Know in one minute about lotus root
Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn; Family Nelumbonaceae) is a well-known aquatic vegetable with rhizomes (often called roots) that grow in the mud. Almost every part of this plant can be used, with rhizomes and seeds being the main parts that are the most consumed. Lotus root recipes are widely favoured by Asian people because of their hard and crispy texture and distinctive aroma and taste (1). The fresh root of lotus can be consumed after roasting and powdered root can be used to treat different diseases. The other recipes with lotus root are used in curry or fried as chips by the white dried slice. Moreover, it is also used as a pickle, and as a salad.
Lotus has been used as herbal medicines for the treatment of many diseases including cancer, depression, diarrhoea, heart problems, hypertension, and insomnia. Lotus root is 60-140 cm long 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter, yellowish-white to yellowish-brown in colour. The smooth outer skin of the lotus root with brown patches, nodes, and internodes are present. When freshly cut it exudes mucilaginous juice and shows a few large cavities surrounded by several larger ones. Fracture is tough and fibrous, and the odour is indistinct. Lotus root contains several pharmaceutical properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-hypercholesterolemia activities. Some of the health benefits and lotus root recipes are as follows
It grows widely throughout Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and North America, is an aquatic perennial that has been cultivated for over 2,000 years
Lotus is also known as sacred lotus, Indian lotus, Chinese water lily, bean of India, or simply lotus. In Chinese, lotus root is also called lian ou while in Japanese, it is also known as renkon.
Nutritional value of lotus root
It contains good amounts of protein, amino acids, dietary fibre, starch, and vitamins C, B1, and B2. It also contains phenolic acid reported to be the highest in the roots among other parts of lotus. This phenolic acid is present in large amounts, even compared to that of green tea, and white and red grape seed extracts (2).
|Compound||Amounts per 100 g.|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.1 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||4.9 g|
|Iron, Fe||1.16 mg|
|Vitamin C||44 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.37 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.26 mg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.03 g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.02 g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.02 g|
Health benefits of lotus root
1. Treat hepatic steatosis
Lotus roots contain polyphenol known as proanthocyanidins which inhibit inflammation and accumulation of fat in the liver thus treating liver damage (3).
2. Treat diarrhoea
Lotus root contains abundant dietary fibre that improves digestive health and regulates bowel movements thus treat diarrhoea as well as constipation.
3. Treat obesity
Lotus root contains alkaloids and flavonoids that help to inhibit fat accumulation and reduce weight fat absorption. Also, it is effective to decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Moreover, decreased serum leptin and insulin levels thus show anti-oxidant and anti-obesity effects (4).
4. Boost immunity
Lotus root consumption is beneficial to increase white blood cells, leukocytes, or leucocytes. These cells are responsible for protecting the body against both infectious disease and harmful agents (5).
5. Treat diabetes
Oral intake of lotus root helps to reduce blood sugar level and improves glucose tolerance thus reducing the risk of diabetes (6).
6. Treat cognitive dysfunction
Lotus root ingestion helps to improve memory and learning functions as well as produce new neurons. Thus this root is effective to enhance memory and treat cognitive dysfunction (7).
7. Treat mental disorder
Lotus root acts as a psychoactive drug that alters brain function and induces sleep. It shows a calming or sedative effect in mood, thinking, and behaviour (8). Also, contain a good amount of polyphenolic compounds that improve neural function thus boosting brain health (9).
8. Antioxidant properties
Research study proved that lotus root is as effective as a cucumber in terms of antioxidant activity (10). Lotus root contains a high amount of phenolic compounds (catechin and epicatechin ) which scavenge harmful radicals from the body and protect from various diseases (11 ),(12).
9. Diuretic properties
Intake of lotus root helps to increase the output of excess fluid, mainly water and sodium by urine. Thus reduce the risk of high blood pressure, kidney dysfunction, and diabetes (13).
10. Rich in nutrients
Lotus root is an excellent source of polyphenolic compounds (kaempferol, quercetin, and isoquercetin) and oligomeric procyanidines. Besides, it contains abundant dietary fibre consisting of non-carbohydrate components that prevent nutritional loss in the body (14).
11. Relax muscles
Smooth muscles found in the digestive tract, respiratory tract, vascular, urinary, and reproductive organ. Dysfunction of smooth muscle contraction will induce many diseases including hypertension, asthma, and gastrointestinal disorder, etc. However, alkaloids (isoquinoline) found in lotus have strong relaxation activity on smooth muscle (15).
