Rich in vitamins, minerals, and low in fat, the humble yam is gaining in popularity around the world and is being used as a substitute for traditional potatoes. It doesn’t matter which of the 18 different yam varieties individuals choose to eat, each has its own unique flavor, texture, and essential nutrients.
Yams can be eaten boiled, baked, fried, roasted and candied. They’re an integral ingredient in soups and stews and they can be consumed as a stand-alone item garnished with butter, herbs, spices, and sour cream. The tubers are tasty, healthy and have multiple health benefits.
Consuming yams can provide the nutrients the body needs to stave off anemia and it’s also beneficial of eye health. They help in the production of red blood cells and aid in reducing the instance of macular degeneration.
2. Brain Function
A scientific study involved giving subjects a yam extract supplement for 12 weeks. Those that received the extract scored higher on tests to measure brain function. Yams contain diosgenin, a compound that enhances brain function and promotes the growth of neuro pathways.
3. Blood Cells
Yams contain copper, an essential nutrient for the production of red blood cells to deliver oxygenated blood throughout the body.
The antioxidants in yams may be beneficial for reducing the growth of cancerous tumors, according to limited studies.
Yams are high in soluble fiber that makes them especially beneficial for reducing cholesterol. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and helps eliminate it from the body as waste.
The production of collagen keeps skin firm, flexible and elastic. Those levels begin to wane as people age. The antioxidants in yams neutralize free radicals that lead to the signs of aging and their vitamin C helps heal wounds.
An extract of yam water or yam powder lowered blood sugar in the lab. Subjects also exhibited reduced appetites and greater weight loss.
8. Digestive System
Yams contain what’s known as resistive starches that feed “good” gut bacteria. The result is alleviation of conditions encompassing constipation, colitis, diarrhea, and even Crohn’s disease.
Several studies conducted with menopausal women demonstrated that those that ate 2-3 yams each day had improved estrogen and estradiol levels. A yam extract may be effective in the future for easing menopausal symptoms.
10. Heart, Bone, Metabolism
The trace minerals of potassium and manganese support metabolism, heart function and bone health, both of which yams have in ample amounts. They rid the body of excess sodium that plays an instrumental role in stroke, hypertension, and heart attack.
Chronic inflammation has been associated with and linked to a wide range of conditions and diseases. Early lab studies showed that adding yam powder to foods might be able to reduce inflammation.
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