No matter whether you love them or hate them yams offer supreme health benefits and are packed with healthful doses of fibers, minerals, and vitamins. A single cup helping of yams offers a high serving of fiber, potassium, and manganese; nutrients and minerals that are essential to maintaining bone health, heart health, growth, and metabolism. Yams also provide healthy doses of Vit B5, C and folate, thiamine and copper.
Heart healthy yams
The assortment of vitamins and minerals contained in yams are well known to improve heart health, and boost immunity. For example, copper is essential for blood health and is crucial for healthy iron absorption and red blood cell production; yams have just what it takes to do this important work. As a vital antioxidant Vit C strengthens the immune system providing protection against illnesses and infections. Yams also promote heart health by eliminating excess sodium from the body, helping to lower the risk of developing chronic illnesses like hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
Importance of fiber for gut health
As a high source of fiber, just one cup of cooked yams contains as much as five grams of fiber. Fiber is important for digestive health because it feeds good gut bacteria and helps promote microbiome health. Adequate fiber consumption is also associated with weight management and blood sugar regulation.
The unique fiber found in yams comes from something called ‘resistant starches’. A resistant starch is able to pass through the stomach and small intestine undigested. When it reaches the colon, this fiber offers up healthy gut bacteria and increases digestive enzymes. By this action, resistant starches do the important work of reducing inflammation and lessening the potential for colorectal cancer. Resistant starches carried by yams can, over time, alleviate a variety of digestive disorders including ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and Crohn’s disease.
Boosts Brain Function
Yams contain diosgenin, a unique compound that has been found to aid neuron development and improve overall brain health. Additionally, diosgenin has been shown to contribute to improved memory and learning skills in laboratory test subjects. Another study found that people who took a yam extract supplement over a 12 week period actually scored higher on a brain-function test when compared to those in the control group. *
Supports Women’s Health
There is some evidence that yams can help to ease discomfort caused by menopause. Researchers looked at how during menopause, the estrogen-derived hormones estradiol and estrone naturally decrease, causing a variety of symptoms in women. Taking this into consideration, one study aimed at improving levels of estrogen hormones to help alleviate menopause symptoms. As part of the study 24 postmenopausal women added yams to two meals per day for 30 days and were rewarded with a more than 25 percent increase in estrone and a 27 percent increase in estradiol.
There are also studies indicating that wild yams can help to promote fertility, and wild yam creams are often recommended for women considering hormone replacement therapy. A natural progesterone substance (a hormone that helps the uterus prepare for a fertilized egg) is found in a wild yam breed known as Diascorea uillosa. Some women find relief using wild yam to support reproductive health.
And more …
Consuming yams on a regular basis will give a boost to skin and hair health thanks to the beta carotene contained in this useful tuber. As a food rich in antioxidants yams are great at helping the body rebuild and replace cells. The nutritive value of yams also helps in the elimination of free radicals and may therefore reduce the appearance of premature aging. In fact, the combination of collagen and vitamin C provided by yams can only support overall skin health and improve wound healing.
Whether you bake them or fry them, mash them or serve them raw, yams offer such a full range of health benefits, this is one ingredient worth adding to your daily diet.