Yams are a tuber vegetable similar to sweet potato. It originated from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. They are often mistaken with sweet potatoes, but they are starchier and less sweet. The yams have different brown, bark-like outer skin. The inner pulp is white, purple, yellow, and pink, depending on the yam maturity time.
Yams are well known for health benefits. Wild yam extracts are more suitable for use in skincare products because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
One cup (136 grams) of yams provides 158 calories. It also consists of 5grm of fiber, 19gm of calcium, and 17mg of vitamin C.
The present research shows that consumption yams may help to prevent obesity and promote immunity.
Nutritional Values of Yams?
Yams are filled with several nutrients like minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
VITAMINS: Amounts Per Selected Serving & %DV
- A Vitamin-207IU 4%
- C Vitamin -25.6mg 43%
- Vitamin D- nil
- E Vitamin (Alpha Tocopherol)-0.5mg 3%
- Riboflavin-0.0mg 3%
- Vitamin K-3.4mcg 4%
- Thiamin-0.2mg 11%
- Vitamin B12-0.0mcg 0%
- Niacin-0.8mg 4%
- Vitamin B6-0.4mg 22%
- Folate-34.5mcg 9%
- Pantothenic Acid-0.5mg 5%
- Betaine –
- Iron 0.8mg-4%
- Magnesium-31.5mg 8%
- Sodium-13.5mg 1%
- Phosphorus-82.5mg 8%
- Potassium-1224mg 35%
- Zinc 0.4mg-2%
- Selenium 1.1mcg-2%
- Copper-0.3mg 13%
- Manganese-0.6mg 30%
- Fluoride –
- Total Carbohydrate-41.8g 14%
- Dietary Fiber-6.1g 25%
- Starch –
PROTEIN & AMINO ACIDS
- Protein 2.3g 5%
- CALORIE INFORMATION
- Calories-177(741 kJ) 9%
- From Carbohydrate-169(708 kJ)
- Fat 2.1(8.8 kJ)
- Protein-6.4(26.8 kJ)
- Alcohol-0.0(0.0 kJ)
Health Benefits of Yams
Yams Promote Digestive Health
Yams consist of resistant starches, which work similarly to soluble fibers. A resistant starch importantly passes from the stomach and small intestine without digestion. From there, it eventually stretches the colon and feeds your healthy bacteria in the gut and also increase digestive enzymes.
As a result, resistant starches can lower the inflammation and risk of colorectal cancer. Resistant starches present in yam also raise several digestive disorders, such as constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, and Crohn’s disease.
Yams Promote Weight Loss
The yams root provides health benefits of fiber called glucomannan, which is helpful for weight loss. Importantly, when consumed, the fiber can get converted into a gel that sits in the stomach and allows it to keep full for a longer time. As a result, it will lower cravings and boost weight loss.
There are several ways you can use for weight loss at the core of them all will be creating a caloric deficiency. When you are reducing calories, it is more necessary to make sure the food you eat to consist of rich vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
Yam is more extra nutrient-dense, consist of loads of vitamin A, B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, magnesium, and calcium. One whole cup of yams contributes 200 calories, which assists in weight loss. As you know, there is no magical medicine to support in easy weight loss. Several vitamins and minerals promote body functions to induce weight loss.
Magnesium present in yams helps the body to manage blood sugar levels. According to a study issued in Diabetes Care, a monthly peer-reviewed journal published by the American-Diabetes-Association, higher consumption of magnesium can reduce the risk of type2 diabetes, even if you already a prediabetics.
Scientists have discovered vitamin B helps the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to increase body energy effectively. Vitamin B6 is especially important to maintain protein metabolism. It stimulates the thyroid in women more prone to water retention. They also have shown vitamin B6 increases cravings.
Yams Improve the Cholesterol Levels
Yams also Play an essential role in managing cholesterol levels. It is because yams provide a special type of soluble fiber, which will worsen the cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber works circulating and binding in the body. Moreover, yams also show good changed in cholesterol levels in women.
Yams Prevent Cancer
Additionally, many minerals and vitamins present in yams also provide antioxidants to prevent cancer. According to a study carried out on animals found that a diet with yam shown a great reduction in colon tumors.
Further research tells that these results were nearly related to the different antioxidants present in yams. Moreover, the Chinese yams peel was discovered to prevent or reduce liver tumors.
Strengthen Brain Function
Yam is good for developing brain functions. Analysis has shown that the people who eat yam infusion supplements showed higher brain functions than those who did not eat. Yams contain rich diosgenin, which is a specific synthesis known for promoting the growth of neurons and entire brain health. Additionally, diosgenin has contributed to a promoted memory and learning skills in the animal test.
Chronic inflammation is linked with different long-term health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Yams are rich in the antioxidants that lower inflammation. Several studies discovered that yams or yam powder provide an impact on inflammation. The studies noticed that yams helped to lower the risk of stomach ulcers, colon cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, the external bark of the yam roots contains full saponin. Saponin is synthesis, which helps to lower inflammation and promote healthy gut flora. It can also relax abdominal and pelvic muscles.
Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Yams also help to improve sugar levels. According to one study, taking yam powder with water is shown to reduce fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin. Other different studies of animals took a high dosage of purple yam extract. The rats showed lower appetites, improved blood sugar levels, and good weight loss.
It was made by another rat study, which saw supplementing diets with a yam flour helps to lower blood sugar absorption. It is linked with high resistant starch and fibers present in yams.
Resistant starches and fibers remain undigested in the stomach. Therefore, these starches can help to control the appetite and control blood sugar levels. Moreover, yams are not much sweet like sweet potatoes, there is still sugar present with natural sweetness in the meals and control further cravings.
