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Yams are different from sweet potatoes. They are a starchy edible root of the Dioscorea genus and are scaly and have very low content of beta-carotene.
Yams are rich in carbohydrates and staple tuber vegetables that had their origin in Africa and gradually spread throughout the world.
Unlike sweet potatoes, yams are larger in size and can have thick and rough and dark brown to pink skin. Nigeria is known to be the largest producer of yam in the world.
Yams have a number of health benefits and here are some of them:
1. Great Source Of Energy:
These vegetables have complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre and are a great source of energy.
2. Good For Digestive Tract:
While the dietary fibre in yams is good for constipation, it also reduces the bad cholesterol level and lowers the risk of cancer by neutralising the toxin compounds in the food.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar:
Yams have a low-glycaemic index and are good for regulating the rise in blood sugar levels.
4. Source Of Vitamin B:
Yams are an excellent source of Vitamin B complex and they provide a lot of nutrients that are required for our health. These vitamins are necessary to boost the metabolic functions in the body.
5. Source Of Vitamin C:
Yams are known to be a good source of Vitamins C and A. Vitamin C plays an important role as an anti-ageing agent, besides boosting immunity and growth of the bones. Besides, the Vitamin A content in yams also improves skin, boosts night vision and protects against cancer of the lungs and oral cavities.
6. Controls Blood Pressure:
Yams have a good content of minerals like copper, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, etc. Potassium helps the heart's health through controlling blood pressure and tackling hypertension. Iron is required for the formation of red blood cells to prevent anaemia.
7. Helps Treat Boils:
Yams are also used as medicines in various East Asian countries. They contain allantoin, a compound that helps in fast healing when applied on boils or abscesses. It is also used to stimulate appetite and for treating bronchial problem.
Extracts of wild yams can be a possible remedy for menopausal symptoms in women, owing to the vegetable's steroidal saponin compounds. However, more research is still required to be done to come to a conclusion on this.
Consumption Of Yams:
Cut yams should not be left in the open and must be consumed fast. Moreover, yams should not be eaten raw, as they contain natural plant toxins (excepting a few Japanese varieties). They should be properly cooked. Yams can be eaten boiled, fried, baked or roasted.