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What Are the Health Benefits of Yams?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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Yams are a widely available tuber or vegetable that is grown underground. The health benefits of yams include providing the vitamins and nutrients needed to improve heart health, furnishing the body with a long-lasting fuel, and supplying an abundance of antioxidants. These vegetables also help with constipation. Yams are also low in calories and are easy to prepare.

One of the main benefits of yams is their positive influence on heart health. Yams are jam-packed with vitamin B6 and potassium, both nutrients crucial in maintaining a healthy heart. Vitamin B6 works to eradicate the substances that clog blood vessels. In addition, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often caused or worsened by a diet low in potassium and high in sodium. Eating yams, which are rich in potassium, can help to prevent hypertension or insulate the body against the deteriorating effects of hypertension.

Another of the many benefits of yams is that they are also loaded with carbohydrates and magnesium. The concentrated carbohydrate content of this tuber makes it an attractive source of fuel that is gradually metabolized and released in the body, providing energy for many hours. Magnesium is a component essential to the breaking down and discharging of the energy stored in carbohydrates. Eating a food source rich in both magnesium and a complex carbohydrate ensures that the carbohydrate content of yams will be maximally used.

The yam is also high in fiber, which prevents constipation and maintains colon health. In addition, the high concentration of fiber in yams makes the stomach feel full but does not deliver lots of calories. The yam is an excellent, healthy choice for dieters.

Additional health benefits of yams come from the the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents vitamins A and C, which are packed into this tuber. These vitamins neutralize free radicals responsible for consuming healthy cells and potentially producing cancerous cells. The high concentration of the vitamins A and C in yams may also help to shield the body from debilitating asthma attacks and prolonged bouts of arthritis. This benefit is due to the ability of vitamins A and C to control and even arrest the biochemical mechanisms that initiate inflammatory responses in the body.

There are many ways to cook these tubers and still retain the healthy benefits of yams. One of the most popular methods is to roast an unpeeled, cleaned yam at 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius) for about one hour or until tender. Baked yams can be eaten whole or mashed. Yams can also be sliced about 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) thick, marinated in a light oil and garlic and placed on a medium heat grill for about ten minutes.

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Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On Dec 03, 2014

I don't think that a lot of people who have dogs realize that yams are good to add to a canine diet. Since they are full of nutrients and gentle on the digestive system, adding yams to a dog's food is very good for him or her. They are also good for dogs that have food and skin allergies. Dog owners may also be surprised to find that dogs love the taste of this versatile vegetable.

By Raynbow — On Dec 02, 2014

Yams are also great for people who are prone to stomach issues. Since they are bland and not harsh to the digestive system, yams make a good staple food for people with acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and frequent indigestion.

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