Date Posted: 06-15-2013
This root crop which has a starchy texture is rich in iron and can help you prevent iron-deficiency anemia (IDA). Image by Bren Estrito

MANILA, Philippines-- This root crop which has a starchy texture when cooked is rich in iron and can help you prevent iron-deficiency anemia (IDA).

According to the Nutrition and Consumer Protection, IDA is the most alarming among all micronutrient deficiencies.

In the Philippines, about 50% of the population suffers from IDA.

Also, in a survey conducted by the Food Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) through the National Nutrition Survey (NNS),it is shown that that 40% of pregnant Filipino women suffer from IDA.


Taro or gabi is cultivated from a tuberous plant which differs in color and size.

It can reach to about 30 centimeters in length, with brown skin and white flesh.

Gabi is a very good source of iron.

In a report from the Philippine Information Agency, FNRI-DOST says that the best method of combating IDA is to promote high intakes of iron-rich food like taro or gabi.

The  Department of Health (DOH) also advocates consumption of food with the Sangkap Pinoy Seal, including iron-fortified food like taro.

Taro can be consumed in different varities like sweets, desserts, add-ons to flavored drinks, or in dishes like laing and sinigang.

Other health benefits

Apart from being a good source of iron, taro is found out to have a low glycemic index (GI).

GI is a classification of food based on the blood glucose responses of food relative to a standard glucose solution.

According to FNRI-DOST, starchy root crops like gabi or taro contains low GI that would be good for diabetics.

Therefore, taro can control the release of glucose into the bloodstream at a steady and sustained rate, keeping the body’s metabolic processes and energy levels balanced.

Taro is also a good source of other nutrients such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins A and C.

These other nutrients from taro can also prevent IDA as they help increase iron absorption and metabolism.