Is Taro Safe During Pregnancy? Tea, Root, Leaves, and More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Whether in boba tea, used interchangeably with potatoes, or added to sweet desserts, taro is a popular starchy root vegetable many enjoy. So naturally, you may wonder how to safely consume taro while pregnant – or if it’s safe at all.

Overall, taro root, powder, and boba are safe to consume during pregnancy. However, due to a need for more information about taro leaves (especially taro leaf tea), it is best to ask your physician before consuming taro leaves. 

Let’s dive into more information about how to enjoy taro while you are pregnant, including in boba tea. 

Is Taro Root Safe During Pregnancy? 

Like potatoes, taro root is safe and has many health benefits during pregnancy. However, a significant difference is the preparation of taro root since raw taro can cause skin irritation when touched.

In addition, the brown skin and white flesh of an uncooked taro root contain high amounts of a compound called oxalate. Therefore, gloves are essential when handling, cutting, and peeling raw taro roots.

Otherwise, you can safely use taro root interchangeably with a potato while pregnant. It is a great starchy vegetable that can provide energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as manganese, vitamin B6, and potassium (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA])

Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system, regulating bowel movements, lowering blood cholesterol, managing blood sugar levels, and more (source: Mayo Clinic).

pile of fresh taro roots in the market

Additionally, research shows that antioxidant functioning increases with a diet high in fiber (source: International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproduction Sciences).

Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from harmful free radicals in the body that can contribute to oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress can contribute to hypertension and preeclampsia during pregnancy, antioxidants are essential in the diet.

In addition to in food form, many also wonder if powdered taro is safe during pregnancy. While taro powder is just ground taro root, often taro powder is a drink mix product with sugar, non-dairy creamer, and other dry ingredients mixed in. The result is a lilac purple beverage that is sweet and nutty in flavor. 

However, in taro powder, the fiber content is significantly reduced. The powder can still contain some essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. However, taro powder drink mixes are often very high in calories and sugar. 

Excess amounts of sugar and calories, especially when not exceptionally high in nutrients, can be detrimental to your health when pregnant, increasing your potential risk for obesity and contributing to other severe health conditions. 

Therefore, opt for the food version of taro when possible and have the taro powder drink mix less often.

Can I Have Taro Balls in Bubble Tea [Boba Tea] When Pregnant? 

Taro balls in bubble tea drinks are also safe for your health during pregnancy.

Many are familiar with the popular tapioca pearls or balls that we all love in our boba tea! However, taro balls are a beloved variation of these chewy beverage additions. They are starchy and slightly sweet, making them perfect for the well-known beverage, and are often topped with sweetened condensed milk.

However, these beverages are often high in sugar content, fat, and calories. Therefore, they should be consumed in moderation. Check out our boba in pregnancy article for more information on drinking taro bubble tea during pregnancy! 

Laing, a Philippine dish of shredded or whole taro leaves with meat or seafood cooked in thick coconut milk.

Are Taro Leaves Safe When Pregnant? 

Since there is not much information available about the safety of taro leaves, especially the tea brewed from taro leaves, it is best to ask your physician before consuming it during pregnancy. 

If you consume taro leaves, ensure they are fully cooked, and do not touch them with your bare hands. Similar to taro root, they have high levels of oxalate when raw, which can be toxic and also cause skin irritation.

Cooked taro leaves are high in protein, fiber, calcium, and many other beneficial nutrients (source: USDA).

I hope this article was a helpful guide for eating taro root, leaves, and powder during your pregnancy.