Kudzu Root: Benefits, Uses, Nutrition & More
From calendula flowers to marshmallow roots, functional foods are everywhere. With so many functional foods available, it's nearly impossible to know them all. Even superfood connoisseurs don’t know all the lesser-known wellness foods, including kudzu root!
That being said, if you’re a kudzu root novice, no need to fret, you’re in good company! We think it’s a must-know ingredient that may help support certain essential functions in your body. And after reading this article, you might agree. Read on and you'll find that you're well on your way to being a kudzu root expert yourself...
What Is Kudzu Root?
Kudzu root, also known as Japanese Arrowroot, refers to the root of the kudzu plant (Pueraria lobata), a fast-growing, invasive vine native to East Asia. The plant was introduced to North America in the 1800s, but not for its nutritional benefits that we're about to discuss. Instead, it was useful thanks to its ease of spreading which helps prevent soil erosion. However, this invasive species grew a bit too well, overtaking farms and eventually earning itself the name "the vine that ate the South.”
But this fast-growing vine isn't just a problem-solver for soil erosion, but also for your health. Used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, many believe that kudzu root has a plethora of benefits, from easing headaches and hangovers to tackling various health conditions such as fever, acute diarrhea, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Its secret? Compounds like isoflavones that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Today, this root is still included in many recipes to help support our overall health.
Kudzu Root Benefits
As we've mentioned, kudzu root has a long history as a natural remedy for certain ailments. Some of the compounds found in kudzu root, such as isoflavones, have been studied for potential health benefits, including:
- Helping reduce alcohol dependence
- Treating liver damage
- Reducing diabetes-related complications
- Combating inflammation
- Offering a calming effect in the body
- The isoflavones (compounds also found in soy products that act like estrogen) may also help alleviate some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes
It's important to note that while kudzu root has traditional uses and some potential health benefits, it should be used cautiously. It's always important to talk with your doctor before incorporating any new supplement into your diet.
Kudzu Root Nutrition
Kudzu root, like many other plant roots, contains various compounds and helpful nutrients that contribute to its nutritional profile. From energy-boosting starch to powerful antioxidants, kudzu root has it all. But remember, the nutritional content can vary, so let's dive into the key components:
- Starch: First off, let's talk about starch. Kudzu root is packing a serious amount of it, making it a top-notch source of energy. It's like nature's own fuel for your body!
- Isoflavones: These little wonders are plant compounds that can mimic the activity of estrogen in your body. But don't worry, they're not just any old imposters. They've been studied for their awesome antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Protein: Although kudzu root may not provide all the essential amino acids, it's still a solid source of these muscle-building nutrients. It's the plant-based protein boost you've been looking for.
- Minerals: Kudzu root is loaded with minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Think of it as a mineral treasure chest just waiting to be unlocked.
- Fiber: Last but not least, we can't forget about dietary fiber. It's the unsung hero of plant-based foods, and kudzu root is no exception. While the specific fiber content may vary, it's a valuable addition to your daily fiber intake.
So next time you spot some kudzu root, remember that it's not just a pretty face. It's a nutritional powerhouse that's ready to fuel your body and boost your health.
Why Is Kudzu Root in OLIPOP?
Kudzu root boasts some unique properties and could help with a slew of health conditions mentioned above. But when it comes to supporting gut health, kudzu is no slouch. Sure, the isoflavones and other nutritional properties are super-impressive! But what we love most at OLIPOP is the fact that kudzu root contains prebiotic (indigestible) fiber.
Prebiotics are fibers that essentially “feed” the live and beneficial bacteria in your gut, helping support so many aspects of your health. This makes kudzu root an important ingredient for our prebiotic soda so we can help support your healthy gut microbiome, one sip at a time.
Kudzu Root: The Takeaway
Kudzu root is an ingredient used for centuries as a natural remedy for many ailments, including alcoholism and diabetes. It naturally contains indigestible fibers that prebiotic bacteria use as fuel. This means that including it in your diet can help support your gut health. Finding ways to include kudzu root in your diet via supplements, teas, or by sipping on a can of OLIPOP, can help support your health in an incredibly profound way.
- Wong, K. H., Li, G. Q., Li, K. M., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., & Chan, K. (2011). Kudzu root: Traditional uses and potential medicinal benefits in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases - PubMed. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 134(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2011.02.001
- Lukas, S. E., Penetar, D., Su, Z., Geaghan, T., Maywalt, M., Tracy, M., Rodolico, J., Palmer, C., Ma, Z., & Lee, D. Y.-W. (2013). A standardized kudzu extract (NPI-031) reduces alcohol consumption in nontreatment-seeking male heavy drinkers. Psychopharmacology, 226(1), 65–73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-012-2884-9
- Chang, B. Y., Lee, D.-S., Lee, J.-K., Kim, Y.-C., Cho, H.-K., & Kim, S. Y. (2016). Protective activity of kudzu (Pueraria thunbergiana) vine on chemically-induced hepatotoxicity: In vitro and in vivo studies. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16, 39. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-016-1023-2
- Gao, Y., Wang, X., & He, C. (2016). An isoflavonoid-enriched extract from Pueraria lobata (kudzu) root protects human umbilical vein endothelial cells against oxidative stress induced apoptosis - PubMed. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2016.10.005
- Kudzu root refers to the root of the kudzu plant (Pueraria lobata), a fast-growing, invasive vine native to East Asia.
- Used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, many believe that kudzu root has a plethora of benefits.
- Kudzu root is a prebiotic (indigestible) fiber and, therefore, helps support a healthy gut microbiome.
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