13 Impressive Health Benefits of Yams To Improve Your Overall Digestive Health
Yams benefits include are highly nutritious, can improve your overall digestive health, can help with weight loss, can improve cholesterol levels, have potentially cancer-fighting properties, can strengthen your brain function, may alleviate inflammation, can potentially improve blood sugar levels, can promote fertility, may alleviate menopause symptoms, are great for your skin and hair, support a healthy heart and prevent Anemia and can improve your eyesight.
Originating in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, yams are a delicious tuber vegetable that can grow almost anywhere and hardly ever dies often; however, yams are not to be confused with sweet potatoes. With a number of health benefits, yams are a versatile vegetable that you can eat with casseroles or roast beef, fry them and make fritters. Just a quick google search should present you with plenty of yam recipes. That being said, let’s dive into 13 health benefits of yams.
13 Impressive Health Benefits of Yams
1. Yams Are Highly Nutritious
Yams are chockful of fibers, minerals, and vitamins. In a single cup of yams, which is around 136 grams, you will find:
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin C
In particular, Yams contain high percentages of your daily value of fiber, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients and minerals are key to maintaining your bone health, heart health, growth, and metabolism.
Yams also contain a copper and vitamin C. Copper is essential for your blood health. More specifically, copper is key for healthy iron absorption and red blood cell production. Meanwhile, vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system against illnesses and infections.
2. Yams Can Improve Your Overall Digestive Health
Yams contain resistant starches, which act similar to soluble fibers. A resistant starch essentially passes through your stomach and small intestine undigested. From there, it eventually reaches your colon and feeds your healthy gut bacteria while also increasing your digestive enzymes.
As a result, resistant starches can reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer. On the lighter side, the resistant starches in yams can also alleviate a number of digestive disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and Crohn’s disease.
3. Yams Can Help with Weight Loss
The roots of yams provide a beneficial fiber known as glucomannan, which is thought to help with weight loss. Essentially, when consumed, the fiber can turn into a gel that sits in your stomach and allows you to feel full for longer. As a result, you curb your cravings and weight loss is more achievable.
4. Yams Can Improve Cholesterol Levels
Yams also play a major role in controlling your cholesterol levels. This is because yams provide a special type of soluble fiber, which cholesterol’s worst nightmare. Soluble fiber essentially works by circulating around cholesterol, binding to it and removing it from your body.
Moreover, yams have also shown a real change in cholesterol levels in real women. In a study, women who consumed 18 ounces of yams a day over 30 days saw a decrease in their cholesterol levels.
5. Yams Have Potentially Cancer-Fighting Properties
In addition to a number of vital vitamins and minerals, yams also have antioxidants that may prevent cancer. A study conducted on animals found that a diet rich in yams showed a massive reduction in colon tumors.
Further studies suggested that these results were closely related to the many antioxidants in yams. Moreover, the peel of Chinese yams was found to prevent or inhibit liver tumors.
Granted, these should be taken with a grain of salt. Currently, the research on the effects of yams on cancer is limited. Most of the tests and studies have been conducted primarily on animals and not on humans.
6. Yams Can Strengthen Your Brain Function
If you are looking for a way to improve your brain function, eat more yams.
True, it sounds quite unbelievable, but a study showed that people who consumed a yam extract supplement showed a higher functioning brain than those who used a placebo.
Yams are rich in diosgenin, which is a special compound that is known for improving neuron growth and overall brain health. Additionally, diosgenin has contributed to an enhanced memory and learning skills in mice and other animal tests.
7. Yams May Alleviate Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is connected to a number of long-term health conditions, like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Fortunately, yams are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
A number of rat studies found that yams or a yam powder had a significant impact on inflammation. The studies observed that yams helped reduce risks of colon cancer, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, the outer bark of the yam roots is full of saponin. Saponin is a compound that is thought to help with fighting inflammation and can contribute to healthy gut flora. It can even help your pelvic and abdominal muscles relax.