12. Anti-inflammatory properties
Lotus root is effective to decrease inflammation and treat pain (16).
Lotus root side effects
1. Allergy and hypersensitivity
Lotus root is safe to use as dietary supplements or in functional food. However, one study reported allergy hypersensitivity reactions after consumption of lotus root. If the person is suffering, any type of food allergy, mild atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis should avoid lotus root consumption. Because it may cause skin rash with red, raised, itchy bumps (17).
2. Fresh and unprocessed lotus roots are more healthy
Browning is a major problem in lotus root and a decline in quality after processing. However to overcome this problem freshly harvested raw lotus root is often processed into lotus root beverage (18).
Lotus root recipes
Lotus roots are very tasty and are easy to prepare. Some of the Lotus root recipes are lotus root soup, chips, pickles, and salads. the methods and ingredients are as follows.
1. Lotus root soup
- ½ cup peanuts (soak overnight)
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 10 red dates (Soak for20 min.)
- 400g lotus root
- 10 cups water (2.4 litres)
- Few pieces of ginger
- Salt to taste
- Wash the lotus root with water thoroughly (to remove mud).
- Peel the lotus root and cut to 1 cm slices.
- Put all ingredients into the pressure cooker for 25- 30 min.
- Reduce heat to low and allow soup to simmer
- Add salt simmer for 2 minutes and serve warm.
2. Lotus root chips
- Lotus root
- Water- as required
- Neutral-flavoured oil (vegetable, peanut oil, etc) (for deep frying)
- 2 teaspoon Cornflour
- Salt, to taste
- Black salt – ½ tsp
- Turmeric – ½ tsp
- Chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Chaat Masala – 1tsp
- Wash the lotus root, peel it and cut it into medium-thick slices.
- Rinse with water in a bowl for 5-10 min. Then, it dries with a kitchen towel and allows it to rest for a few minutes.
- Add all the slices of lotus root stem in a bowl of cornflour, salt, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder and coat them well. If you want to bake add oils also in the bowl and toss together until well combined
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan and slide 10-12 slices at a time carefully. For baking, preheat oven to 400F, bake chips for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp
- Fry them on high flame till they are crisp and golden-brown.
- Remove from the oven or pan, let them cool to crisp up.
- Sprinkle chaat masala, toss together and Serve.
3. Lotus root pickle
- Lotus root (500g)
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (for lotus root)
- 1 dried red chilli pepper
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- ¾ tsp kosher/sea salt
- Fennel seeds – 1 tablespoon.
- Turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon.
- Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon.
- Mustard oil – 200 gm. (1 cup)
- Lemon Juice – squeezed from 2 lemons.
- Nigella seed (Kalonji)- 2 teaspoon.
- Ajwain – 1 teaspoon.
- Green chillies (chopped) – 1 teaspoon.
- Boil water in a pot, add chopped lotus root and sugar, bring it to boil for 3-4 minutes, and then drain and cool.
- Put the pieces on a cloth and let them dry for 2-3 hours.
- Dry roast fennel seeds, nigella seeds, coriander seed, and ajwain for about 1-2 minutes then slightly crush to a coarse powder.
- Heat around 1 cup of mustard oil in a pan, add kalonji, boiled lotus root, chopped green chilies, and sauté it.
- Now add turmeric powder, red chili powder, give it a mix, and also add the prepared powder, salt (to taste).
- Now put the lotus root slices into the masala and toss well, so that the masala gets completely mixed with the slices.
- Let the pickle cool down, add lemon juice to it.
- Pour all the mixture in a glass jar and keep in the sun for 5-6 days, your pickle is then ready.
- To store it for a longer time dip the pickle completely into the oil.
4. Lotus root salad
Lotus root salad can be made by mixing boiled lotus root with carrot (chopped), onion (chopped), and soy sauce. Add also red chillies, lime juice, salt, and vinegar to a bowl. Pour the little oil over the slices. Mix well and enjoy it.
What does lotus root taste like?
Lotus root has a mild sweet in flavour, texture varies from crunchy to starchy. The thicker, darker colour and rougher surface roots are starchier. This type of roots is best for making soup. Whereas, the thinner, lighter coloured and smoother roots are crunchier is excellent for lotus root stir fry. It has a crunchy texture comparable to celery. When cooked for a long time, such as in a soup or stew, it becomes softer but still retains a tender bite like just-cooked potatoes. Some of the simple lotus root recipes are mentioned above.