The lotus flower is a special plant. It represents rebirth, awakening, and rising out of the darkness. In this case, that darkness is the muddy water. And what about the root or rhizome? It’s a common waste product of the lotus industry, but it holds a lot of potential. Even the leaves have nutritional benefits.1
In China and Japan, lotus root is used as a vegetable. It’s extremely crispy, making it a yummy ingredient for cooked dishes. Lotus root can also be eaten raw, just like celery or carrots.
If you’re new to lotus root, check out these five health benefits. You’ll want to try it ASAP.
5 Health Benefits Of Lotus Root
1. Provides Antioxidants
For a serious antioxidant boost, eat lotus root. It’s packed with antioxidants just like the seed and flower. A methanol extract of lotus rhizome powder has the strongest activity, but eating the root is just fine.
In the body, antioxidants will protect your cells from an injury. They’ll also enhance the antioxidant capacity of your blood, giving you protection from heart disease and some cancers. Overall, your health will flourish and chronic disease will be less likely.2
Lotus root is so rich in antioxidants that it may even be added to raw meat to prolong shelf life.3
2. Manages HIV
The anti-oxidative properties of lotus root can also help human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It’s all thanks to compounds like polysaccharide-protein complexes and catechins. They boast awesome antiviral effects, so they can inhibit key HIV enzymes like reverse transcriptase.
Because of these benefits, lotus root can potentially play a role in HIV therapy.4
3. Relieves Diarrhea
Dealing with diarrhea? Turn to lotus root. Ancient medicine honors it as a traditional anti-diarrheal remedy.
A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology tested this effect in animals. Researchers found that lotus root significantly relaxed the small intestine, which helped ease diarrhea. Spontaneous contractions also decreased.5 These findings suggest possible benefits for us humans.
4. Improves Digestion
Another benefit of lotus root is its fiber. Ten slices have 2.8 grams, which can add to your recommended daily intake of 20 to 30 grams.6
You shouldn’t eat too much fiber too fast. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of constipation. But since lotus root has a moderate level of fiber, it’s a great food to start with.
Getting enough fiber is good for your digestion. It’ll relieve constipation while keeping your bowel movements regular. The risk for diverticular disease and colon cancer will also decrease.7
5. Suppresses Liver Disease
Lotus root is teeming with antioxidants called polyphenols. This can do amazing things for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common liver disease in developed countries.
The polyphenols work by increasing levels of a protein called adiponectin. It’s in charge of regulating blood glucose and fatty acid breakdown which slows down NAFLD. The result? Better protection against NAFLD along with alleviated symptoms. Even the liver’s inflammatory genes were suppressed because of lotus root.8
You can find lotus root at specialty Chinese and Asian grocery stores. It’s also available in cans and jars. For a simple meal idea, toss lotus roots into your favorite veggie stir fry.
|↑1, ↑3||Huang, Bo, Jingsheng He, Xiaoquan Ban, Hong Zeng, Xincheng Yao, and Youwei Wang. “Antioxidant activity of bovine and porcine meat treated with extracts from edible lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) rhizome knot and leaf.” Meat science 87, no. 1 (2011): 46-53.|
|↑2||Yang, Dong-Mei, Qiu-Shuang Wang, Le-Qin Ke, Jian-Mei Jiang, and Tie-Jin Ying. “Antioxidant activities of various extracts of lotus (Nelumbo nuficera Gaertn) rhizome.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 16, no. S1 (2007): 158-163.|
|↑4||Jiang, Yun, Tzi Bun Ng, Zhaokun Liu, Changrong Wang, Ning Li, Wentao Qiao, and Fang Liua. “Immunoregulatory and anti-HIV-1 enzyme activities of antioxidant components from lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) rhizome.” Bioscience reports 31, no. 5 (2011): 381-390.|
|↑5||Bello, Fatima Hauwa, Bilkisu B. Maiha, and Joseph A. Anuka. “The effect of methanol rhizome extract of Nymphaea lotus Linn.(Nymphaeaceae) in animal models of diarrhoea.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 190 (2016): 13-21.|
|↑6||Lotus root, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑8||Tsuruta, Yumi, Koji NAGAO, Bungo Shirouchi, Saori Nomura, Keisuke Tsuge, Kazuyoshi KOGANEMARU, and Teruyoshi Yanagita. “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.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 76, no. 3 (2012): 462-466.|