Yam: Benefits & Side Effects

What is Yam?

Yam is a type of tuber vegetable that is often mistaken for sweet potatoes. They have a distinct brown color and the flesh is white, yellow, purple, or pink.

One cup of yam contains 158 calories, 5grams of fiber, 19 mg of calcium, and 17 mg of vitamin C.(1)

Health Benefits Of Yam

Yam is a root vegetable that has been around for ages. It has been used in alternative medicine. Its roots and rhizomes are known to contribute to their benefits.

Promotes Skin Health

Yam contains a plant steroid known as diosgenin that fights against skin aging in women at the time of menopause.

An animal study shows the role of diosgenin in improving the epidermal thickness without altering the degree of fat accumulation.(2)

Aids Weight Loss

Glucomannan is a fiber that can be extracted from the roots of yam. This may help with weight loss. The fiber can turn into a gel that can linger in the stomach and make you feel full.(3) This keeps craving at bay.

Promotes Fertility

Research shows that yam can promote fertility.

Natural hormones are gaining popularity for hormone replacement therapy. Creams containing yam extracts are an ideal choice for some women.

Natural progesterone is derived from an inedible yam called DioscoreaUilloisa produce in Mexico.

Eases The Symptoms Of Menopause

Yams can help alleviate some of the menopause symptoms.

Diosgenin, a substance present in wild yam, is used to treat the issues related to sex hormones. It is also used in the production of contraceptives and relieves the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome.

A study found its effectiveness in relieving menopausal symptoms without any side effects.(4)

Another study found ingestion of yam can help boost the status of sex hormones, lipids, and other antioxidants in postmenopausal women.(5)

Aids Diabetic Treatment

Diabetes occurs due to a decrease or deficiency in insulin secretion. An animal study found that yam can contribute to improving glucose metabolism.(6) More research is required to see its benefits on humans.

Yam contains sugar that can add natural sweetness to the meals, thereby, decreasing the craving for sweets.

Allantoin, present in yam can modulate oxidative stress and boost liver function. This maintains insulin and glucose levels.(7)

Fights Inflammation

The outer bark of yam contains a compound called saponin that may help in fighting inflammation. Yams help combat inflammation and relax abdominal and pelvic muscles.

The antioxidant property of saponin helps reduce inflammation due to various diseases.(8)

Helps Prevent Cancer

A study done on rats concluded that the antioxidant activity of diosgenin in yam prevent carcinogenesis. This is why it can be used as an anticancer agent.(9)

Yam-enriched diet can reduce the growth of colon tumors.

However, more research is required to see the effect of yams on humans.

Enhances Brain Function

Yam contains potassium that is known to promote the brain’s nerve activity and cognitive function.(10)

Diosgenin present in yam is also known for improving brain health and neuron growth. A study found it to be contributing to enhancing memory and learning skills in mice.(11)

Improves Digestive Health

Yam contains resistant starches, double glycoprotein, and dietary fiber that benefits digestive health.

Yams stimulate gastric epithelial cells and enhance digestive enzyme activity in the small intestine.(12)

Side Effects Of Eating Yam

Yams are a great source of nutrition, but certain things should be kept in mind before consuming them.

Certain wild forms of yam contain toxins that make them taste bitter, these should not be consumed.

Water-soluble alkaloids are present in bitter yams that can lead to serious symptoms if consumed. Severe alkaloid intoxication may prove to be fatal.(13)

Yams are easy to prepare, versatile, and a powerhouse of nutrition. It can be a healthy addition to anyone’s diet. They are much sweeter and more nutritious than a sweet potato, which makes them an ideal food for the babies.

Add this wonderful food to your both sweet and savory dishes.

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