Lotus Root Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

soup with lotus root

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You may recognize the lovely lotus flower, but you may not be as familiar with the idea of using lotus roots for cooking. This aquatic plant is almost completely edible, from flowers to seeds to roots. Lotus root is common in Asian cuisine and provides a mild crunch to stir fry dishes and soups. When sliced, lotus root creates a snowflake-like presentation, making it perfect for an artful garnish. Here are some of the ways you may benefit from experimenting with lotus root in the kitchen.

Lotus Root Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1/2 cup (60g) of boiled lotus root.

  • Calories: 40
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 27mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 0.3g
  • Protein: 1g

Carbs

Lotus root is low in calories overall but the majority of calories come from carbohydrates. There are 10 grams of carbs in a 1/2 cup cooked, with 2 grams of fiber and minimal sugar.

The glycemic index of lotus root is 33, and the glycemic load is 3.

Fats

Lotus root is naturally fat-free.

Protein

A 1/2 cup of boiled lotus root has 1 gram of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Lotus root has several minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and choline. It's also high in vitamin C and folate.

Health Benefits

The macronutrients and micronutrients in lotus root can do a lot to benefit your health. Here are some ways that adding lotus root to your diet can help.

Supports Heart Health

Many of the nutrients in lotus roots are especially beneficial for heart health. Lotus root is high in fiber, which keeps cholesterol levels down. There are 218 milligrams of potassium in 1/2 cup of boiled lotus root, which is 5–10% of the daily requirement for most adults.

Getting enough potassium, through foods like lotus root, helps with high blood pressure. Additionally, the folate and vitamin C in lotus roots are essential for heart disease prevention.

Promotes Regularity

In addition to cholesterol-lowering benefits, the fiber in lotus roots is good for digestion. Fiber softens the stool and increases its bulk, making it easier to pass food through the digestive tract. Getting at least 20–30 grams of fiber per day is crucial to prevent constipation. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked lotus root provides almost 2 grams of fiber to contribute towards your daily total.

Assists Weight Loss

Like most non-starchy vegetables, lotus root is a low energy-dense food. Energy density is measured by the amount of calories per gram. With about 40 calories per 60 grams of cooked lotus root, the energy density is 0.67.

Consuming foods with low energy density allows you to eat a larger volume of food for fewer calories, making weight loss efforts more sustainable. In addition, the high vitamin and mineral content of lotus root means you aren't skimping on vital nutrients despite reducing your calorie intake.

Reduces Risk of Birth Defects

Lotus root provides some important nutrients for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, namely folate (vitamin B9). Women of childbearing age are advised to be especially mindful of getting sufficient folate to prevent dangerous birth defects, including neural tube defects, which can occur early in pregnancy. Lotus root also provides choline, iron, and calcium, which support a healthy pregnancy as well.

May Treat Hay Fever

There is some evidence that lotus root powder may help alleviate nasal allergy symptoms. Preliminary studies in mice are promising although more human research is needed to confirm this benefit. A study in sensitized mice showed immediate antiinflammatory effects in reducing redness and hair loss in response to allergens.

Allergies

Allergies to almost any food are possible, and lotus root is no exception. Although lotus root is not considered a common allergen, food allergies can pop up unexpectedly at various points in life. Symptoms of a lotus root allergy may include hives, wheezing, tongue swelling, or dizziness.

To determine if lotus root is the cause of your symptoms, an allergist will evaluate what you ate and when your symptoms developed. A skin prick test or blood test may also be used for diagnosis. See a doctor if you suspect an allergy to lotus root.

When It's Best

Lotus root is available year-round at Asian grocery stores. Fresh lotus roots should be firm with smooth skin that's free of blemishes.

Storage and Food Safety

Keep lotus roots in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Before cutting into lotus roots, wash your hands, and rinse the outer skin under running water. Remove the outer skin and chop it into cubes or thin slices.

To prevent browning, you can also rinse lotus root slices in vinegar or lemon juice before cooking them. Once cooked, keep lotus roots in the refrigerator and consume within a few days.

How to Prepare

Lotus root is used in a variety of Asian dishes, especially Japanese cuisine. Two common methods of cooking include stir-frying and steaming. It's also a popular addition to soups. You can also candy or deep fry lotus root, but these less healthy preparation methods can take away from some of its beneficial properties.

Recipes

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Article Sources
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