The active compound of yam is called Allantoin. Allantoin helps to control oxidative stress. It also strengthens the liver function and maintains good insulin levels.
Recently, studies have shown that yams also benefit to fertility. It increases the natural hormones. The wild yam creams have become famous for women who are looking to have hormone replacement therapy. It is because of natural progesterone, which is the main hormone for the uterus to prepare for egg fertilization. Those hormones present in wild yam called Dioscorea Uillosa.
Lower Menopause Symptoms
Another study found that yams can provide a positive impact on symptoms of menopause. In a 30-day analysis, 24 women are postmenopausal mood changed by eating yam in place of rice at least 2-3 times every day. As a result, those women discovered that the estrone level and estradiol in their blood raised by 30%.
While the yams raise these two hormones, they also improve the estrogen levels and reduce symptoms of menopause.
Promote Your Skin and Hair
Yam is beneficial for skin and hair health as it provides the collagen. Collagen helps to increase the skin elasticity and make if firm.
Yams consist of rich antioxidants, which can help to rebuild the cells. They are also best for fighting free radicals and signs of premature aging.
The combination of vitamin C and collagen present in yams is a good way to heal the wounds in the skin. Additionally, yams can increase hair growth due to the presence of beta-carotene. It prevents dry and lifeless hair.
Prevent Anemia and Heart Problems
Normal sodium is the main to keep the heart-healthy. Yams are the best source of sodium to promote heart health and remove excess sodium. In turn, yams also lower the risk of long term illnesses such as heart attack, hypertension, and stroke.
Additionally, the yams contain several minerals to support heart health. Specifically, the manganese and potassium present in yams are key to help the blood vessels in shape. Yams control the blood pressure.
The rich mineral presence in yams helps to prevent anemia. The wide variety of nutrition in the yams supports red blood cell production and lower the risk of anemia and increases blood flow.
How to Include Yam in Diet?
If you are familiar with cooking yams, you may not have the idea to use it in the diet. There are different ways to enjoy yams and discover your favorites.
Add Yams in Meals
Adding yams in meals makes the dishes healthfuller. Try adding them to stir fry or the breakfast hash. You can also grind or roast the yams with your main course dish. It will retain you full for a longer time.
Baked yam chips can be a tasty snack, which is easy to toss and carry anywhere. You can also prepare them in batches and store.
Replace Yams for French Fries
Replace the french fries with oven-baked yam fries. They provide more nutrition and fewer calories. You can also use seasoning over it. Use different options other than plain salt.
Make a Filling or Yam Smoothie
Yam’s blend with veggies makes an excellent smoothie. While making yam chips, you can also prepare smoothies and store them in the refrigerator.
Potential Side Effects of Yam
The-food-and-Drug-Administration has not evaluated wild yam root for efficacy or safety. While its topical use is safe, there is no research on the potential effects for the long-term. Ointments and creams may irritate the skin if you are sensitive or allergic to wild yam.
Small amounts of wild yam root supplements are safe to eat, but the larger doses may cause vomiting.
Due to potential hormone interactions, people with conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and certain cancer should be skipped wild yam root products.
Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children with protein deficiency, a genetic disorder can raise the risk of blood clots.
Wild yam root also interacts with estradiol, which is a hormone found in birth control and hormone replacement therapies.
How To Buy And Store Yams?
The majority of yams production happens in Africa and Asia. However, yam tubers are not similar to potatoes. Yams are monocots linked to the lilies and grass families. Commonly it is drier and starchier than their family of potatoes.
American Yams Vs African Yams
African yams generally come with brown to dark brown on the outer side and white to light yellow on the inner side, depending on the variety. The most famous varieties consumed in African countries include white yam, water yam, and yellow yam.
Yams are generally exported products and can be available in different African and Asian stores. The yams should be displayed and sold in the dry products section and never kept in the refrigerator before purchase as the starch oxidation can quickly spoil the yams.
Pick yams, which are firm to touch around and provide small to no cracks. While yam skin has high textures, it should not have wrinkles like old cucumber.
These tips are helpful but note that at different levels of life, the taste of the yam varies. A new yam tastes different from the mature yam, but it can be hard to know new or mature yam until you cut it. Some African stores provide yam with a cut that has not started to rot. Also, check for its discoloration and moisture. Whereas, the healthy yams should not contain more brown spots on the pulp and not much wet to touch. Remember, uncooked yam’s inner pulp can be toxic and cause itching when touched. Therefore, handle with care.
Look for rotten yams or spoilage spots on the surface of yams, and do not buy it. The gums with soft spots are dented or come with cracked skin. Also, noticeable shoots on the tubers show the yam has gone bad similar to sprouted potatoes.
Yams are stored in a cool and dry place with good ventilation. Make sure to keep away from moisture and use it in 3 weeks. Check occasionally to make sure the rotting or spoiling is not started. Additionally, make sure to follow the rules for long-term storage.
Do Not Refrigerate or Freeze Raw Yams
Since most of the diaspora are blessed continuous and steady supply of electricity. You might like to freeze some veggies which come in seasons. But this trick will not help the yams at a temperature lower than the 55F. Instead, you can cook the yam and then freeze at 0F for one year or refrigerate for 5-days.
Peel, cut, and boil them yams. It may take 10-12 minutes for boiling in water with salt on medium-high heat. Let it cool down and freeze in an airtight container. It can remain fresh and healthy for one year.
Yams are multi-purpose vegetables. From the nervous system to cardiovascular health, yam helps the whole body. It is a good vegetable for improving health and a balanced diet. Yams may not suitable for all ages people but good for healthy people.