Home Nutrition Black Mashua: Dietary Composition and Potential Advantages

Black Mashua: Dietary Composition and Potential Advantages

Black Mashua: Dietary Composition and Potential Advantages

Black mashua is a tuber valued for its medicinal properties. We’ll inform you all about its advantages and uses here.

The black mashua, whose scientific name is Tropaeolum tuberosum, is a tuber native to the highlands of the Andean region, which incorporates countries corresponding to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. It belongs to the Tropaeolaceae family and stands out for its particular conical and sharp shape, whose size varies from 7 to 33 centimeters long.

It’s estimated that there are about 100 sorts of mashua, also known by names corresponding to mashwa, bitter potato, cubio or majua. Its fundamental difference is the colour, as there are yellow, orange, brown, and a purple, almost black variety, which is the one we are going to discuss below.

Predominant characteristics of the black mashua

The black mashua is one in every of the rarest varieties of this tuber species. It often grows within the Andean mountains, at 3000 to 4000 meters above sea level.

Its cultivation doesn’t require much care, and it reproduces easily and quickly. Hence the indisputable fact that it’s utilized in various culinary preparations.

The form resembles that of the common potato or the Andean chuño; nevertheless, its skin is soft, firm, and waxy. The flesh maintains the purple tones so characteristic of this food.

When raw, its flavor is described as spicy and bitter. Nonetheless, it acquires a rather sweet taste when cooked.

Curious facts

  • The plant as such emits a robust odor. In truth, it seems to operate as a natural insect repellent. In Peru and other Andean countries, it’s often planted in gardens to ward off pests.
  • It’s also the fourth most significant tuber within the Andean region, after the potato, oca, and olluco.

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Dietary composition of black mashua

One in every of the the reason why mashua has gained recognition in its countries of origin is due to its dietary value. Information disclosed through Galoá Proceedings details that the tuber accommodates protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and high levels of Vitamin C. As well as, it makes a small contribution of minerals corresponding to iron, zinc, and manganese.

The amounts of those nutrients are inclined to vary in accordance with the shape and area of cultivation. To be slightly more precise, a chapter of the book Bioactive potential of andean fruits, seeds, and tubers details that mashua tubers contain the next:

  • Carbohydrates: between 69.7% and 85.8%
  • Proteins: between 6.9% and 15.7%
  • Fiber: between 4.8% and eight.6%
  • Fat: between 0.1 % and 1.0 %
  • Starch: 41.35%

This same document states that the insoluble fiber values reach 10.55%, which exceeds the contribution of other tubers, corresponding to oca and olluco, which contribute 6.85% and seven.22% respectively. As well as, its total sugar content is 27.7%.

Meanwhile, the book Lost crops of the Incas: little-known plants of the Andes with promise for worldwide cultivation (cited by Wikipedia) states that every 100 grams of dried specimens of those tubers provide the next:

  • Calories: 371
  • Total carbohydrates: 78.6 grams
  • Protein: 11.4 grams
  • Fiber: 5.7 grams
  • Ashes: 5.7 grams
  • Fat: 4.3 grams
  • Calcium: 50 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 300 milligrams
  • Iron: 8.6 milligrams
  • Beta-carotene: 214 micrograms
  • Thiamine: 0.43 milligrams
  • Riboflavin: 0.57 milligrams
  • Niacin: 4.3 milligrams
  • Ascorbic acid (vitamin C): 476 milligrams

The magazine Engineering Research highlights that black mashua is one in every of the tubers with the very best vitamin C content. It also needs to be noted that the Tropaeolum tuberosum species is an abundant source of antioxidant substances.

A study shared through the International Journal of Food Science lists this food as “a precious natural source of phenols and anthocyanins with high antioxidant activity”. The Peru website adds that mashua provides between 9000 and 10 000 units of antioxidants, which explains its ability to contribute to cell renewal and health care.

Possible advantages of black mashua

As a result of its interesting dietary value, the consumption of black mashua is related to some health advantages. Nonetheless, it needs to be noted that the evidence supporting its effects continues to be limited. What is thought thus far?

This tuber has no single variety and its cultivation is widespread within the higher-altitude Andean zone.

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Antitumor potential

Black mashua supplements were long touted as ‘anti-cancer’ products. As a result of the outcomes of some research, the thought was spread that it might be a natural product for fighting cancer.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to make clear that it’s not an approved treatment against this disease.

Although the findings are promising, larger and more conclusive studies are lacking to corroborate its effects on human health. With that clear, let’s see what the research says.

An in vitro study by researchers on the Southern Scientific University found that an extract of black mashua exhibited cytotoxic and anti inflammatory activity, suggesting its potential to support the treatment of cancer and diseases of inflammatory origin. Compounds corresponding to flavonoids and polyphenols could be behind these effects.

In other research, reported within the journal Phytochemistrytwo alkaloids isolated from the black tubers of Tropaeolum tuberosum were found to have the potential to kill cancer cells in lung, bladder, kidney and prostate cancer. Cytotoxic activity was also observed.

Meanwhile, an in vitro study shared by Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy concluded that ethanolic extracts of black mashua, moringa, and custard apple have inhibitory properties on colorectal cancer cell lines. And while further studies are needed, they’re believed to be future candidates for improved therapy against this way of cancer.

