Sweet potatoes and yams (Dioscorea) are sometimes mistaken. However, they are not the same vegetable. They come from two different plants, even though they grow underground as tubers. Unlike a sweet potato’s smooth surface, yams have rough, scaly skin, and their flavor is less sweet. Yams, native to Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, have a long history of use in traditional medicine. Most yam health research has focused on particular chemicals isolated from the plant root. If you’d like to include more yams in your diet, they’re simple to prepare.
According to studies, the resistant starch in yams may help break down food by increasing digestive enzymes and increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in your stomach. Loss of weight. In one animal study, yam extract reduced food intake, implying that these tubers may aid appetite suppression and weight loss. Yam fiber may help with weight loss and has antimicrobial properties.
Yams Nutrition Facts
Yams’ Health Benefits
Fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, and antioxidants are all abundant. Yams have been linked to various health advantages, including improving brain function, reducing inflammation, and controlling blood sugar levels. They’re a terrific vegetable to add to your diet in sweet and savory meals because they’re adaptable and easy to cook.
1. It has the Potential to Both Prevent and Alleviate the Symptoms of Arthritis.
Diosgenin, found in wild yam root, has been demonstrated to slow the progression of osteoporosis arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Mice given daily dosages of wild yam extract for 90 days exhibited a significant reduction in inflammation and, at higher doses, discomfort levels. Human research is still needed to see if these same effects can be seen in humans.
2. It has the Potential to lower Cholesterol Levels.
When mice were administered diosgenin isolated from wild yam root for four weeks, it drastically lowered their overall cholesterol and LDL levels. According to the researchers, diosgenin could help people lose weight and lower their cholesterol levels. The findings are intriguing, but further research on humans is required.
3. Hormone Balance May be Improved.
The diosgenin in yams can be used to make estrogen, progesterone, cortisone, and other hormones for medical purposes. In traditional medicine, yam cream is frequently used to ease menopause symptoms instead of estrogen cream. Women are occasionally encouraged to eat yams to help regulate their hormones, but persons with hormone-related illnesses should avoid doing so. However, research appears to refute this practice. Diosgenin does not appear to be capable of being converted into hormones by the human body, and more research is needed. However, yams are ineffective in treating menopause, PMS, infertility, and reduced libido.
4. May Enhance Brain Function
Eating yams may help your brain function better. People who took a yam extract supplement scored higher on a brain function test than those who received a placebo in 12-week research. Diosgenin, a chemical found in yams, has been discovered to increase neuron growth and improve brain function. In numerous maze tests, diosgenin increased memory and learning ability in mice. However, more research is needed in this area to comprehend how yams may help the brain function completely.
5. May Ease Symptoms of Menopause
Some menopause symptoms may be relieved by yams. In a 30-day experiment, 24 postmenopausal women switched from rice to yams in two out of three meals (390 grams total) per day. Their estrone and estradiol levels in their blood increased by 26% and 27%, respectively. Estrone and estradiol, two estrogen hormones, often drop in blood levels throughout menopause. Menopause symptoms may be alleviated by increasing estrogen levels. Another six-month trial indicated that topically administered wild yam cream had very little effect on menopause symptoms like flushing and night sweats compared to a placebo. More research is needed to see if yams can help with menopause symptoms.
6. It May have Cancer-Fighting Properties.
Yams include several antioxidants that may have cancer-fighting abilities. A yam-rich diet dramatically reduced colon tumor growth in animal research. These effects were linked to the antioxidants found in yams, implying that these tubers could help prevent cancer. Furthermore, a test-tube study discovered that extracts from Chinese yam, notably the peel, reduced the formation of liver tumors and had antioxidant capabilities. However, research is limited, and human studies have yet to be conducted.
7. May Reduce Inflammation
The antioxidants in yams may aid in inflammation reduction. Chronic inflammation has been related to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, among other things. Anti-inflammatory foods like yams can aid in the management of chronic inflammation. In multiple rat trials, Yam powder has been shown to reduce inflammation associated with various disorders, including colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and stomach ulcers. More research is needed to see if consuming yams has the same anti-inflammatory properties in humans.
8. May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Yams may help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Compared to the control groups, rats fed yam powder, or yam water extract had lower fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. HbA1c is a measure of blood sugar management over time. Compared to a control group, rats given higher doses of purple yam extract had reduced appetites, lost more weight, and had better blood sugar management.
In addition, a rat study indicated that supplementing with yam flour lowered the rate of blood sugar absorption, resulting in better blood sugar control. The resistant starch and fiber in yams are responsible for these effects, and resistant starch travels undigested via your intestines. This form of starch has been related to various health benefits, including reduced hunger, improved blood sugar levels, and enhanced insulin sensitivity.
Are Yams and Sweet Potatoes the Same Thing?
