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Yam Another Wonder Food!
Yam is one of the most popular and widely consumed foods in the world. It plays a major role in the diets of many different countries, notably those in South America, Africa, the Pacific Islands and the West Indies.
Although it is uncertain from which country they originated, Yams are one of the oldest food plants known. They have been cultivated since 50,000 BC in Africa and Asia. In addition to these continents, Yams also currently grow in the tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America.
Most of the vegetables that are labeled "Yams" in the United States are really Sweet Potatoes. Sweet Potato is a totally different root vegetable than Yam, with an elongated shape, tapered to the ends, with dark orange skin and a sweet and moist flesh, with a different taste and texture.
There are about 200 varieties of Yams, differentiated by the color of flesh (white, yellow or purple), skin, shape and texture, but all Yams have an earthy and hardy taste, with minimal sweetness. Yams have a rough exterior texture, a starchy and slippery flesh when raw, but when cooked they are either creamy or firm, depending of the variety.
It is high in Vitamin C. Besides being a highly effective anti-oxidant, Vitamin C helps produce collagen, a protein needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, gum, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels.
It contains Vitamin B6 which is needed by the body to break down a substance called homo cysteine, which can directly damage blood vessel walls. High intakes of vitamin B6 reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 is also used as a supplement for menopausal symptoms and PMS, especially depression. Yam is a good source of vitamin B6, but the amount of vitamin getting from consuming Yams is not enough to reach the full therapeutic level, so you still need to add some B6 supplements. It is though a very good idea to incorporate Yam in your diet, if you suffer from depression.
It is rich in Potassium which helps control blood pressure. Low Potassium levels lead to hypertension.
It contains Manganese, a trace mineral that helps with carbohydrate metabolism, also a co-factor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
It is low in Sodium. Nowadays Sodium is added to processed foods and high intake of Sodium leads to hypertension. Yam is high in Potassium and low in Sodium, so it will produce a good Potassium-Sodium balance in your body and protect against osteoporosis and heart disease.
It is rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, providing a more sustained form of energy.
It has a low Glycemic Index, meaning a low rate of sugar release and absorption in the blood streams. It is very useful for loosing menopausal extra weight.
It has low saturated fat, being helpful for protection against obesity, diabetis and heart disease.
Add chunks of Yams to your next pan of roasted vegetables and you will get the benefits of this wonder food!