Yam flour is a carbohydrate-rich African food which is made from yam. The botanical name of yam used for the flour belongs to the family of Dioscoreaceae, while in the genus, Dioscorea. To prepare, yam will be peeled, sliced, and cleaned, after then it will be dried and blend it into a flour called yam flour or in a more general name Elubo. The colour of most yams are whitish in nature but will turn brown whenever its dried to give it that brownish colour Amala always possess.
Yam flour is mostly eaten in West Africa and consumed mostly by Yoruba people in Nigeria. Yam flour is in powdery form and when it’s prepared to form solid paste-like food called Amala it can be eaten with different kind of soup like vegetable soup (efo), okra soup(ila), other draw soups are ewedu or Ogbono. Gbegiri (black-eyed beans soup) can also be used to eat Amala.
Yam Flour (àmàlà isu)
The most popular type of Amala is the one made from yam (Amala Isu). We also have the one from Cassava flour (Amala Lafun) and also plantain flour (Amala Ogede). This Yam flour species is in the genus Dioscorea and grows in Africa, Caribbean, Oceania, Asia and Latin America but the larger part of it (95%) is grown in and harvested in West Africa. This type of yam can be roasted, barbecued, fried, boiled, smoked and grated. The yam flour is made of dried yam and when added to boiling water it turns to black/brown colour. It’s high in carbohydrates and full of calories.
Health Benefits of Yams Flour
Yam flour is a very good source of energy. For a serving of 100g, it can provide 118 calories. It contains complex carbohydrates and soluble dietary fiber.
Eating foods that contains dietary fiber like Amala reduces constipation, lowers bad cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines and lowers the risk of colon cancer by preventing any toxic compounds in the food to stick to the colon mucosa. More to this, because it’s a good source of complex carbohydrate, it regulates the sudden rise of blood sugar levels. It has low glycemic index that is why it is recommended as a healthy food.
The tuber of yams used in preparing yam flour is an excellent source of Vitamin B-complex. It’s a good source of daily requirements of some vitamins like pyridoxine (vitamin B6), thiamine (vitamin B1), ribloflavin, folates, niacin and panthothenic acid. All of these vitamins boost most of the metabolic functions in the body.
It’s also a good source of antioxidant vitamin like vitamin-C; it provides up to 29% of Recommended Daily Allowance the body needs per 100g of servings. The role of vitamin C numerous, it works as Anti-ageing, wound healing, immune booster and bone growth, just to mention a few.
Yam flour contains small amount of Vitamin-A and β-carotene levels. The carotene is converted into vitamin A when it gets to the body. These two compounds are antioxidant. Vitamin A has lots of functions that benefits human body systems like maintaining healthy mucosa and skin, helps in growth, gives clear vision in the night and gives protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
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