There are so many crops grown and eaten in Africa and yet little or nothing is known about them in other parts of the world. Colocasia esculenta, popularly known as Cocoyam, is one of such crops. This post is written to create awareness of this important crop and its nutritional benefits to all. Cococay is not just for the rural dwellers alone but for all mankind.
Colocasia esculenta, popularly known as Cocoyam, is a perennial, tropical crop, which belongs to the family of Araceae with species such as Xanthosoma, taro, elephant’s ear, and others. It’s a starch containing tuber crop with three parts (corm, stem, and leaves), which is grown basically for its edible root. All the parts can be eaten, and it is grown as an ornamental plant being for the beautification of the environment and as well as for medical purposes.
Cocoyam originated from India or Southeast Asia as some researchers have discovered.
In most developing countries of Africa, cocoyam is a known staple crop. It can also be found in some developed countries of the world like Japan, the US, Singapore, and India.
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As a delicacy, cocoyam can be boiled, cooked as porridge, roasted or made into chips by frying. It can also be pounded and used as a thickener for dome local soups.
The leaves from cocoyam are very rich in protein and can be used as vegetables.
Apart from enjoying its variety of delicacies, cocoyam, nutritionally, is a boundless source of dietary fiber. It is a very good source of carbohydrate (energy food) and protein (bodybuilding food).
Cocoyam is a special delicacy not just for rural areas only because it also contains properties like manganese, thiamine, copper, calcium, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and A. It equally contains phosphorus, iron, potassium, riboflavin, and zinc.
Cocoyam also plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy immune system. For instance, dietary fiber helps a healthier digestive process.
It guarantees the protection of the skin, prevents lungs and oral cancer, heart disease, and lowers blood sugar levels.
Cocoyam, also boosts visions, increases blood circulation, decreases blood pressure, helps relieve stress and supports the muscles and nerves.
However, cocoyam is very high in calories and can cause obesity when it is consumed excessively.
Research proved that it is very toxic in raw form as a result of its high content of oxalates. So before it can be consumed it must be properly cooked.