Natural diuretic

As a folk treatment, black mashua is used to advertise the relief of fluid retention. Anecdotal data suggest that extracts of the plant increase diuresis (urine secretion), which in turn promotes de-inflammation.

Nonetheless, there are usually not enough pharmacological studies to verify these properties. In a study on the Universidad Peruana Unión, researchers observed a possible diuretic effect when using an aqueous extract of Tropaeolum tuberosum in mice. These effects are believed to be resulting from its content of tannins, anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

Cardiovascular health

Black mashua is one in every of the varieties of Tropaeolum tuberosum with the very best concentration of antioxidants. Scientific evidence has been capable of corroborate its abundant content of phenolic compounds, tannins, anthocyanins, phytosterols, and fatty acids, that are key to the prevention of chronic diseases.

By way of cardiovascular health, these substances help inhibit the negative effects of free radicals, involved within the onset of heart and cerebrovascular diseases.

As well as, as detailed in a research study shared within the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, it accommodates energetic compounds called alkamides, which give it anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it also minimizes the chance of cardiovascular conditions related to inflammation.

Pain relief

In folk medicine, black mashua supplements are considered anti-inflammatory and analgesic. For this reason, they’re used as a complement to advertise relief from various ailments. A review shared within the Journal of Ethnopharmacology cites its use against kidney and bladder pain.

As well as, due to its high concentration of anthocyanins, it’s believed to advertise relief from cyclic breast pain, sports injuries, and pain related to chronic inflammation.

Skin health

Consumption of black mashua is linked to several skin advantages. First, its abundant antioxidant content helps inhibit the negative effects of oxidative stress, a process related to premature aging.

These substances, along with their vitamin C content, even have positive effects on collagen production, which aids within the skin regeneration process. On this regard, studies in mice found that topical formulations of T. tuberosum have wound-healing activity.

Antihistamine potential

This tuber is utilized in traditional medicine as a treatment to assuage allergy symptoms. Although there are not any concrete studies on these properties, it’s believed to be resulting from its high flavonoid content.

As stated in a study reported in Allergology International, adequate intake of flavonoids serves as a preventive strategy against allergic diseases. It has been observed that these substances help inhibit the discharge of histamine.

Antidiabetic effect

Anthocyanins, like other polyphenols present in black mashua, help inhibit enzymes involved within the digestion of carbohydrates. Thus, they’re useful in regulating postprandial glycemic response (blood sugar levels after ingesting meals).

A 2019 study found that steamed black mashua tuber provides significant amounts of polyphenols, which confer anti-diabetic properties. Specifically, it helps modulate the absorption of sugars and oxidative stress.

Other uses of black mashua

The dietary value and properties of black mashua have been valued by several ethnic groups that inhabit the Andes mountain range. In these cultures, the tuber has been given other applications, beyond those just mentioned.

Nonetheless, the evidence on its efficacy is insufficient.

For now, these uses are only supported by anecdotal data. They’re detailed below:

  • Kidney and liver health: it’s believed to assist eliminate kidney stones and protect the liver against inflammation and fat accumulation. That is explained by the results of its antioxidants. Nonetheless, there are not any studies to corroborate this.
  • Treatment for anemia: in its countries of origin, black mashua is taken into account a complement to advertise the resolution of anemia, because it provides iron.
  • Lice treatment: Black mashua root powder is applied to the scalp to assist eliminate lice. A decoction of the tuber may also be used.
  • Venereal and pulmonary infections: extracts of Tropaeolum tuberosum have antibacterial qualities that support the treatment of venereal and pulmonary infections.

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Negative effects and contraindications of black mashua

Consumption of black mashua is taken into account secure for many healthy adults. Nonetheless, it’s believed that its long-term intake could cause fertility problems in men .

A study in mice suggests that mashua decreases their reproductive function by reducing the number and quality of sperm. Nonetheless, research is required to see if the identical is true in humans.

Then again, its use is contraindicated in children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, in addition to in patients with hypothyroidism and goiter. Neither is its simultaneous consumption with drugs for diabetes, arterial hypertension, anticoagulants, and antidepressants advised. In case of being under these treatments, it’s vital to seek the advice of the doctor.

It needs to be noted that excessive amounts of this tuber are linked to dehydration and damage to the nervous system. For that reason, it’s suggested to devour it only 3 to 4 times a month.

Mode of consumption and presentations

Mashua is taken into account a flexible food, because it may be prepared in several ways. In accordance with a publication of Peru Info, it may be eaten cooked, fried, in purees, in soups, in stews, and whilst a dessert.

It will possibly even be added to beverages. For this last purpose, it’s often distributed in powdered form. It’s also available in capsules.

What to recollect about black mashua?

Black mashua is a tuber native to the Andean region of South America. Like potatoes and other tubers, it has several gastronomic applications.

Nonetheless, it also has an extended history as a natural treatment for soothing pain, protecting cardiovascular health, and stopping diseases related to inflammation. As a result of its significant concentration of antioxidants, research has associated the usage of its extracts with several health advantages.

Despite this, there’s a necessity for more extensive studies in humans. Subsequently, moderate consumption is recommended merely as a dietary complement.

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