Yam – Properties and Medicinal uses

Botanical name: Dioscorea slats L.
French name: Igname
Spanish name: Papa, Batata de China, Name

Yams are the tubers of various vines of the genus Dioscorea, all belonging to the botanical family Dioscoreaceae. Almost all the various types of yams are between 2-5 kilos in weight with a whitish flesh. However, they may differ in size, color, and shape.


Properties and Health benefits of yam

Yams are a great source of carbohydrate which is in the form of starch, representing about 23.8% of its content. This explains why it is a staple food in many tropical regions. However, yams are quite low in protein, with just 1.53% of its content.
In terms of minerals and vitamins, Yam contains significant amounts of B group vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium (providing as high as 816 mg / 100g).
As a great energy provider, yams provides about 118 kcal/100g.

From various scientific studies conducted, yam has been proven to contain a steroid that helps stop the peroxidation of blood lipids , which is the main cause of arteriosclerosis. It also helps lower triglycerides (type of fat in the blood) level. With these reasons, aided by its low fat and high potassium content, the consumption of yams becomes recommended in cases of cardiovascular disorders, particularly arteriosclerosis.

Preparing for Consumption
Yams are usually consumed when cooked, they can be baked, fried or boiled. In west Africa, especially Nigeria, cooked yams are used to prepare a much more delicious type of puree.
However, mature yams may be eaten raw, but this is not recommended as when unripe, they contain toxic substances which can cause stomach upset. But the good news is that these toxic substances clears away on heating, reason why you must cook yam before eating.

  • 1

By Abbati

Abbati studied Biological sciences at Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!