A yam’s skin resembles tree bark on the left, while a sweet potato’s skin is more reddish-brown on the right. True yams are a distinct root vegetable with a texture and flavor similar to yucca. They have rough brown skin (like a tree trunk) and starchy, not sweet flesh. Sweetpotato is the name for the sweet, orange-colored root vegetable you adore. Yes, all “yams” are sweet potatoes disguised as yams. Most people mistake long, red-skinned sweet potatoes for yams, although they are one of the numerous sweet potato kinds. Yams have a rough, brown surface and are starchy.
They are eaten in portions of Latin America, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia and can grow up to 45 feet long. Sweet potatoes are a New World root vegetable with softer, reddish skin, creamier interiors, and darker interiors. While yams and sweet potatoes are used the same way, they have different flavors, textures, and appearances. Sweet potatoes are as sweet as their name suggests, whereas yams are earthier and neutral. Sweet potatoes are softer and gooier than yams, which have a similar starchiness to conventional potatoes.
What does a Yam Taste Like?
Yams have an earthy, neutral flavor when compared to sweet potatoes. They can be moderately sweet, but they primarily absorb the flavors of the ingredients used in the dish. Yams must be prepared before consumption since they are poisonous if consumed uncooked. Almost always, sweet potatoes are sweeter than yams. They have a flavor that cooking methods can easily change, and it’s more starchy and potato-like, usually not particularly sweet. Cooking methods can quickly change the flavor. Sweet potatoes and yams are two different types of vegetables.
They are, however, both healthful, pleasant, and adaptable diet additions. Sweet potatoes are more readily available and, albeit only marginally, nutritionally superior to yams. They are linked to lilies and can grow as little as a standard potato or as large as a big potato (some grow five feet long!). Yams have a cylindrical shape with white, purple, or reddish flesh with a blackish or brown bark-like skin. Yams are starchier and dryer than sweet potatoes.
Are Yams Good for Diabetics?
Because of its high fiber content, it has a glycemic index of 54, which is much lower than that of potatoes, which has an index of 80. Because it does not cause a fast surge in insulin response, yam is a healthier choice for weight watchers, people with diabetes, and people with heart disease. Making small amounts of sweet potatoes and yams a part of your meal plan for diabetes may help with blood sugar control because they are low GI carbohydrates.
Sweet potatoes, which have a lower GI and more fiber than white potatoes, are one of the finest forms of potato for people with diabetes. In addition to calcium and vitamin A, sweet potatoes are a wonderful source of fiber. Another low-GI option is Carisma potatoes, a white potato type. Sweet potatoes are advantageous to people with type 2 diabetes because they include high quantities of magnesium and fiber, which can help with insulin resistance and blood sugar stabilization.
Is Yam Good for High Blood Pressure?
Yams are high in nutrients that are good for your heart. Fiber and potassium are two of the most important nutrients for heart health. By blunting the effects of sodium, potassium aids in the decrease of blood pressure, and the amount of salt in the American diet is a developing problem. Soluble fiber works by circling cholesterol, attaching it to it, and eliminating it from your body. Furthermore, yams have been demonstrated to affect cholesterol levels in real women. Fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, and antioxidants are all abundant.
Yams have been linked to various health advantages, including improving brain function, reducing inflammation, and controlling blood sugar levels. They’re a terrific vegetable to add to your diet in sweet and savory meals because they’re adaptable and easy to cook. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of potassium, which naturally helps lower blood pressure by lowering the effects of sodium and stress in the blood vessels. They’re a popular addition to many holiday dishes.
Do Yams Help you Lose Weight?
With only 157 calories per cup, yams can be an effective weight-loss food. Furthermore, the natural fiber in yams slows the rate at which your body absorbs sugar, preventing you from being hungry in between meals. Glucomannan, a healthy fiber found in the roots of yams, is supposed to aid with weight loss. When fiber is digested, it transforms into a gel that sits in your stomach and makes you feel fuller for longer. As a result, your cravings are reduced, and weight loss is easier.
Sweet potatoes are more nutrient-dense and beneficial than yams when viewed just from a nutritional standpoint. They have more vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, and protein than other fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which can aid in weight loss and belly fat reduction. Sweet potatoes’ high fiber content makes you feel ‘full’ after a meal, which helps you keep to a calorie-restricted diet. Resistant starch is another type of fiber found in the root vegetable.
Sweet potatoes are sometimes sold as yams in supermarkets. Look for a long, tapering shape and a skin that looks more like bark than potato skin to ensure you’re getting the right stuff. True yams have a bland flavor and a rough texture, and they’re best boiled and are a tasty addition to soups and stews. Yam-based medicines and significant amounts of yams should be avoided by anyone with hormone-related health conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids and anyone using estradiol-based birth control or hormone therapy.
Several studies have found that yam extract may protect against drug-resistant bacteria, while the exact mechanism is uncertain. Levels of cholesterol have improved. In one study, women who consumed 18 ounces (390 grams) of yams per day for 30 days saw their blood cholesterol levels drop by 6%. Though yams’ high nutritional content appears to have various health benefits, additional human research is needed to understand these impacts fully.