8. Yams Can Potentially Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Yams can improve your blood sugar control.
In a rat study, rats were given a dose of yam water or yam powder. As a result, the rats experienced a significant decrease in their fasting blood sugar as well as a decrease in their hemoglobin A levels, which measures blood sugar control.
In a different study, rats were given a high dosage of purple yam extract. These rats exhibited reduced appetites, improved blood sugar levels, and considerable weight loss.
This was enforced by another rat study that saw simply supplementing diets with a yam flour can significantly reduce the blood sugar absorption. This is connected to the high level of resistant starches and fibers in yams.
Resistant starches and fibers go undigested in your stomach. Therefore, these starches can help you control your appetite and curb your blood sugar levels. Moreover, although yams are not as sweet as sweet potatoes, there is still enough sugar in them to add a natural sweetness to your meals and further curb your cravings.
Lastly, yam has an active compound known as Allantoin. Allantoin is known to regulate oxidative stress. In turn, this means that yams can strengthen your liver function, which also helps maintain healthy insulin levels.
9. Yams Can Promote Fertility
Lately, studies are also showing that yams can promote fertility. With the rise of natural hormones, wild yam creams are becoming popular options for women looking for hormone replacement therapy.
This is because “natural” progesterone, which is a key hormone in helping a uterus prepare for a fertilized egg, can actually be found in a wild yam breed called Diascorea uillosa.
10. Yams May Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
Another study discovered that yams can have a positive impact on menopause symptoms. In a 30-day test, 24 women in a postmenopausal state switched rice out of their diets for eating yams at least 2 to 3 times a day. As a result, those women found that the levels of estrone and estradiol in their blood increased by almost 30%.
Estrone and estradiol are two estrogen hormones. Typically, during menopause, these two hormones significantly decrease. While the yams cause these two hormones to increase, it means estrogen levels improve and alleviate menopause symptoms.
However, not all research on this topic are clear. While the former study indicates a connection between easing menopause symptoms with yams, another study says otherwise. It was found that a wild yam cream had less impact on menopause symptoms. As such, there is still a lot of room to investigate yams ability to relieve menopause symptoms.
11. Yams Are Great for Your Skin and Hair
It is common knowledge that collagen is key to keeping your skin elastic, firm, and healthy. Fortunately, yams are extremely helpful in the production of collagen in our bodies.
Yams are also rich in special antioxidants that can help with rebuilding cells. Meanwhile, they are also great at fighting free radicals and premature aging in your skin. The combination of collagen and vitamin C provided by yams is the perfect way to help heal your skin and any wounds.
Additionally, yams can help with hair growth because they are full of beta-carotene. As such, if you want to keep your hair from becoming dry and lifeless, try to incorporate more yams into your diet.
12. Yams Support A Healthy Heart and Prevent Anemia
A major part of keeping a healthy heart is maintaining healthy sodium levels in your bloodstream. Yams are great because they promote heart health by getting rid of any excess sodium in your body. In turn, yams reduce your risk of developing long-term illnesses like hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
Additionally, the number of minerals in yams can also support heart health. Specifically, the potassium and manganese in yams are key to keeping your blood vessels in good shape. Yams can also keep your blood pressure in check.
With the help of its many minerals and high iron content, yams can help prevent anemia. The wide variety of nutrients in yams helps support the production of red blood cells, which in turn, reduces your chances of developing anemia. Lastly, the minerals also improve the flow of your blood.
13. Yams Can Improve Your Eyesight
Of all the senses in the body, sight is essential. The vitamin C in yams supports ocular health. This helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a condition that worsens your sight over time once you pass the age of 50.
Yams are a multi-use vegetable. From cardiovascular health to nervous system health, yams are the whole package. If you are looking to improve your diet and overall health, consider adding yams to your diet. Not only is it great for all ages, but it poses many valuable health benefits.