Ever so often classified as a member of the sweet potato family and usually confused as same, yams differ in botanical groupings. Though wildly consumed and used interchangeably in many recipes, white yams are known as Dioscorea rotundata (family Dioscoreaceae) while sweet potatoes are Ipomoea batatas from the Convolvulaceae family. Their taste sure differs too!
Benefits Of Yams
The presence of the unique phytochemical phytoestrogen in yam makes it a dynamic superfood for women. Phytoestrogens are significant for their effectiveness in lowering risks of breast cancer and osteoporosis. This plus the fact that they’re a good source of vitamin B6 which helps women
essentially in relieving postmenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps and also reduce risks of fibrocystic breast tissues. Vitamin B6 is also used in the cutback of homocysteine, a substance detrimental to blood vessel walls.
Still on the benefits of yam especially in women’s reproductive health, yams are regarded as a good boost for ovulation and fertility (little wonder some culture ensure new brides are well fed on yam).
Known for the high content of complex carbs contained in them, yams are classified as starchy tuber vegetables and rank low on the glycemic index. As carbs, they are good energy providers. And their complex nature make them slowly digested into the blood thus keeping blood sugar levels even.
They are also an excellent source of dietary fibre which promotes healthy digestion and works effectively in the reduction of bad cholesterol and constipation. Fibre has great positive impact on the bowels and this lowers the risk of colon cancer significantly.
The potassium in yam helps in countering the consequence of high sodium in your body and works in keeping your heart beat as normal as possible. This makes them equally efficient in the control of blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. As a source of Vitamin C and Beta carotene.
Yams are loaded with antioxidants and possess also have good anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants help rid your body of free radicals – cancer friendly elements that also cause undue damage to the body.
Protection against lung and oral cavity cancers, while also keeping your skin, eyes and bones healthy - that’s a function of Vitamin A, another nutrient found in yams. That’s not all! More reasons to eat yam? Do so and enjoy nutrients like Iron - an effective immune booster; copper which is helpful in the production of red blood cells and effective blood flow within the body; and Magnesium – a bi-component in the potent antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
In some Asian countries (China, Korea, and Japan in particular), yams are effectively put to use as part of Asian traditional medicine due to the presence of the allantion compound in them. When used as a poultice to boils and abscesses, healing process is accelerated.
Going to enjoy a rich yam diet? I bet you do!