Yams are tuber like vegetables that have their origins in the West African region. These vegetables are extremely rich in their starch content and also have a lot of ritualistic or symbolic meaning in regions like Africa, Asia and even Latin America. Botanically the vegetable belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and is believed to have been cultivated in Africa and Asia since 50,000 BC. It is one of the staple foods in places like South America, Africa, West Indies and Pacific islands and is therefore credited to be one of the most consumed foods in the world.
Different species and varieties
Yam is found in several different species and varieties around the world. The color of this vegetable ranges from yellow to purple and even ivory. Yam is long and cylindrical and also has a rough exterior. Owing to its much wide consumption around the world, this vegetable is commercially very important and is a chief material of trade in many countries. The commercially important varieties are Trifoliate Yam, Chinese Yam, White Yam, Yellow Yam and South East Asian Yam. Apart from being important in many rituals, yam also has several health benefits along with several notable effects on the hair and skin.
General health benefits
Yam is an extremely good source of energy and every 100 grams of it contains as much as 118 calories. Yam also contains complex varieties of carbohydrates and a kind of soluble fiber which are important nutritive constituents of the body. Yam is an important source of vitamin B, more specifically vitamin B1 and B6. Yam also provides riboflavin, folic acid and pantothenic acid to the body. Along with all that yam is a rich source of vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Antioxidants play a major role in maintaining premature aging of the skin and hair. Yam also contains miniscule amounts of Vitamin A, beta carotene and minerals like copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Yam is known to have been used as a traditional medicine in China, Korea and Japan since centuries. Topical application of yam fastens the healing process on ulcers, boils and other skin ailments. Yam contains allantoin which is a cell proliferate and this makes it good for healing many different kinds of skin related diseases. Apart from all that, oral consumption of a decoction made of yam is also good for relieving bronchial irritation, cough and other respiratory problems. The presence of so many nutritive elements in yam truly makes it a hugely important and nourishing health food.
Nourishes the female endocrine system
Yam is believed to be very useful and nourishing for menopausal women. Yam contains enzymes that provide for natural hormone replacement to accommodate the changes in the body of a woman who has reached menopause. Even the roots of yam are beneficial. They have been traditionally used in conjunction with lactating women. Vitamin B6, which is an important constituent of yam relieves the PMS in women especially in cases of depression.
Rich source of antioxidants
Yam is a rich source of antioxidants that has tremendous anti inflammatory properties. This tuber also contains beta carotene and vitamin which is known to fight cancer friendly free radicals in the body. The free radicals are also a chief cause for the damage to the human DNA, which is also thwarted by regular consumption of yam. Yam is also an excellent remedy for those suffering from ailments like arthritis and asthma.
Healthy for diabetics
Diabetics can eat yam in large quantities without worrying about their blood sugar level. The glycemic index of a food reflects on the person’s blood glucose level. Low glycemic index helps in raising the blood sugar level slowly when compared to simple sugars and is therefore highly recommended by health professionals as a low glycemic index healthy food.
Apart from the innumerable health benefits of consuming yam, one of the chief ones is it aiding digestion and also helping in bowel movements. The dietary fiber in yam reduces constipation conditions and is also known to decrease the bad cholesterol in the body. This also has significant benefits for cardio vascular ailments which are a result of the presence of bad cholesterol in the body.
Author Bio: Alex George is an online strategist for http://www.removeskintags.com and in his free time he likes to research on various methods to enhance skin care & beauty.