Yams are the common name for Dioscorea and they are perennial herbaceous vines that are cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania. Yams can be made a lot of different ways and they are roasted, boiled, steamed, barbecued, fried, grilled, baked, smoked, and when it is grated, yams then will be made into a dessert recipe. It is the staple food of the Igbo people that live in Nigeria.
Yams are an agricultural and culturally important commodity in West Africa where over ninety-five percent of the world yam plant is cultivated. Yams are an important food and they survive in most of these countries. Some of these tubers can be put into storage without refrigeration up to six months which makes them a valuable food staple for the yearly period of food scarcity which is at the beginning of the wet season.
Yam tubers can grow up to four point nine feet in height and weight up to one hundred and fifty-four pounds. This vegetable has a skin is difficult to peel and will soften when after heating the yam up. Skin of the yams darkens from a dark brown to a light pink. The rest of the vegetable is made up of what is called the meat of the yam and this compound ranges in color from white or yellow to purple to pink in mature years.
A yam is a good source of energy and with every one hundred grams that are eaten the person receives one hundred and eighteen calories. It is mostly composed of complex carbohydrates and soluble dietary fiber. Dietary fiber fights against constipation reduces LDL or bad cholesterol by binding it to the intestines, prevents colon cancers by preventing toxic compounds into the food from adhering to colon mucosa.
This tuber plant is an excellent source of the B complex vitamins and provides the daily required amount of the following B Vitamins: pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. These B vitamins mediate various metabolic functions in the body.
The fresh roots contain a good amount of antioxidants vitamins which is Vitamin C. Provides twenty-nine percent of the daily required intakes for one hundred grams. Vitamin C has an important role in these functions of the body and they are the immune system, anti-aging, wound healing, and bone growth.
This tuber is one of the richest sources of the minerals and these minerals are copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorous. One hundred grams provides eight hundred and sixteen mg of potassium. Potassium is an important part of the cell and body fluids which help control the body’s heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium.
Yams are a super food especially since they possess phytoestrogen activity. They contain large amounts of Vitamin B6, which is required by the liver, and also contains folic acid and other B vitamins which help to detoxify excess estrogen out of the body.