Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yam - Health Benefits

Yam is a tropical root vegetable.  Yam is native to Africa.  Yam belongs to the family of 'dioscreacea'. The word 'YAM' is an African name which means "to eat". There are close to 150 varieties of Yam.    Although it has a rough skin which is difficult to peel, the skin becomes soft after it is boiled.  The skin of the vegetable varies from dark brown to light pink and the edible portion varies from white to orange.  The yam plant bears thick tubers.
The edible portion is often referred to as the "meat".  Yam has a long shelf life. It can be stored up to six months without refrigeration.  Yam should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place.  Yam can be easily cooked. Their taste is earthy and hardy.  All the Yam varieties can be easily boiled, roasted or fried.  Cooked yam can also be refrigerated fro three days. 
Yam is a rich source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, manganese.  The Yam products have a lower glycemic index than potatoes, they offer a more sustained form of energy.  They provide better protection against overweight and diabetes.  Yams are a good source of potassium a mineral that helps to control blood pressure.  Wild yam also contains beta carotene, the antioxidant that is so important to maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Yam is rich in fiber. Old Chinese medicines have mentions on Yam.  The wild yam has been used by herbalists for centuries. Its traditional uses include the treatment of colic, muscle spasms, asthma.  In the recent days it is used to treat menstrual disorders and hormonal problems during menopause.  Pregnant women must avoid Yam.  Wild yam's antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties make it useful to treat cramps in the stomach. 

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