What Are The Health Benefits Of Yam (Dioscorea species)?

JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO Monday, September 20, 2021 Science and Nature

This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of yam (Dioscorea species)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: Where was yam first found? When was the yam discovered? How did yams get their name? Who brought yam to Nigeria? Is Yam good for health? Which is healthier yam or sweet potato? What are the side effects of eating yam? Do yams make you gain weight? How toxic are yams? What does wild yam do for the body? Does wild yam root raise blood pressure? Does wild yam root help with menopause?

History of Yam (Dioscorea species)

Yams originated in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Africans call yams “nyami,” which is where we get the word “yam.” They are cylindrical and vary in size. Some of the largest yams have weighed more than 100 pounds and have been several feet long. Yams have a dense white, purple, or red flesh and scaly brown skin with dark spots. A yam is starchy and dry. In African culture, it is typically boiled or roasted. They have a shelf-life of six months, but you will have a hard time finding a true yam on a shelf in an American grocery store. The name "yam" appears to derive from Portuguese inhame or Canarian (Spain) ñame, which derived from West African languages during trade. Although in both languages, this name is commonly referred to the plant taro (Colocasia esculenta) from the genus Colocasia, as opposed to Dioscorea. The main derivations borrow from verbs meaning "to eat". True yams have various common names across multiple world regions.

Description of Yam (Dioscorea species)

Yam is the common name for some plant species in the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) that form edible tubers. Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in many temperate and tropical regions, especially in Africa, South America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania. The tubers themselves, also called "yams", come in a variety of forms owing to numerous cultivars and related species.

Nutritional Composition of Yam (Dioscorea species)

136g of baked yams provides:
  • Calories: 158
  • Carbs: 37 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Vitamin C: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B5: 9% of the DV
  • Manganese: 22% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of the DV
  • Potassium: 19% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 11% of the DV
  • Copper: 23% of the DV
  • Folate: 6% of the DV

Health Benefits of Yam (Dioscorea species)

  • Yams are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They’re particularly rich in potassium, manganese, copper, and vitamin C
  • Yams contain a unique compound called diosgenin, which may enhance memory and brain function
  • Yams may help alleviate symptoms of menopause
  • Animal and test-tube studies suggest that the antioxidants in yams may have anticancer effects
  • The rich antioxidant content of yams helps reduce inflammation related to various diseases
  • Several animal studies have found that yams improve blood sugar contro
  • Improves digestive health
  • Facilitates weight loss
  • Yam extract may protect against certain drug-resistant bacteria
  • Yam helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels

Side Effects of Yam (Dioscorea species)

large amounts of wild yam can lead to side effects, including:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues

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