Yams Nutrition

Yams are vegetables which are very similar to sweet potatoes. They come from the Mediterranean, South America and Africa and are usually sweeter than sweet potatoes. In addition, they provide multiple nutritional components. Because of their densely packed nutrients, yams are one of the items considered to be “super foods.” In addition, yams are very versatile as they come in hundreds of different varieties and can be cooked in numerous ways. This articles talks about yams nutrition as well as the benefits you can get from including them as a part of your diet.

Yams Nutrition and Health Benefits

The table that follows contains a list of the nutritional information for yams based on serving that is 100 grams. The percentages listed are the percent daily values that are calculated using a diet that contains 2000 calories.

Nutrients

Value and percentage of RDI

Calories

116

Cholesterol

0 mg (0%)

Total Fat

0 g (0%)

Sugars

0 mg (0%)

Sodium

8 mg (0%)

Dietary fiber

4 g (16%)

Protein

1 g (2%)

Vitamin C

12.1 mg (20%)

Manganese

0.4 mg (19%)

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1. Vitamin C

Yams contain around 30% of the daily recommended values of vitamin C.

Health Benefits: Vitamin C is essential as it can help protect the body from disease and cell damage. It can also help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Because of this, yams are a good option for a healing vegetable for athletes or those who suffer from chronic illnesses such as cystitis or arthritis.

2. Fiber

Yams provide around 6 grams of fiber for each medium sized yam.

Health Benefits: The fiber found in yams can prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. By doing this, yams are able to reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke or heart disease as well as improve your cardiovascular health. The dietary fiber in yams can also help with weight loss because it will make you feel fuller as well as reduce the absorption of certain fats.

3. Vitamin B

Yams contain large quantities of vitamin B, especially B6 (pyridoxine; at 11% of the daily value). They also contain 6% of the daily value of vitamin B1 (thiamin), 2% of B2 (riboflavin), 3% of B3 (niacin) and 4% of B9 (folate).

Health Benefits: Vitamin B6 is needed to help protect the heart as well as blood vessels. That is because this vitamin helps with the breakdown of homocysteine- an amino acid. When the quantities of homocysteine in the blood are too great, they can be a contributing factor towards the development of high blood pressure and heart disease so in turn vitamin B6 is able to reduce these risks. Vitamin B6 also serves an important role in terms of both energy and mood regulation. This is because when you have insufficient quantities of this vitamin, you are more likely to feel depressed and tired. A deficiency in vitamin B6 can also make it much harder to lose weight as it is an important vitamin that helps metabolize other nutrients that the body needs.

4. Carbohydrates

Yams are an excellent source of carbohydrates, providing around 27 grams per serving which is 9% of the daily recommended intake.

Health Benefits: The carbohydrates found in yams can be classified as vegetable fiber and starch. These carbohydrates do an excellent job at providing long-lasting energy that allows you to stay energized throughout the day. In addition, because yams sit at a low spot on the glycemic index, they will not elevate your blood sugar and later cause you to crash, which is especially a concern for diabetics. In addition the carbohydrates contained in yams are excellent for overall nutrition as well as healthy weight loss.

5. Potassium

A serving of yam contains approximately 670 milligrams of potassium which is 19% of the daily recommended intake, making it an excellent source of this nutrient.

Health Benefits: The potassium that is found in yams helps promote blood pressure levels that are healthy. That is because both potassium and sodium are necessary to maintain healthy blood pressure levels and these two nutrients must be in balance with each other. Because there are very high quantities of sodium in the diet of most Americans (especially from processed and packaged foods), many more people suffer from a potassium deficiency than do from a sodium deficiency but the consumption of yams is a great way to easily maintain the balance necessary for healthy blood pressure levels.

6. More Health Benefits

Yams are a great way to help reduce the symptoms that are normally associated with the menstrual cycle, including painful menstrual cramps. Because of their properties as a muscle relaxer that is all natural, they can even help ease labor pains. Many pregnant women will also include yams in their diets in order to reduce their suffering from nausea.

Yams can also help manage several other conditions such as the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, bad circulation, nervous tensions, irritable bowel syndrome, acidity, menopausal stages and premenstrual syndrome.

How to Select, Store And Enjoy Yam

1. How to Select and Store

Many of the vegetables that are labeled in stores as yams are in fact variations of sweet potatoes. Therefore if you want to be sure you are buying an actual yam, you should ask a person from the store’s produce department. If you have difficulty finding them in your local grocery store, you can try African and Asian food markets.

When selecting a yam, be sure to avoid ones with soft spots, bruises or cracks. You also want to opt for ones that are firm and have not been refrigerated as this can negatively affect their tastes.

You should store your yams in a dark and cool space that is well ventilated. When you store them loose they will be fresh for around ten days. Never keep them in the refrigerator or expose them to sunlight.

2. How to Enjoy

Some research has shown that roasting yams instead of boiling them has nutritional advantages. You can also try a cooking method that involves wet-heat such as steaming. You should always cook yams instead of eating them raw. Some ideas include:

  • A puree with milk, cayenne, cumin, coriander and soy sauce
  • Pairing it with darker meats
  • Adding it to stir fry
  • Candied yams. You can find the recipe in the following video:
 
 
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