In this article, we look at the health and nutrition benefits of yams, and how it helps women during pregnancy
Yam is a term for a plant species of the genus Dioscorea that make the consumable and starchy root tubers. The tuber is a low-calorie food and very rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fibers. This low glycemic index tuber is also very nutritious, offers a number of health benefits in addition to versatility and delicious flavours.
The yams are grown in many temperate and tropical regions around the world, consisting of about 800 species, but only a few are considered edible. In essence, non-edible ones are for medicinal purposes.
The medicinal properties of yam are due to the action of diosgenin, a phytosterol of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. Some health benefits of yams are provided here
We will look at the following benefits to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Prevent heart disease
- Helps in weight loss
- Increases immunity
- Good for skin
- Helps in constipation
- Prevents anaemia
- Hormone production
Let’s look at the abovementioned nutrition benefits of yams in detail without further ado.
Prevent heart disease
Yam fibers help to reduce cholesterol levels, which is associated with the occurrence of heart disease. Yams are rich in vitamin B6 and B9.
It helps in controlling homocysteine, an amino acid with inflammatory action that causes heart disease.
Helps in weight loss
Because yams are rich in complex carbohydrates and also by fibers, the yam keeps the body more satiated, promoting the control of blood glucose levels.
With that, the production of insulin is in less quantity, which saves the pancreas and also avoids the mechanism of storage of abdominal fats. There are also scientific studies that link the consumption of yams with reduced adiposity (fat) and increased lean body mass.
Furthermore, yams help to increase the levels of DHEA – a hormone that, among other functions, manages to prevent the action of an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of fat.
Also, its low glycemic indexes help avoid spikes in blood sugar, which prevents from feeling hungry so often.
The yam strengthens the lymph nodes, which are responsible for the defense of the immune system, leaving the body healthier and preventing diseases.
Thus, it eliminates toxins from the blood through the excretion of these substances through the skin, kidneys, and intestines.
The tuber also has the property of strengthening the immune system by having reasonable amounts of vitamin C and vitamins of the B complex (such as B1, B3, B5, B6, and B9.
The antioxidant compounds in yam – beta-carotene and vitamin C – help to prevent the most varied types of cancer and, being a source of diosgenin and vitamins B6 and B9, it is a great food to assist in the control and prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Good for skin
The consumption of food helps the skin to become more hydrated, and the presence of vitamin A prevents premature ageing which helps retain more fluids and elimination of free radicals.
A survey has shown that dermatological products with yam properties help to treat irritated skin and prevent ageing.
It also helps in the production of melanin, which prevents the hair from greying anytime soon
Helps in constipation
Yam is a healthy food that is rich in fiber. The advantage of yams in fiber is that it helps the intestines to function better. Episodes of constipation are prevented from the tissue.
The form of consumption varies considerably – prepared cooked, roasted, in the way of purees, soups, and even in juices.
The yam is a portion of good food for the prevention of anaemia. A source of iron, a mineral that participates in the oxygen transport process, carried out by red blood cells.
Copper helps in accessing stored iron so that it can be used in the synthesis of new red blood cells; vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption; vitamin B6, essential for the production of haemoglobin; and folic acid, which helps in the maturation process of blood cells.
The diosgenin present in the tubers is converted to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands.
DHEA is a molecule used for the synthesis of several other hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and aldosterone.
Research shows that the consumption of yam benefits the female in the production of hormones that helps in,
- Period of menopause,
- Premenstrual tension,
- Fibrocystic breast diseases,
- Uterine fibrosis,
- Improves fertility
However, a contradiction arises siting are yams good for you? Although studies are still being conducted to show the benefits. There are many other health benefits of yams that the tuber can provide.