulated gastrointestinal system can significantly boost your overall health and reduce your chances of various types of cancer.

7. Enhances Learning

Cocoyam consists of Vitamin B 1 which is also known as thiamine is a crucial vitamin for increasing focus , energy , fighting chronic stress , and perhaps preventing memory loss. Several researches have linked thiamine deficiency to problems learning and retaining information. One study showed that thiamine caused quick reaction times and feelings of clear- headedness in those taking tests . Cocoyam consists of 0 . 099 mg of vitamin b1 which is 8. 25 % of the daily recommended value.

8. Boosts Vision

As we have previously mentioned, Cocoyam 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 !

9. Helps Maintain Dental Health

Cocoyam consists of phosphorus which is essential for both bone health as well as 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 holding the teeth in place, too — therefore, these minerals and vitamins can also help heal tooth decay.

10. Diabetes

Apart from proper bowel movement dietary fiber can also help lower the chances of developing diabetes because it helps to regulate the release of insulin and glucose in the body . If you consume sufficient amount of Cocoyam in your regular diet then you can manage your glycemic levels and lower your chances of developing diabetes . If you have diabetes , then fiber- rich foods like taro root can help prevent the spikes and plunges in blood sugar that can be so hazardous .

11. Thickens Hair

Cocoyam consists of significant amount of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to decrease environmental damage to your hair . It also promotes circulation to the scalp . Vitamin E oil can retain the natural moisture in your skin, which help your scalp from becoming dry and flakey . This oil will also make your hair look healthier and fresher. You can use a few drops of vitamin E oil on your hair , especially if it is looking dry and dull.

12. Circulation Stimulation

Cocoyam consists of several mineral contents. But the presence of iron and copper in Cocoyam make it an important food to prevent anemia and boost circulation throughout the body . Both Iron and copper are essential for the production of red blood cells that carry the all -important oxygen to our body ’ s systems and cells . By decreasing the chances of anemia ( iron deficiency ) and boost the flow of blood through the body , you can speed overall metabolism, growth of new cells , and general oxygenation of the body that is always a good idea to keep organs and systems functioning at their optimal levels!

13. Prevent Bone Loss

Copper present in taro roots plays an important role in slow down bone loss and osteoporosis in older women when taken in combination with other important minerals like zinc , calcium and manganese. Copper has bone -strengthening properties and its collagen- forming qualities encourage strong bones and connective tissues. Cocoyam consists of 0. 179 mg of copper which is 19 . 89% of the daily recommended value.

14. Skin Health

Cocoyam is extremely beneficial to those who wish to keep their skin hydrated as well as protected since it consists of sufficient amount of vitamin A and vitamin E . Each of these vitamin helps to eliminate skin problems and boost overall cellular health. Regular consumption of Cocoyam helps to heal wounds and blemishes faster , wrinkles will be diminished and you can get a healthy and glowing skin .

 Part Three : How to Prepare.

  In two parts - Chewing, & Swallow.

 In CHEWING, note the following.

 # Select the Biggest available -- Could be White or Red Variety.

 # Remove rotting portions.

 # Cook WITH SKIN ON. Can cook as much quantity as desired, storing remaining portion in fridge, or even at room temperature, but still with skin on.

 # Skin only the needed portion, then warm together with the approved Ketogenic/Paleo Stew, & serve.

  In SWALLOW.

  * Select the Biggest available -- Could be White or Red Variety.

  * Remove rotting portion.

  * Cook WITH SKIN ON.

   * When soft to touch, remove skin & pound like yam.

 * Serve with any desired soup( Ogbono, Egusi, Vegetable, etc)

  Notes on ERCHICHA(Dried Cocoyam)

 ERCHICHA is the elaborately - dried version of Cocoyams which is normally processed by spreading - and drying -- COOKED, CUT Cocoyam pieces for months on top a soot -laden raft suspended above the general kitchen area.

  After processing, ERCHICHA is usually so dried that it can keep for years at room temperature without any harm/degeneration.

  Preparation of ERCHICHA.

. Crack/Break the calcified, blackened pieces.

 . Soak them in water overnight( or for many hours during the day)

 . Cook parboiled, washed beans to past boiling point.

 . Put basket over the beans such that the basket is well above the water level.

 . Press soaked ERCHICHA pieces out of the water, spread the ensuring semi - solids on top of the basket (yes, should make no contact with water!)

 . Continue boiling until beans get done. Yes, very difficult to tell when ERCHICHA ever gets done, since its hard constituency remains almost a permanent feature irrespective of how long it has cooked!

 . Stew: Just standard rice stew albeit with plenty of added fresh Palm oil over & above the little quantity employed in frying.. It also demands a lot of onions,, pepper & traditional Spices.

 Culturally, ERCHICHA does not permit any animal products(Meat, fish, Eggs, etc); only crayfish used in the elaborate frying!

 Green vegetables are also out in ERCHICHA!

 Bad News!!

 Though it is a traditional delicacy in some Igbo parts, and is even one of the most costly menu, ERCHICHA has almost ZERO NUTRITION when compared to the saintly original Cocoyam raw material.

Why? How?

 Yes, just like other dried food items(Fish, Meat, etc), almost all nutrients have disappeared during the initial "punishment"(cooking, cutting, open - air drying, preservation, & storage)

  Hence, "Defensive Nutrition" has no room for ERCHICHA & her other blackened running mates like dry fish/dry meat, etc. A pity?

 Remain ever blessed.

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